Finding Recently Changed Files With Terminal

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Finding files that were changed in the last day, sorted by size, using Apple’s Terminal

find command

To list files that were changed in the last day, sorted by size, using Apple’s Terminal, or any Unix / Linux bash shell:

(thanks mynamewasgone!)

Command breakdown

sudo
run in superuser mode - allows you to reach hidden system folders (if that’s what you need). You’ll be asked for your password
find /
use the powerful find command, starting from the root of the computer - in other words, search everywhere (which may not be a good idea if you are connected to a network or have a massive hard disk connected to your machine)
-type f
only look for files…
-mtime -1
…modified less than a day ago
-print0
when files are found, spit them out in a list with a NULL at the end instead of a new line - this helps with the next step
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pass the list generated by find to the next command…
xargs -0
…which is xargs, used to take a list of results and pass them on. The -0 is telling xargs to use NULL as the separator
du -sk
use du to show how much space the files take, in kilobytes
|
pass the list generated by find to the next command…
sort -nr
…which sorts the list in reverse numerical order using sort

Find -exec is slow

Originally I did everything within find, using the -exec flag.

1
sudo find / -type f -mtime -1 -exec du -sk {} \; | sort -nr

But as mynamewasgone pointed out, find -exec is slow

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