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In an ideal world, our Macs would be impeccably organized, not stuffed with old versions of Word docs and umpteen copies of the Beastie Boys’ “Hey Ladies.” Hyperbolic’s Tidy Up offers powerful tools for identifying (and dispatching) duplicate files, helping us get closer to that ideal Mac by sorting and disposing of unneeded bytes.
In Basic Mode, Tidy Up provides a list of predefined searches to find the most common kinds of duplicate files. You can, for example, search by filename, find duplicate copies of music files in your iTunes collection, or sift through iPhoto or Aperture libraries for duplicate images. Tidy Up can also search your files’ metadata, such as track names for music or modification dates of a text file, and it can locate either exact matches or files with similar names. That’s handy for finding old versions of frequently revised documents.
We cleaned up our act and our hard drive with Tidy Up, but only after we spent a lot of time wrapping our brain around the app's complex and sometimes convoluted options.
Tidy Up can search your startup drive and any external drives or removable media mounted on your Mac.
If Tidy Up already sounds deep, the app lets you go much deeper by creating complex search queries in the Advanced Mode. These quickly drill down to the exact files you’re searching for by using file names, sizes, and more obscure characteristics like creator codes and resource-fork information. Because Tidy Up’s extensive options can quickly become confusing even for advanced users, you can invoke a Strategy Wizard to make setting up your searches easier. Instead of checking boxes and adding search strings, the Strategy Wizard helpfully (and in plain English) identifies parameters for your searches.
After you’ve run your search, Tidy Up presents a comprehensive list of files with a preview window that can even play back media. We appreciated the app’s useful Smart Baskets (think Smart Folders), which helped us parse search results by grouping files by location or ensuring that just one out of each set of dupes remains behind when clearing out the extras. The app also gives you the option to move dupes to another location or burn them to a disc so you can clear off your machine while still maintaining a backup.
Because its powers run so deep, Tidy Up can be complex to use. We spent a good deal of time digging into the documentation before we felt comfortable with anything beyond basic functions. Even then, some of the concepts weren’t clear until we fiddled around for a while, playing “what happens if I do this?” A simple task like housecleaning on your Mac really shouldn’t require this much effort and study.