- Quickly locates duplicate files
- Accurately identifies similar photos
- Safer file removal rather that complete deletion
- Adapts to personal file selection pattern
- Requires a license to unlock all the features
- No live customer support
- Customer support is slow to answer emails
Unless you store all your photos on an external hard drive or in the cloud, your Mac’s disk space is likely to be consumed by all your images. And admit it, how often do you actually clean out the Photos library of similar photos or duplicates? They just add up, and the library continues to grow bigger and bigger, requiring even more and more time to clean up items that, in the end, just never ends up happening… unless Gemini jumps in. This duplicate finder software is developed by the Ukraine-based company MacPaw – which is known for its CleanMyMac and CleanMyPC apps, among others – and is able to locate any duplicate file or photo (even similar images) and remove them, reclaiming precious disk space on your Mac and creating a much cleaner Photos library. Gemini 2, the latest installment of this software, is available as a free download, but if you want to unlock all of its features then you’ll need to purchase a lifetime license for as low as $8.99 if you buy the license pack for five Macs.
Gemini 2 is in fact an improved version of Gemini Classic with a tweaked, nicely designed and easy-to-understand user interface. When you launch Gemini it welcomes you with a simple, clean screen inviting you to either drag and drop folders or click on the central ‘+’ button to add folders to the scan list. The app will then do what it does best: scan for duplicates. And if you have ticked the “Scan for similar files” option in Preferences then it will also identify similar audio and image files, not only exact duplicates. You can add multiple folders that – just like the finding similar files option – will increase scan time, but it is well worth the wait since it will help you easily reclaim lost space on your Mac. With the help of the smart selection feature, you can even automate the selection process.
Gemini also helps users save space on their Macs by creating hard links in place of duplicate files. This means Gemini will create multiple paths to one file in various locations, guiding users to the same location rather than having to store multiple copies of the same file.
But before selecting the duplicate files you want Gemini to remove, you must first select the folders to be scanned. Gemini is able to scan your Macintosh HD drive, external drive or even your network attached storage (NAS) space. We must note here, though, that the built-in flash storage scan for the same data amount was much faster than on the NAS, which was a 7,200 rpm hard drive. Even so, Gemini still scanned the 68GB of data pretty fast, identifying duplicate files with ease. During the scanning process Gemini thoroughly compares found duplicates, analyzing their file creation and modification dates, extensions, paths and much more.
When tested with the Photos and iTunes libraries, Gemini required access to both Photos and iTunes (recommended setting: “Always Open”) to compare images from different albums and put them into the same group for comparison. It does the same with audio files.
Once the scanning process is complete – the time it takes depending on the amount of data and the storage type – Gemini will then present you with a summary of its findings: both the total number of duplicates found and the total number of files automatically selected for removal.
Gemini gives you two options for removing files: you can either automatically remove selected duplicates by clicking on the “Smart Cleanup” button, or review the files selected for removal by clicking in the middle of the chart. To view a duplicate in a certain category, simply click on the corresponding section.
Sometimes it's safe enough to just rely on the software to remove any duplicate files, but not photos. Of course, letting Gemini remove what it considers a duplicate or a similar picture is an option (think about how many times we take multiple pictures to try and get that perfect shot), but depending on your free time it might be worth spending some time in the company of your Mac to review the photos the software has selected.
The smart selection feature comes in handy here since it learns from your selection habits. To review the duplicates, simply click in the center of the circle and a new window appears, showing the number of similar photos listed alongside their duplicates. You can make a choice by clicking on files and ticking those you want to keep.
While you are using Gemini, the software analyzes the way you make your choices and after a while a prompt will suggest the opportunity to set new rules based on your particular selection preferences. For example, Gemini notices whether you more commonly select the smaller or larger file. If you agree to add a selection rule to Gemini, it will be saved in the smart selection tab, which you'll find in Preferences. You can review these rules or reset them, along with all manually added rules from “Always Select” and “Never Select” tabs.
Gemini moves selected files to the Trash by default so, unless you change the setting for permanent removal, it is at least still possible to restore any accidentally erased file. However, remember that the disk space won’t be reclaimed until the Trash has been emptied first. Once you are confident that you won't need any of the removed files, then you should clear the Trash.
Gemini does a good job of identifying similar files and duplicates, but to unlock the full power of the app you'll need to purchase a license. The application is available as a free download, but the trial version of Gemini is only capable of scanning your Mac and removing just 500MB of duplicate files. For $19.95, however, you'll get a single lifetime license. However there are options to take advantage of a discounted license price by purchasing a package that includes multiple licenses. $29.95 will give you two licenses that can be used on two Macs, but the best deal is the package for five Macs ($44.95), which means you'll get one license per Mac for $8.99, or more than half price.
MacPaw accepts two types of payment methods, either credit/debit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express cards) or PayPal checkout. The developer also offers a 30-day money back guarantee on all its products if they are purchased directly from the company’s store.
Unlike some of its rival services – such as MacBooster, which also includes a duplicate finder feature – Gemini comes with a complete help file to guide the user through the otherwise very simple and easy-to-understand scanning and removal process. There is also an online FAQ page that gives enough information to avoid misuse of the app, and if you still have questions that are unanswered in the knowledge base FAQ you can always contact customer support using the web form.
Don't expect a same-day response via email, however, and sadly there’s no live chat support to get a quick answer to your question. Our call to the phone number listed on the website was picked up by the MacPaw automated voicemail support – which wasn't available at that moment – and we were prompted to leave a name, email address and inquiry.
Despite its slow customer support, MacPaw's Gemini is good software to have on your Mac. It does more than just easily identifying and locating duplicate files you didn't even know you had on your computer, it will also help you clean up your iTunes and Photos library of those thousands of similar photos you took just to make sure you captured the moment. But if, like many of us, you lack the time to go through each photo and analyze for yourself which to delete, then Gemini will help you speed up this tedious task and regain disk space occupied by those duplicate files.
Although you might want to limit the use of Smart Selection and manually review all of the photos Gemini flagged as similar to make sure you pick the best to keep, it is still a handy feature to use – we've tested many instances, and in the majority of the cases the software picked the right image for us. This application is very helpful for keeping a well-organized, clean Mac, but this is especially true for your Photos library. It should be on the machine of any Mac user who doesn’t want to spend their time reviewing the photos they took before importing them into the Photos folder.