With a multitude of cloud storage services continuing to rake up popularity, our laptop/desktop disk space keeps getting smaller with each passing day. So much so, we often forget to check up on our remaining disk space, as most of our work these days tend to happen in the cloud.
How many times you’ve got that super annoying pop-up – ‘Your disk is almost full,’ formerly known as the ‘Startup Disk Full’ on your Mac?
It happens way too often with the Mac users, thanks to Apple’s downgrade from the larger-sized 500GB HDDs from back in 2011, to the SSDs ranging from 64GB to 256GBs of storage capacity today.
While SSDs might have been touted as a faster option, but it soon becomes a headache as you keep running out of space all the time, which in turn makes your whole system feel sluggish, thereby invalidating the very reason they were introduced in the first place.
Not to forget, many of the Mac users faced a lot of issues, where they couldn’t even install a new Big Sur update last year due to Mac’s absurd low disk space problem.
If all of these woes sound familiar to you, then we’ve got just the guide to help you out! We are here to tell you the best ways to clear the disk space on your Mac.
1. How to Clear Disk Space of Mac: Use the MacOS Optimize Storage feature.
For starters, you can get an outline of how much free and used disk space you have left on Mac.
For that, go to Apple menu > About This Mac, then select Storage. Here, you can see the available storage space.
You can try out MacOS’s own suggested option to handle your storage capacity issues with Optimize Storage. Go to Apple menu icon > About This Mac, select Storage > choose Manager.
MacOS will let you know exactly how much space is being utilized based on the different categories of files & folders.
Next, you can go to Recommendations and choose from among the available options:
I. Storage on iCloud-
Apple currently offers 5GB of iCloud storage option for free. You can also upgrade your storage to iCloud+, choosing from one of their available plans.
You can choose to transfer your large files and folders from your device storage to iCloud Drive, and use iCloud Photos storage for your media files including, photos and videos.
Store Files & Folders on iCloud Drive by Default-
Go to Apple Menu on your Mac. Then navigate to Apple icon > System Preference > select your Apple ID > select iCloud > choose Options button beside the iCloud Drive. (Note: Check if your iCloud Drive is active to see that option.)
Now, choose Desktop & Documents Folders > Done.
II. Optimize Storage-
You can choose to modify the storage info related to Apple TV content and email attachments.
- Change Apple TV storage preferences – In the Apple TV app, change your file preferences from TV > Preferences > Files.
Here, you can check the box that says ‘Automatically delete watched films and TV programs.
- Change email storage preferences – If your Mac email app is filled with clutter, you can choose to remove the older and large mail attachments that you don’t need, and keep only the recent ones. You should also clean out your junk mail folder regularly.
Go to the Mail app, then navigate to Mail > Preferences > Account > Account Information.
Here, you can change three things to free even more space:
- Unselect the ‘Enable this account’ check box for those accounts you don’t want to continue receiving the emails.
- Mac’s Mail app always downloads all the attachments you receive, so you can either choose ‘None’ (to stop downloading all attachments) or ‘Recent’ (to only download the attachments received within the past 15 days).
- If you often have to send large files or email attachments, you can send them through iCloud. This can be used for IMAP, Exchange, or iCloud accounts.
III. Empty Trash Automatically-
You can also use the Finder window to empty the trash that’s been there for more than 30 days to save space.
Head over to Finder > Preferences > then click Advanced.
Click on the “Remove items from the Trash after 30 days” check box.
IV. Reduce Clutter by Uninstalling Less-used Items-
You can manually choose to delete all the files, apps, books, music folders, and other miscellaneous stuff you don’t need from the Storage tab.
Go to the Apple menu icon > About This Mac > click Storage, then choose Manage.
Click on a category from the sidebar; it shows Applications, Photos, Music, TV, categories depending on your usage.
Choose the file you want to get rid of and then click Delete.
If you delete a file downloaded from the iTunes app, Apple Books, or App Store with your Apple ID, worry not because you can download it again.
You can sort your files and folders by size to see which ones take up the most space, and then manually choose to delete them.
2. How to Clear Disk Space on Mac: Delete Your Browsing Data
So, you just removed all the unnecessary files, applications, and media folders, but it still does not seem enough?
Of course, you forgot the most important place which is most often overlooked, but continuously eats up your memory while running in the background, that is, your browser.
Go to the Safari app on your Mac, navigate to Safari > Preferences, and select the Privacy option. From here, select ‘Prevent cross-site tracking’ beside Website Tracking.
Now, go to ‘Manage Website Data.’ Here, you’ll greet with the list of all the websites that have been storing cookies and trackers controlling your browsing behavior.
You can choose to ‘Remove All’ > Done or select and remove only certain items.
3. How to Clear Disk Space on Mac: Delete Temporary Files and Cache
Temporary files are log files or system files stored locally in your Mac’s memory, including downloads folder, that helps make your file’s accessibility faster by keeping a cache memory. But this can also slow down your Mac.
To manually delete cache files, first, you should close all the actively running apps and files.
Open the Finder app. Click on Go, then Go to the folder. In the pop-up box just type in ~/Library/Caches/
Now, select all the files you want to delete and move them to the Trash. Empty the Trash folder, and you’re done.
4. How to Clear Disk Space on Mac: Delete Duplicate Files
We often find ourselves downloading a whole bunch of files browsing through the web, and end up creating duplicated copies of several files and folders.
5. How to Clear Disk Space on Mac: Delete Language Files
Computers come with tons of language support options to make their interface accessible to everyone equally. But, let’s be honest, most of the time, we don’t bother with them.
At most, people stick with one or two languages for their daily usage. Yet, all of them end up taking that extra bit of space anyway, and act as bloatware for your devices.
To remove them, head over to the System Preferences> Language & Region. Now, go to the Resources folder, choose languages with .lproj extensions, and remove all of them.
6. How to Clear Space on Mac: Compress your Files
In case you have a ton of music or videos saved on your device, or even just a few large media files (which are enough to slow down your system), it’s always better to compress or make an archive folder out of them.
You should compress your most less-used files that are not frequently opened. To do that, select the chosen file, right-click and choose ‘Compress.’
7. How to Clear Disk Space on Mac: Upgrade your SSD
Finally, after using all the popular methods, if your disk space still won’t budge, it’s time to upgrade your storage and add an external storage unit.
You can buy a high-speed USB drive to transfer your bulky music and photo files.
You can also get a Multiport SSD storage hub with ports like Minix Neo, with is 240GB space and high-speed read and write capabilities, to add up both connectivity options and more storage.
You can also get a SanDisk Extreme MicroSD Card with 512GB storage, all within $200.
How to deal with that mystery ‘Other’ Folder
We can only get rid of what’s easily accessible, but what about that ‘Other’ thing that regularly shows up in our Storage via the Finder app, but often end up consuming the most amount of space, as faced by a lot of Mac users.
Those are typically the files that don’t fit into our usual categories, like backup files and extension files. You can access that list via Go > Go to Folder > ~/library.
We especially recommend Daisy disk. It will not only get rid of tons of hidden files and folders for you, but also has a beautiful, intuitive user interface, that not only tells you the disk space distribution on your Mac, but also makes it worth the investment with attractive visuals and graphs.
After following the above-mentioned steps, you can be assured of enough free space to last for days.
Hope this guide was helpful!
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