Recently I have had some concerns about the amount of disk being used by my macbook pro; at times it’ll range from 40Gb total disk used to 100Gb total disk used.

I’m not keen on investing in a proprietary tool to do something fairly straightforward, so I decided to use a built-in function: du.

Finding all large files for a given directory

This solution uses du, a disk usage utility packaged with macos.

Example for finding all files greater than 1G: du -h ~/ | grep 'G '

If the above command doesn’t limit your results to only files greater than 1G and instead gives all results with G in the file path, simply change the amount of space after G (it could be variable depending on your OS).

Find all files in a tree structure greater than a certain size

You can also use tree (on macos just brew install tree), with a -h flag to show file sizes in a tree structure.

Example for finding all files greater than 1G: tree -h | grep G]


Need to find smaller files? Use B, K or M instead of G.

Tip: -h also works for ls. For example, try: ls -Shl (-S provides order of largest at top).

These methods will work for linux too, but you’ll need to use your own package manager to get tree.


If you were curious, here’s what was taking up so much of my disk…

➜  / tree -h | grep G]
│       │   │   │       │   ├── [ 64G]  Docker.raw

I then found its location using find:

➜  / sudo find / -name Docker.raw -print

Unfortunately this is a known problem: