MacPaw’s brand-spanking-new Mac app Gemini is the kind of duplicate finder program that Mac users love, boasting a super-slick interface and an entirely new file-searching algorithm.
Fire up Gemini and you’re presented with its ultra-modern interface, highlighted by a big, circular icon that represents the search function. You’re asked to add folders or drag-and-drop them right into the app window, and as soon as you do, Gemini comes to life, searching for duplicates while displaying a series of cheeky little messages to keep you entertained. Depending on the size of the directory you choose, searching can take a few seconds or a few minutes.
On my first use, I searched my entire computer (current-gen MacBook Pro) in less than five minutes. That’s pretty astounding. And I was able to let it work in the background with no noticeable slow-down of my work (involving multiple browser windows and tabs, Mail, an image editor, and iTunes) in the foreground.
When your search is done, you click on “Show Results,” and Gemini’s primary interface slides away to reveal the file explorer-type window. It gives you a complete list of every duplicate found, pairing the duplicates together so that you can look at them in context. Each file shows the full path, so you can see exactly where it’s located on your drive. Files are listed much like they are in Finder, with full previews; in other words, you can play audio files and videos from right inside the app. If you don’t want to bother with or don’t have time for perusing the duplicate files, you can click the “Auto Select All Files” button at the top of the screen, which uses a sophisticated algorithm to intuitively select the most appropriate file to dispose of. If you prefer to be more hands on, you can go through the file pairs one at a time and decide which one you can live without.
To select a duplicate for disposal, you just click the check box beside it. Doing so adds it to a running tally displayed at the top of the screen; here, Gemini keeps track of how much space you’ll be freeing up once you’re done with the current operation. Wisely, any file located inside of iTunes’ directory structure is impossible to delete, so Gemini doesn’t even give you a check box option for those. It also ignores all system files, to ensure you don’t accidentally delete anything vital to keeping your Mac running.
On the far left, you’ll see a nifty breakdown of stats on the duplicate files found. On top, there’s a categorized list showing things like “Movies,” “Music,” “Pictures,” “Documents,” and more. It doesn’t show the number of files found here, it shows the amount of disk space the various files are taking up. You can click on any of these categories to see and manipulate just those kinds of files. Below that, there’s a cool pie chart that presents the same data in a more visual way.
Once you’re happy with your selections and are ready to delete, you click on the “Remove Selected” button at the top of the screen. Gemini suddenly morphs into something resembling a printer, spitting out a sheet of virtual paper that lists the files you’re about to delete. A red button marked “Remove” is your last action, and when you click it, Gemini activates a cool animation that shreds your virtual paper list, right on your screen. Once that animation is complete, you’re done.
A ton of time had to have been put into perfecting Gemini‘s interface, because it shows. From its beautiful, super simple interface, to those clever animations, it’s simply a joy to use. That interface really helps sell you on the fact that it’s a very, very focused app. It does one thing, and it does it exceedingly well. To that end, there’s no options menu. But most users won’t miss it. It’s also worth noting that Gemini never permanently deletes anything. All files it removes from your computer are sent to the Trash. So you still have one last stopgap option if you make a mistake.
Having used Gemini at length for several days now, my verdict is in: Gemini is blazing fast, super intuitive, and (surprise, surprise) it’s actually fun to use! It’s also incredibly well polished (I experienced not a single glitch while putting Gemini through its paces). It helped me free up several gigabytes of data on my hard drive — gigs I didn’t even realize could be freed up.
Thumbs way, way up.