Are you concerned about not having enough storage space left on your Mac? Well, no matter how much storage you’ve got, it’s bound to get low some day as you continue to store new stuff on your Mac over time. And, when the time arrives, you start looking for answers to just one question how to free up space on a Mac? Well, there are lots of options that you can try out in this regard and can easily free up ample amount of space on your Mac whenever you like to store new stuff. Most of the times, there is no need for you to get rid of any media or personal files you may have stored on your machine. So, let’s find out what options are available and how exactly you can fix your storage issues on Mac.
Jump To Section:
- How To Manage Storage With macOS Sierra
- How To Free Up Space On A Mac By Cropping iTunes
- Clear The Downloads Folder For Freeing Up Space On Mac
- Clear Space On Mac By Getting Rid Of Apps That Are Not Needed Anymore
- Keep Track Of Duplicate iPhoto Libraries
- Free Up Space On Mac With DaisyDisk Or Some Other Similar Utility
- Use AppCleaner For Clearing Out Any Unnecessary, Old Files
- Save Space By Deleting Attachments On Mac
- Free Up Space By Quitting Any Apps Running In Background
- Remove Any Extra Languages That Are Not Needed
- Transfer Any Of Your Old Videos And Photos
- Limit Whatever Is Stored On Your Storage Drive By Dropbox
- Make Sure You Have Enabled iCloud Photo Library
How To Manage Storage With macOS Sierra
With the release of macOS High Sierra, Apple has come up with a new feature to optimize storage that allows for deleting old files and putting stuff to cloud if you don’t need it on your Mac.
When you are short on space, you’ll continue to get alerts from the system that will give you the link to storage preferences. For accessing this pane, you’ll have to follow below steps.
- Click on Apple Logo that appears towards top left side of the screen and select ‘About This Mac’ option
- Click on Storage tab to see how much of your storage space is available and the way it is being used. There is a bar that indicates the amount of space allocated to Photos, Apps, System and Mail. Besides, it also tells you how much of it can eventually be purged.
- Click on Manage button to open another pane that shows different options including ‘Store in iCloud’, ‘Reduce Clutter’, ‘Empty Trash Automatically’, and ‘Optimize Storage’. Besides, there will be several tabs towards left side of that window for Documents, Applications, Photos, Mail, iCloud Drive, GarageBand and Trash. If the Mac in question is more populated, there will be tabs for the iOS Files as well. There will be one for iTunes as well that carries all your music stored on Mac.
- Click any of the options that you see on left side for revealing more information about the files types. Next, click the recommendations tab on top of list if you want to go back to options screen.
- Click the Optimize Storage option if you want to let your Mac take control of things. Going for this will automatically delete all your movies or TV shows that you have watched already. Besides, it will also get rid of any email attachments. You shouldn’t have any concerns about losing any such stuff as emails will still be available on iCloud server. As far as your TV shows or movies are concerned, you can download them again anytime without having to pay anything.
- Choosing ‘Empty Trash Automatically’ option will automatically delete the files from Trash folder as soon as they grow 30 days older. As you click the ‘Turn On’ button, an alert will popup asking for your confirmation for automatically erasing Trash. It’s quite a safe option and you don’t really have to worry at all about it because in 30 days you can easily realize whether you need trashed content or not.
How To Free Up Space On A Mac By Cropping iTunes
If you want to re-claim disk space, you have to take care of iTunes Library as well. There are quite a few options available in this regard. The entire thing can be copied from the Music directory and placed on some external hard disk drive while iTunes can be pointed to that drive from Preferences settings. This option works fine for desktop Mac models, but you may not be able to take much advantage of it if you are using a macbook.
As an alternate, you can take advantage of NAS box if you’re using a macbook as it will allow you to have access to all your music only with a stable network connection.
