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How to Clear Disk Space on Mac

Ever had a problem with insufficient free space on your MacBook Air, Pro, Mini, or iMac? No matter which model you’re using, there may come a time when your Mac just won’t be able to squeeze in any more information. Some hard drives have only 128 GB of storage, which makes it even harder to find space for new files. Also, a lot of useless data you’re probably unaware of accumulate on your computer over time. So, how to free up space on your Mac? We’re going to give you a few ways to clear storage while still holding onto all the files you need.

How to Check Free Space on Mac

To review how much free space you actually have, go to Apple > About This Mac in the upper left corner of the top menu. Click the Storage tab (on earlier OS X versions, click More Info and then Storage).

9 Ways to Clear Space on Mac

There are quite a few ways to clean up space on your Mac.

1. Clean Out Your Hard Drive from the Storage Summary

In the Storage tab (Apple > About This Mac, see above), click the Manage button. Another window will open in which you’ll see system recommendations on how to clean up the hard drive on your Mac: Store in iCloud, Optimize Storage, Empty Trash Automatically, and Reduce Clutter.

  • If you want to move the original versions of your files and photos to the external iCloud drive, click Store in iCloud and choose the appropriate option. Note that only 5 GB of iCloud storage is available to Mac users for free. You can buy more space directly through your device for a monthly fee – see the full price list here. To free up more storage, you can also delete the smaller versions of the photos and videos on your Mac – the originals will still be kept in the cloud.
  • If you want to automatically delete iTunes films and TV shows you’ve already seen as well as remove email attachments, click Optimize in the Optimize Storage section and select the appropriate option.
  • In the Empty Trash Automatically section, click Turn On to automatically erase files that have been in the Trash for more than 30 days.
  • In the Reduce Clutter section, click Review Files to identify old and large files that you may no longer need. Move the cursor over the name of an unwanted file and click the Cross icon to permanently delete it.

2. Remove Unneeded Photos

Go to your Photo library and delete the photos you no longer need. You can also transfer copies to an external drive, a virtual disk, or to your Dropbox storage. Another alternative is to use iCloud (see above). Don’t forget to check the Aperture and iPhoto libraries – delete them if you’re not planning to use them. Find and delete any other libraries that contain unwanted photos.

3. Remove Watched Videos

Go to your iTunes library and delete the movies and TV shows you’ve already watched. Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to stream them via iTunes.

You can also subscribe to iTunes Match – a paid service that lets you access your iTunes content from the Apple servers without having to store it locally.

4. Delete Large and Old Files

You can find large and old files and folders that clutter up your Mac and clear them up. The best way to do this is to download a program like Movavi Mac Cleaner. Just install and launch Mac Cleaner. After the initial scanning process is complete, click the Large and Old Files option, then check the boxes next to the files you want to erase and click Remove.

If you need to keep some of these large files or folders, you can compress them by using the Compress option in the Finder on your Mac.

5. Delete Duplicate Files

To automatically find any duplicate files you may have on your Mac, use a hard drive cleaner like the Movavi app. For more information, read our guide on how to remove duplicate files on Mac.

6. Clear Temporary Files

Clear your Mac’s cache and log files to free up more space. You can do this with Movavi Mac Cleaner – just read our guide on how to clear your Mac’s cache.

7. Empty the Downloads Folder and the Trash

Go to the Downloads folder and remove any accumulated files you don’t need, then empty the Trash.

Note that the Movavi space cleaner has an option to empty all the trash bins on your Mac’s logical disks.

8. Get Rid of Unnecessary Apps

Removing applications you no longer use can also help you free up a lot of hard disk space. Check out our guide on how to uninstall apps from your Mac. In the guide, you’ll also find information on how to get rid of app leftovers, using Movavi Mac Cleaner.

9. Reduce Localizations

Delete localizations you don’t need – you can do this easily with Movavi Mac Cleaner. Launch the app and click the Cogwheel button in the lower right corner. Check the Unused languages box and hit Start Cleaning. You can also specify which localizations you want to remove by clicking Choose languages.

Now you know how to clear space on Mac. As a reminder, here are the key takeaways:

  • Compress large files if you still need them
  • Take advantage of external hard drives, virtual disks, and Apple cloud services
  • Use Movavi Mac Cleaner to delete everything you don’t need and take other actions to optimize your storage

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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