This article describes several ways to free-up space on your Mac so that you can increase available space on your computer:
1. Determine how much disk space you have
Open Disk Utility (Finder > Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility), then click your disk then click info, as seen in the following screen shot:
2. Use Optimize Storage
Apple has provided a utility called “Optimize Storage” that is built-in to the macOS. To access this utility, go to Apple menu > About This Mac > Storage > Manage…
To find out more about Optimize Storage, read our post How to Use Optimize Storage on Mac to Gain Back Hard Drive Space.
3. Delete items you no longer need
Move files you do not need to the Trash or select an item you want to delete and press Command + Delete. Then empty your trash by selecting Empty Trash from the Finder menu.
Also note that some applications, such as iPhoto, iMovie and Mail, have their own Trash. So you may want to empty their trash too. Here is how:
- Mail: Click Mailbox > Erase Deleted Items > In All Accounts, and Mailbox > Erase Junk Mail. (instead of deleting, you may also consider archiving your email, see #7: Compress your items below)
- iPhoto: click iPhoto > Empty iPhoto Trash.
- iMovie: click File > Move to Trash or File > Move Rejected Clips to Trash.
4. Delete Downloads
Anything you download from the Internet are stored in the Downloads folder. You may want to delete these items. First check to make sure that you do not need any of these items. Click Finder then download. And drag any item you do not need to the Trash then empty the trash. For instance you may want to delete the disk image (.dmg) files.
5. Delete apps you no longer use
Open your Applications folder and delete any apps that you no longer use. If you want to delete/uninstall an app that you purchased from the Mac App Store, open Launchpad then press and hold down the app icon that you want to remove, when they jiggle, click the delete (x) button. If you want to remove other apps, drag the app icon to the trash then empty the trash.
6. Move files to another disk
You may want to consider moving items (such as photos, large files, movies, etc.) to another disk, such as an external drive, USB drive, DVD, or cloud storage.
7. Compress large items
You may want to compress your files because compressed files take up less storage space. Here is how you can locate large files so you can compress:
- Select Finder > Go > Home > File > Find then open the Kind menu, then select Other. Now check the checkbox for File Size. Now enter a file size (e.g. 50MB) and find items that are larger than 50MB.
- To compress items, simple choose a file to compress and press Control + Click then choose Compress.
- If you want to archive your emails, launch the Mail app, select a folder to archive, e.g. the Inbox, drag it to the desktop. Now you will see a mbox folder. Then control-click on this folder and select “Create Archive of ‘Inbox.mbox‘” then delete the messages from Mail.
8. Clean up temporary files, system caches and logs
You may clean up a variety of System logs and temporary files to increase your Mac’s disk space. Use third party utilities like MainMenu or similar others can help you. Download and install, if you want to run these maintenance scripts.
9. Clear your browser’s cache
Clearing the cache could free space on your Mac. If you are using Safari, you can do this in Safari by clicking Safari > Reset Safari. You can do the same in other browsers as well, Chrome, Firefox etc.
Obsessed with tech since the early arrival of A/UX on Apple, Sudz (SK) is responsible for the original editorial direction of AppleToolBox. He is based out of Los Angeles, CA.
Sudz specializes in covering all things macOS, having reviewed dozens of OS X and macOS developments over the years.
In a former life, Sudz worked helping Fortune 100 companies with their technology and business transformation aspirations.
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