A third-party solution, however, may be to buy iTunes Match subscription. Once you have set it up, the tool will let you access all your iTunes Library music on the Apple’s servers. Now, this implies that you do not need to store anything locally. All you need for listening to your favorite tracks is a stable internet connect. The overall experience, however, is exactly the same as playing your locally stored tracks on iTunes. What’s even better is that if you later choose to download music through iTunes Match, you’ll be able to download 256-bit AAC files that offer better quality compared to ones you on Mac.
As your last resort, you can go for Apple Music subscription that charges you around $10 a month for gaining access to its entire Music Library. If all your music resides on iTunes, it’s possible for you to delete everything from Mac and stream it through Apple Music. And if you want to discontinue your subscription at some later point, you’ll be able to easily download all your tracks for free if you had bought them through iTunes Music Store prior to revoking your subscription. Take note, however, that unless you’re using iTunes Match, you’ll not be allowed to download anything you’ve uploaded to iTunes Library from your Mac.
Clear The Downloads Folder For Freeing Up Space On Mac
Downloads folder in your Mac keeps all the downloaded files and even if you needed them temporarily they stay there unless you delete them manually. Just about anything you download using your web browser is dumped into Downloads folder unless you give a custom path for the downloaded stuff. Many a times, the folder also receives any files that you receive through various apps on your Mac.
So, when you are looking to free up space on a Mac, you should first check out the Downloads folder. In fact, you should go through this folder periodically so that you can keep stuff you’ll need and trash anything permanently if you do not need it. Believe it or not, sometimes you end up clearing GBs of space simply by sorting through your Downloads folder.
Clear Space On Mac By Getting Rid Of Apps That Are Not Needed Anymore
It’s something quite obvious but some people simply don’t do it. It really is a great way of clearing space on Mac and all you need to do is to go through applications folder and delete the apps that you don’t feel like using anymore.
Generally, you should be deleting any apps that you have not opened in last six months or so. If the apps were purchased through Mac App Store, they can be re-downloaded whenever you’ll need them in future and you won’t have to pay anything at all for that.
However, if the apps were purchased from outside of Mac App Store, all you have to ensure is that you’ll have some way of getting them again if the need be. Alternately, you can transfer such apps to external drive if you still want to keep them.
Keep Track Of Duplicate iPhoto Libraries
When using new Photos application on Mac, after using iPhoto in the past, it is quite possible that you have duplicate iPhoto libraries on your hard disk drive. Whether the duplicate resulted after a restore because iPhoto did not know where your photos had to be dropped or some other reason, you should take care of it to free up space on your Mac. Obviously, you’d not need two copies of the same stuff and can clear up hundreds of GBs by getting rid of the extras. So, ensure that you do not have any extra libraries on Mac and if there are any then delete them first.
Free Up Space On Mac With DaisyDisk Or Some Other Similar Utility
Most of the times, we have lots and lots of files stored on Macs which we actually do not need. In fact, sometimes we have files that we do not even know exist. For instance, there could be lots of videos that were placed on your Mac by several backups.
Using DaisyDisk or other similar utility, you can easily find out where your Mac storage is consumed. It’s really one indispensable tool for locating files as well as apps that are hungry for storage even when you don’t know where they actually exist on your Mac. The app sniffs all the time and finds large files you have on your Mac’s hard drive so that they can be taken care of.
Use AppCleaner For Clearing Out Any Unnecessary, Old Files
Just like DaisyDisk, we have AppCleaner as well for finding any unnecessary, old files and clearing them out. App remnants and service files are known to consume great amount of storage space on Mac. That’s never going to help your cause if the files consuming all the space are related to applications that you do not need anymore.
As it happens, sometimes you download apps but never end up using them. So, all they do on your Mac is nothing but to consume precious space. So, you should better delete them and free up space and if you need them ever again then you can re-install them. And for that, AppCleaner really is a solution you should go with.
With AppCleaner, it’s your choice which files you want to delete from within an app. Make sure, however, that you do all this very carefully and must not delete anything that you are not so familiar with. Only delete files if you are aware of the repercussions and don’t do anything otherwise.
