Home 9 Apps & Devices 9 What is a Smart Folder on Macbook | And How to Set it Up

What is a Smart Folder on Macbook | And How to Set it Up

by | Feb 28, 2024

Organizing files and documents on your MacBook can sometimes be a daunting task, especially if you have a large number of files spread across different folders. Fortunately, macOS provides a handy feature called “Smart Folders” that can help streamline your file management and make searching for specific items a breeze. In this article, we will explore what a Smart Folder is and walk you through the steps to set it up on your MacBook.

What is a Smart Folder on Macbook?

A Smart Folder is like a special folder that you can customize to find specific files that match your requirements. It’s really handy because it saves you time and effort. Let’s say you want to gather all your big video files, like those larger than 1GB, in one place. Instead of manually checking each video file on your Mac, you can create a smart folder that automatically finds and shows you all the videos that are larger than 1GB.

Smart Folder on Macbook

But that’s just the beginning! Smart Folders can do even more amazing things. You can use them to find documents you created within a certain time period, audio files with a specific sound quality, or even photos taken with a particular camera lens. The possibilities are endless! There are so many different attributes you can use to create a smart folder, like file names, types, sizes, dates, and more. You can even search based on things like audio or video settings, categories, tags, flags, and labels.

In fact, there are hundreds of attributes you can use to create custom searches and organize almost anything on your Mac. So, take advantage of Smart Folders to make your life easier and quickly find the files you need without the hassle of manual searching.

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How to Create a Smart Folder on Mac

Creating a Smart Folder on your Mac is a simple process. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  • Open the Finder app on your Mac using the Dock or Spotlight search.
  • Click on the “File” menu at the top of the screen and select “New Smart Folder.”
How to Create a Smart Folder on Mac
Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET
  • A blank Smart Folder window will appear. Click on the “+” button to add your first rule.
  • To choose an attribute, click on the “Name” field.
How to Create a Smart Folder on Mac
Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET
  • Let’s take a simple example. Suppose we want to find all videos larger than 100MB. We’ll use the “Kind” attribute to specify that we’re looking for videos.
  • Click on the drop-down menu next to “Any” and select “Movie” to filter for video files.
  • The Smart Folder will automatically populate with all the videos on your Mac. Now, let’s add a rule to filter by file size.
  • Click on the “+” button to add the next rule.
  • Click on the “Name” field again to choose the “File Size” attribute. If you don’t see it in the dropdown menu, click on “Other…” to access additional attributes.
  • Scroll down or use the search bar to find the “File Size” attribute. Click on it to select it and enable the checkbox next to it.
  • Choose the “is greater than” option from the dropdown menu next to “Equals.”
  • Enter the file size you want to filter by (in this case, 100MB) and make sure the unit is set to “MB.”
  • The Smart Folder will now filter and display only the video files larger than 100MB. Click on the “Save” button to save the Smart Folder.
  • Give your Smart Folder a suitable name, choose where you want to save it, and click “Add” to save it.
  • If you have selected the “Add to Sidebar” option, you will also see the Smart Folder in the Finder sidebar for easy access.
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That’s it! You have successfully created a Smart Folder on your Mac. Now you can use this feature to quickly find and manage files that meet specific criteria without the need for manual searching.

The Smart Folders You Should Use

Want to make the most of Smart Folders? Here are eight that you can start using right away.

Smart Folders
  1. Big Files: Got some large files taking up space on your Mac? Use the File Size option to find files larger than 1 GB (or any size you want) and clear them out.
  2. DMG Installers to Remove: If you install a lot of apps, you may have a bunch of disk image files (DMG) lying around. Use a saved search for the file extension “.dmg” to easily find and delete them.
  3. Unused Apps: Combine the “Kind/Application” attribute with the “Last opened date” to see which apps you haven’t opened in a while. It’s a good way to identify apps you can remove and free up space on your Mac.
  4. iPhone Photos: If you want to see only the photos taken on your iPhone, add the “Device make” attribute to the search for image files. This way, you can focus on your Apple device photos, especially if you mainly use an iPhone. Also read How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac.
  5. Files with Tags: Using tags to organize your files? Smart Folders can help you find files with specific tags. You can search for files with certain tags, specific file types with tags, or combine different tags to customize your search.
  6. Recently Created Documents: Want to see all the files you’ve created in the past week or month? Use the “Created date” attribute to easily select the desired time period and view your recently created documents.
  7. All Media Files: By holding down the Option key and creating a Boolean operator Smart Folder, you can create folders that contain the results of multiple smart searches. For example, you can create a Smart Folder that shows all your image, movie, and music files.
  8. Duplicate Downloads: To find duplicate files regardless of their location, use a Boolean search to look for files with filenames that have numbers in parentheses (e.g., file(1), file(2)). This will help you identify and remove duplicate downloads from your Mac.
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These Smart Folders can be really helpful in organizing your files and optimizing your Mac’s storage. Give them a try and see how they can make your life easier!


In conclusion, Smart Folders are a handy feature on your MacBook that can help you tidy up your files, save time, and make the most of your computer’s storage space. By using Smart Folders, you can easily organize and locate your files without the hassle of manual searching. So why not give it a try? Set up your own Smart Folders and experience the convenience and efficiency they offer. Share your thoughts and experiences with Smart Folders in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

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