Over the weekend, I got my hard drive replaced by a shiny new solid state drive. It’s the best thing I ever did for my MacBook: it’s running quieter, cooler, and happier. I backed up most of my important files in my email, but I definitely ended up with a couple of files that had the same name. I was able to open them both and ascertain which ones were the correct files, and which were just duplicates. If I had had a Mac app called Identical installed, however, it could have been a lot less painful.
What is it and what does it do
Identical is a Mac app that lets you determine whether two different files have the same contents.
- Free app that takes up very little hard drive space
- Simple drag and drop controls
- Easy to tell at a glance whether the files are a match: green checkmark means that files are the same, while a red x-mark means that the files are different
- Handy progress indicator keeps you abreast of the progress when comparing very large files
- Hasn’t been updated since its initial release in the winter of 2012
- Does not search for duplicate files on your entire hard drive, just the files you provide for it to compare throughout your whole hard drive.
- App also does not show you the specific differences between the files
- Can only compare two files at a time
Here’s how it works, according to the App Store. First, the sizes are compared. If they are the same, then “the contents of the files are compared using the SHA-1 cryptographic hash function,” according to the App Store description.
In practice, even files that have identical contents can be erroneously marked as non-identical if the files have different extensions or slightly different file names. This can be a bit annoying.
You can drag and drop files to the menu bar icon for Identical to compare them. You can drag the files one at a time, or drag them together. Either way will work. Once two files have been dragged to the icon, you will see either a red sign or a green sign to indicate whether the two files are the same.
However, before downloading this app, you should probably be aware of some of its limitations. The developers recommend alternative apps, such as Gemini or Kaleidoscope, if you need a file comparison app that can scan your whole hard drive or point out the specific differences between two files. If, however, you want an app that gives you a simple “yes/no” readout, this is the tool for you.
Conclusion and download link
If you need a small, fast, and simple solution for determining whether two files have the same contents, this is an excellent solution. As long as you’re aware of the various limitations that this app has, you will find it to be a simple tool that’s simple to use. If you like your apps to run from the menu bar and not from the dock, this is an elegant solution.
Version reviewed: 1.0
Supported OS: OS X 10.7 or later
Download size: 1.2 MB