Other than that, AppCleaner really is one great solution to clean out any unused applications that are consuming space on your Mac unnecessarily.
Save Space By Deleting Attachments On Mac
Have you ever thought of the size of folder that contains all your Mail attachments? Just think of the number of mails you receive having large attachments. All these attachments go to inbox folder within main Mail folder (~/Library/Mail).
In order to ensure that the files from any deleted emails get removed as well, you should browse to “Remove unedited downloads” in the preferences of Mail app and select “After Message is Deleted” option.
Current Mail version also keeps attachments in the ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.mail/Data/Mail Downloads folder. If you do not need them, you can also delete them too and it will be helpful in saving several hundred MBs of disk space.
Free Up Space By Quitting Any Apps Running In Background
You should also check out apps that are running in background for last few days. Quitting them will free up considerable amount of space on your Mac. In fact, you can even restart your Mac regularly to free up space on your hard disk. Temporary files are created by applications for storing data these files keep piling up as you run the apps without quitting. Once an app is quitted, it deletes all cache files and disk space is redeemed.
Remove Any Extra Languages That Are Not Needed
There are quite a few supported languages in Mac OS X and more than 25 languages come as part of the package when you install the operating system. So, if you are wondering how to free up space on a Mac, removing any extra languages that you do not need can be a way out. Before we get into the details of how you can remove language support, let’s first take a look at how you set up your language priorities.
- Browse to System Preferences
- Click Language & Region
- Put languages in your preferred order so that you can easily switch between different options
Now if you’re looking to delete any extra languages that you don’t need now, and won’t need in future either, go to Resources folder. Here you have to search for folders that end with .Iproj. There is some language file in all of these folders. Just trash the folders for languages you don’t want and you’ll be good to go. This will also free up space on your Mac.
Transfer Any Of Your Old Videos And Photos
If there are any old videos and photos stored on your Mac that you don’t really need to keep anymore, or want them to be immediately accessible, either put them on some storage service like Dropbox or your external drive.
Doing so will help you free up lots of space on your hard drive. For instance, you might have so much of old stuff from your high school and college days. It’s not necessary for it to be videos or photos that you need to access across different devices you use. So, you can transfer them to one of the options described above. It’s simple, easy and straightforward.
Limit Whatever Is Stored On Your Storage Drive By Dropbox
If you want to take advantage of the method above, it is also important that you ensure that transferring your stuff to Dropbox does not simply move it to a different location on your Mac’s hard drive. When using a Mac, it’s your choice exactly which folders are synced from Dropbox to be stored on Mac locally. The default setting actually stores everything locally as soon as it is put on Dropbox.
Some sync settings are accessible by going to Preferences and then clicking Accounts button. Here you can opt for Selective Sync while making sure that photo backup is not selected.
Make sure that you uncheck other folders from Dropbox as well if you do not want to access them directly from your Mac. You can, obviously, change settings whenever you want at any time later.
Make Sure You Have Enabled iCloud Photo Library
With iCloud Photo Library you can allow yourself to transfer all your videos and photos to cloud storage rather than keeping them on the hard drive of your Mac. If there is not much space available for storing stuff locally, you shouldn’t be splitting everything between cloud and local storage. iCloud Library will keep everything for you without causing you to lose any space on your Mac hard drive. However, ensure that you have complete photo library backup before you enable iCloud Photo Library.
So, if you are interested in enabling iCloud Photo Library, here are the steps that you will have to follow.
- Launch Photos app from your Mac
- Select Photos from top navigation
- Select Preferences
- In iCloud section, just click the checkbox in front of iCloud Photo Library
- Also make sure that you have also selected Optimize Mac Storage sub-option
So, these are the options you have and hope your question how to free up space on a Mac is very well answered. It’s just the matter of choosing the right alternates for yourself and removing any unnecessary stuff wisely. If you have any further queries, you can get in touch through the comments section below.
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