Is the startup disk full on your Mac?

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How to Clean Your Startup Disk

While working on your MacBook Air, Pro, or Mini, you’ve probably seen the warning “Your startup disk is almost full.” Ever wondered what it means? Well, basically, it means you’re out of space on your startup disk and you need to remove a few things. But what is a startup disk? In this article, we’ll explain it in detail. We’ll also identify the reasons why the above error message may appear and describe different ways to fix the problem.

If you’re more interested in finding a quick solution, you can skip the theoretical part and move straight to the section on how to free up space on Mac’s startup disk.

We also recommend that you download a simple program like Movavi Mac Cleaner to solve the problem quickly and automatically.

What Is a Startup Disk?

A startup disk is a hard drive or partition of a hard drive that contains your computer’s OS X.

Your Mac hard drive can only have one partition (or disk) for all the data stored in the system. More advanced users may have two or more hard drive partitions; in this case, the storage will be divided between the partitions, and the startup disk will be the one with the OS on it.

What’s Causing My Startup Disk to Be Full?

The message appears if your startup disk has less than 15% free space available, which happens when your hard drive is filled with different files and applications. What you need to do is clear some space on your disk.

But first you should check your Mac’s storage summary to identify the files that can be let go.

  • Click the Apple icon in the top menu and choose About This Mac.
  • Open the Storage tab (on older OS X versions, first click the More Info button and then Storage).
  • Review the storage distribution diagram.

The categories Movies, Photos, and Audio will likely take up the biggest chunk of space – you can seek out and delete the files you no longer need. If you want to learn more about cleaning junk from your system, visit our guide on how to free up space on your Mac.

How to Clean the Startup Disk on Mac

There are a number of ways to make space on your startup disk.

1. Compress Large Files

Just go to Finder > Go > Home > File > Find, click the Kind menu, and choose Other. Check the box next to File Size, then enter a size value and locate items that are larger than that value. Select the files you want to compress, control-click them, and choose Compress.

Another alternative is to transfer some of the files to an external hard drive.

2. Clean Your Desktop

Open the Desktop folder and delete all the junk files and icons for the apps you no longer use. This will help your Mac boot faster.

3. Empty the Trash

Remember that the system doesn’t automatically delete things you move to the Trash. You have to empty the Trash by hand. To do this, control-click the Trash icon in the Dock and select Empty Trash.

4. Delete Caches from the Library Folder

Caches are temporary files used for speeding up certain tasks. Over time, these files often become bloated. Deleting them can free up some serious space.

Open the Finder. Click Go in the menu bar and select Go to Folder. Enter ~/Library/Caches/. Now remove files and folders that are taking up the largest amount of space. You can spare yourself the trouble of handpicking all the cache files – just using Movavi Mac Cleaner is a lot easier. Read more here.

5. Clear the Browser Cache

You can also empty your browser cache for a bit more space. Learn more about the procedure here.

6. Remove iPhoto Service Copies

Launch the Finder and go to your Photos library. Control-click the library and choose Show Package Contents. Now go through the folders and carefully delete all service copies of your photos.

This is quite tricky because you may accidentally remove wrong or critical files. To do this in a safer and faster way, download Movavi Mac Cleaner.

7. Remove Old iTunes Libraries

In a Finder window, open the Go menu. Choose Go to Folder and enter ~/Music/iTunes/Previous iTunes Libraries. Get rid of the libraries you no longer need.

8. Get Rid of Language Packs

In a Finder window, open the Applications folder. Control-click an application and select Show Package Contents. Go to Contents and open the Resources folder. Locate files ending in “.lproj” – these are language packs. Delete the ones you never use and empty the Trash afterwards.

You can also do it using Movavi Mac Cleaner – in no time and with minimal effort.

9. Delete Old iOS Backups

Run the Finder. In the Go menu, select Go to Folder and enter ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/. Delete all outdated backups on your startup disk.

10. Restart Your Mac

Now restart your computer. No longer see the message that says “Your startup disk is almost full”? Then your disk should be fine.

Instead of going through all the above procedures, you can simply download Movavi Mac Cleaner and start working with it right away. This app will save you a lot of time and help you solve most startup disk problems.

Movavi Mac Cleaner

The best cleanup tool for every Mac user!

  • Delete junk files to free up hard drive space
  • Completely uninstall unnecessary apps
  • Protect your Mac against cyberthreats
  • Speed up system performance

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