MacOS – How to sort Spotlight results by size in the Finder

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How do I sort search result by size in Finder? I would prefer some sort of setting, or shell plug-in. I'm using this to clean my hard drive by finding and deleting the largest files first.

I'm not going to go into the terminal every time I want to do this.

Best Answer

  • Actually, it is possible to do this, with a little trickery. You need to edit the Finder's preference file to turn on the options that the View Options panel's disabled buttons equate to.

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    To accomplish this, you need to edit the preferences file which should be located in the following folder:


    I use Property List, which is part of the Xcode developer tools. There are also third-party applications that can do this, though I can't recommend any off the top of my head.

    The image below shows the key paths for the search view settings. By default, the SearchViewSettings > ListViewSettings > columns > size > visible flag is turned off. Check the box, then save your changes. Preferably, you should edit this preference file while the Finder has been quit, but enabling that behavior is a bit more involved. It should be sufficient to save the preference file and then Control-Option-click on the Finder's icon in the Dock and choose Relaunch.

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    Also note that by default, Spotlight doesn't search for "System files" or invisible items. System items means items that are located in any of the /Library folders. To allow searching for these items, choose Other… in the popup menu of parameters to search for, then add "System files" and "File visibility".

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