Just as hard drives seemed to get so big that you couldn’t possibly fill one, laptops and many desktops switched to SSD storage, which is fast, but comes in much smaller capacities. Suddenly, storage seemed to fill up faster than ever and file management was important again.
One way I've dealt with the new reality of SSD storage is by running Gemini, a Mac utility from MacPaw that helps you reclaim precious storage on your Mac by detecting duplicate files. Today, MacPaw released Gemini 2, which introduces a cleaner, more modern design that no longer mimics an outdated version of iTunes. But the changes to Gemini are more than skin deep. MacPaw also extended Gemini’s functionality by adding the ability to detect similar files, which you may want to discard to save even more space on your Mac.
With a name like Gemini, I figured, what better way to put it through its paces than to run both versions side by side to see what each could find in my 176 GB Dropbox folder. The results were impressive. Gemini 2 beat its predecessor by finding 1.23 GB of duplicates to Gemini’s 555 MB. Gemini 2 also found an additional 1.24 GB of similar files – a clear win for Gemini 2. To get a better idea of how Gemini 2 found potential storage savings almost five times greater its predecessor, I dug deeper into the results.
Far and away the biggest difference was what was called Music in Gemini, but has been renamed to the more inclusive ‘Audio’ in Gemini 2. Gemini detected about 15 MB of audio duplicates in my Dropbox folder, while Gemini 2 found with 584 MB. The key was that Gemini 2 was able to determine that several MP3s of my podcast Ruminate were duplicates, even though they had different file names. The ability to detect these large MP3s as duplicates, despite their different names, is a great enhancement to Gemini if you work on projects where you duplicate and rename files like I apparently do. There were other differences between the duplicates that each version of Gemini found, but they were relatively minor in comparison to audio.
Gemini 2’s search results pane makes it easy to sift through your duplicates, which are grouped together. You can sort the results by various criteria including name and size, and select duplicates manually or by criteria like oldest or newest using the dropdown menus above the results pane. Clicking the disclosure triangle next to a search result shows each duplicate file. When you select one of the files, the righthand pane shows a preview of the file, which in the case of an MP3 is its artwork and a play button to preview the audio file. Below the preview is metadata associated with the file and the file path so you can make sure a file is a duplicate before deleting it.
Gemini 2's new ability to find similar files has the potential to free up even more storage space on your Mac by finding photos and music files that are similar, but not exact duplicates. This works particularly well with photos. For instance, if you have a series of burst photos stored in a folder, the difference between them may be slight, but the space occupied can be large. With Gemini 2, you can browse through the photos, pick the ones you want to keep, and discard the rest. Everyone’s set of files are different, but judging from the scan of my Dropbox folder, this new feature could save Gemini customers a lot of additional storage space.
One downside to Gemini 2's new capabilities is that it is computationally intensive. As a result, the folder scans I ran with Gemini 2 took substantially longer than they did in Gemini and occasionally caused the fans on my 15" Retina MacBook Pro to roar. On balance, however, I think the trade off is worth it given the added functionality of Gemini 2.
MacPaw has carved out a solid niche in the disk utility market with CleanMyMac and Gemini. The enhancements to duplicate detection and the addition of similar file scanning make Gemini 2 a worthwhile upgrade. Between the two features, Gemini 2 found around 2 GB of duplicate and similar files in my Dropbox folder that its predecessor didn't find. With an increasingly full SSD on my MacBook, Gemini 2 is a welcome addition to the utilities I use to keep my MacBook's drive under control.
Gemini 2 is available on the Mac App Store for $19.99 and directly from MacPaw for $19.95, but until May 17, 2016, Gemini 2 is available for 50% off. Current customers will also receive a 50%, regardless of when they purchase Gemini 2.