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How to Free Up Disk Space on Your Mac

by Geek Insider Staff

If you realize that your Mac is getting slower and leaving you with no room for new documents, photos, and music, it’s time to free up some disk space. While the entire process seems tedious, it’s crucial to ensure your computer runs quickly and smoothly. 

Besides, freeing up your space regularly helps reduce clutter and prevent the last-minute rush when your disk bursts at the seams. Below is a guideline to help you free up space on your Mac for the best user experience.

Determine What’s Taking Up the Mac Disk Space

Finding out what’s taking much of your Mac disk space will help you make informed decisions on the next step since deleting these items may not be the best idea. 

Follow these straightforward steps to get the disk overview.

  1. Click on the top-left Apple logo. 
  2. Select the “About This Mac” option
  3. Select the “Storage” tab and allow time for the Mac to calculate. The screen should display various bars showing how different items occupy your disk space and the available space.

Move your cursor over the different bars to find out how much space each item occupies. 

Delete Unwanted Files and Apps

You can delete most of the items represented on the bars or move them to different locations. The files and apps in your Mac may include hi-resolution images and videos that you need to scrutinize and sort. You only need to right-click on the app’s name or icon and select “Move to Trash.”  

Zip Files and Folders

If the disk space on your Mac is used up by files that you don’t want to delete, you can zip them to take up less space. Zipping means you compress the files to a common location by right-clicking on them and selecting “Compress.” You can access these files later, but you will need to first unzip them by double-clicking.  

Clear Caches

Clearing caches is a continuous process as most of them may reappear on your Mac. The temporary files may accumulate and take a substantial Mac disk space while you no longer need them. 

  1. Go to “Finder” and select the “Go to Folder” option.
  2. Type “Libraries/Caches” and hit “Go.”
  3. Once you find the caches folder, right click on the files and select “Move to Trash.”

Clear The Download Folder

This folder mainly comprises unnecessary files you have downloaded over a long period, including restaurant menus and presentations. Some of these downloads happen automatically, even without realizing it. Therefore, you should check this folder and remove all the unwanted files eating up your space.

Most importantly, ensure you follow up to empty your trash since moving files there does not free up space as they are still in your Mac disk memory. Simply right-click on the trash icon and selecting “Empty Trash. “

Store Your Files on iCloud

Storing most of your files on Apple’s cloud storage service helps free up some space while maintaining reliable content access. There are three iCloud options from which you can choose.

  1. Desktop and Documents: This option helps store all the files in your Mac’s desktop and documents folders. It leaves only the recently opened files on your Mac disk space. This means that you will have to download other documents that you have stored in iCloud. 
  2. Messages: This option stores all your attachments and messages leaving only the recently opened messages on your Mac disk space.
  3. Photos: This iCloud option stores all your videos and photos in their original form and leaves only space-saving options stored on your Mac. 

It’s worth noting that as an Apple user, you are only allowed free 5GB storage and an option to buy more at a monthly fee. 

Running out of space can really affect your computing and productivity. Therefore, you need to keep a substantial percentage of your storage free. Never ignore storage warnings, as you may even struggle to startup your Mac if the startup disk is full. Also note that it would be unwise to delete a vast majority of your system files without proper due diligence and back up. 

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