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9 Tricks to Free Up Space on A Mac

SSDs are super-fast, but what do you do when your computer disk is full? Read on to discover nine ways to reclaim the disc space on your Mac. Although the disk enhances quick computer processing, you would need to dig deeper into your pocket to upgrade to a bigger SSD when the one you have fills up. Most Mac users end up following the upgrade route as MacBooks and base iMacs ship with a pretty small 256 SSD. 

However, this guide will save you the time and extra bucks needed to acquire more space that may be unnecessary in the long run. Instead, it would help if you thought about freeing up some space in the provided SSD. This way, your Mac won’t display the “Your disk is almost full” banner the next time you try downloading a file.

1. Clear the Trash

All the items in your Mac that you delete to Trash remain there, eating some of your computer’s space. So, the chances are that you still have a few gigabytes of data sitting in Trash. Simply right-click the Trash icon, select “Empty Trash,” to delete everything in it and create some space. Similarly, you can let your Mac automatically empty the Trash by following the steps below;

  1. Go to “Finder.”
  2. Select “Preferences.”
  3. Click “Advanced.”
  4. Choose the “Remove Items from the Trash after 30 Days” option.

Now your Mac will be ensuring that your Trash space is free every month. Note that once you delete data from the Trash, you can’t re-access it.

2. Remove Unnecessary Apps

With the variety of fun apps available online, you might like trying new ones for your Mac. While some of these apps may be fun to use to interact and conduct other activities on your machine, you’re likely to forget to delete those that you no longer need. You should also remove the apps you’re done testing on your Mac.

The first step to getting rid of all unwanted apps on your Mac is to take stock of the apps and sort the ones to remove and retain. Such a daunting task may need the help of an additional app like AppCleaner. This app is popular for uninstalling apps on Mac as it also deletes all the junk files related to the target app. Simply launch AppCleaner on your Mac, and a list of all the apps on the machine will appear. Select the apps you no longer need and click “Remove” to complete the process.

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Other Mac versions such as Sierra and higher have a built-in storage management feature meaning that you don’t need to download an app to remove unwanted apps. Follow the steps below to remove apps through the feature.

  1. Click on the Apple icon from the menu bar.
  2. Select “About This Mac.”
  3. Enter the “Storage” section.
  4. Click “Manage.”
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  • Choose “Applications.”

A detailed list of all apps in your Mac will appear sorted by the amount of space they occupy.

  • Click on all the apps that you want to remove.
  • Click the “Delete” tab at the bottom right.
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The selected apps and other related data will move to the Trash. Emptying the Trash will provide a huge chunk of space on your Mac.

3. Delete Large Files

Removing a couple of huge files would be the best way to reclaim storage space in your Mac. It would take you longer to weed through hundreds of smaller files. Therefore, you need to identify which files take up much of the computer space and how to remove them.

One of the easiest ways to identify large files is through the same Storage Management feature. Simply select on the “Documents” section, and a list of all files in your machine will appear sorted from the largest to the smallest.

Check the files that appear at the top of the list and decide which one you can do without. Simply click on any file you wish to remove and select the “Delete” button at the bottom.

If you think you may need the file in the future, you can move it to your cloud storage rather than delete it permanently. Repeat the process for all the massive files in your Mac until you attain your target storage space. If you still need more space even after deleting the large files, it’s time to drill down. Smaller files may be harder to find, but macOS makes the process easier.

The “Documents” view in the storage management feature has two options: File Browser and Downloads.

The “File Browser” section is a tool to help you find files in storage management. You can search through the entire file storage system and delete folders and files you no longer need.

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The “Downloads” section breaks down all the files and folders by the installation dates. You can check on the files you haven’t accessed for a long time and delete them.

4. Delete iOS Backups and Old iTunes Files

If you have iPad or iPhone backups on your Mac, they could be occupying significant storage space. It’s advisable to delete these backups if you no longer need them to create space for more important files. Simply follow the steps below to get rid of your iOS device backup.

  1. Go to “Storage Management.”
  2. Select “iOS files.”
  3. Click “iOS device backup.”
  4. Press the “Delete” button.

In the same way, you need to remove data from the iTunes app found on older Macs. The app was crucial for audiobooks, TV shows, and movies. Simply access the iTunes section and delete the app. Updated Macs have separate sections for things like podcasts and music.

5. Scrutinize Cloud Storage Apps

If you’re using Google Drive or Dropbox to sync Mac files to the cloud, you need to check exactly what’s in the Mac and what’s in the cloud. Normally, cloud syncing services download data to your Mac.

The best thing would be to switch to the “Selective Sync” feature if you’re using Dropbox. The feature allows you to decide which files and folders can download to your Mac. To access “Selective Sync”:

  1. Open “Preferences.”
  2. Click “Sync.”
  3. Select “Choose Folders to Sync.”\
  4. Go through the list that appears and remove those you don’t need.

6. Utilize Photos App Storage

The 50GB or 200GB iCloud Drive tier comes with Optimize Storage feature in the photos. Just like the feature does on iPhone, you only keep your most recent images instead of the entire iCloud Photo Library. It means that you can download photos that you need from iCloud. The feature plays a significant role in reducing the photo library from multiple gigabytes to just a few. Below are steps to enable the “Optimize Storage” option.

  1. Open the “Photos” app.
  2. Click “Preferences.”
  3. Select “iCloud.”
  4. Open “iCloud Photos.”
  5. Click the “Optimize Storage” option to activate.

7. Store Documents and Desktop in iCloud

Activating the “Store in iCloud” feature will help automatically back up data from your “Documents” and “Desktop” folders, only storing the most recent files in your Mac. You have nothing to worry about as you can download older files with the press of a button.

While activating this feature would free up a substantial amount of storage space, you should avoid it if you have important work files in your “Documents” folder. Here’s how to activate the “Store in iCloud” feature.

  1. Open “Storage Management.”
  2. Click “Recommendations.”
  3. Select “Store in iCloud.”

8. Use Gemini 2 and CleanMyMac X

All the manual storage cleanup methods discussed here can provide a significant amount of space with just a few steps. However, the processes may be tedious and time-consuming, especially if you need to perform them repeatedly.

Thankfully, numerous apps are available to help you simplify some of these steps and automate space free-up. CleanMyMac is one example that comes as an all-in-one utility to keep your Mac in good shape. You can delete temporary files, cache files, applications, old and unused files through the app.

On the other hand, Gemini 2 looks for duplicates in your Mac. There’s a fair chance that your machine has copies of files such as photos, videos, or documents. Since you don’t need to keep duplicates in your Mac, Gemini 2 will help eliminate them.

9. Stop Apps Running in the Background

When you let apps run without stopping them on your Mac, they create more files to store data. Therefore, apps that run longer in the background are likely to make bigger files to keep more data and deprive you of the much-needed space to keep crucial files. 

It’s important to quit all the apps you may have left open for an extra inch of space on your machine. You can also restart your computer to delete all the cached files and help the Mac instantly regain much-needed disk space.

Now you have several ways to free up some storage space and get the work done on your Mac. If you follow one or more of the steps discussed here, you shouldn’t worry about disk space anymore.

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