Are your mac programs running slow?
Have you gotten the dreaded warning:
‘Your disk is almost full’ ?
Perhaps you’re collecting ‘Thin Man’ movies, or making 20 minute iphone videos, like me?
And of course, who doesn’t love their iTunes, photos and podcasts?
Well, it all adds up really fast, and unless you do some regular “housekeeping” you’re probably carrying around a bunch of extra gigs.
So, you go about deleting files. But, where’s it all hiding?
And what about those other trash bins?
Here’s a checklist of the top 12 ways to free up storage.
Part of it is knowing where to look. And once you know, you’ll be able to manage your disk space, improve speeds and have a nice clean hard drive!
First, get an overview.
To see how your storage is allocated, first check your system settings: under the apple menu > About this mac > Storage > It may take a while to calculate, but you’ll see an overview of what you have, including music, apps, documents, photos, iTunes, and “Other”. Click the “Manage” button, where you’ll have choices to optimize your storage, using iCloud, “Clear Clutter”, turn on “Empty Trash Automatically.”
When you’ve turned on “Optimize Mac Storage”, the “Storage” tab shows your purgeable content. Purgeable content represents storage space that your Mac can automatically make available when needed. Files considered purgeable can always be downloaded again on demand.
You can read more about these options here.
You can also get a storage overview by using the finder> Go > Home to see where the big files are, such as movies.
1. Delete files and folders from “Other” Storage.
This category of files called “Other” could easily be kidnapping disk space. “Other” includes a number of different file types, such as documents, cache files, app plugins, and OS system files.
Manually remove documents by doing the following:
• From your desktop press Command + F.
• Click This Mac.
• Click the first dropdown menu field and select “Other”.
• From the Search Attributes window tick File Size and File Extension.
Here you can input different document file types (.pdf, .pages, etc.) and file sizes to find large documents.
Have a look at the items and delete as needed.
You can read more about deleting “Other” Storage here.
2. Delete cache and temporary files.
Caches and temporary files include a variety of things like browser history, browser cache, app specific temp files, incomplete downloads, messaging cache, to name a few.
Check your Library cache by going to Go > Go to the Folder: > /Library/Caches. Right click on folders to check for sizes, and delete large folders.
Then, do it again >Go- except this time, to ~/Library/Caches
(this symbol ~ gets you to a different inventory of files!)
Again, delete large folders, but carefully!
The reason why is that, it’s hard to know how much space some folders take up and whether they can be deleted without an application or system freezing or even crashing.
But there are many folders in the cache library that can be tossed to increase your storage.
Please keep in mind that clearing your browser cache is not necessarily what you want to do. The cache has files that help web pages load faster and this will actually slow down your web page load times, at first.
The safest way to delete cache is with a third party cleaning application.
You can use a cleaning utility such as:
MacClean (subscription based at $19.99 per year)
App Cleaner (free)
Clear Disk ($8.99 in the app store)
3. Delete files from your iTunes.
Many file types reside here, from music to voice memos, podcasts, movies, and mp3s.
These can be moved to an external drive, or backed up on the cloud to free up space.
Here is also where you can delete backups of your iPhone
Check your iTunes podcasts subscriptions and their settings.
Auto-downloads may be adding to your storage woes.
Check your videos and voice memos- often stored in music. These could also be deleted after being copied to an external drive.
4. Delete files from your Downloads folder.
This is where a lot of files hide out, including the zip files, extensions, photos, mp3s.
Keep in mind these are copies of your downloads.
Anything you don’t want can be dragged (or right clicked) to the trash.
This may seem like a ‘no-brainer’, but if you haven’t checked it for a while, many mgs could be just hanging there.
You may be prompted about something that’s in use, in which case, skip over.
Go to your downloads folder and select “Cover Flow” if your looking for duplicate files.
5. Delete photos from iphoto.
Consider backing up/transferring your photos to Google, which can take days or even weeks, depending. The interface and the way they are sorted is also very different.
Read more about how to do that here.
6. Delete unused applications.
Check your applications folder to identify old or unused apps. The apps themselves that live in the Applications folder are actually bundles of many files all packaged together. To launch an app just double-click on an app’s icon – or click once if it’s in the Dock.
To uninstall an application in macOS, just drag it to the Trash.
In most circumstances, there’s no need to do anything else.
There are exceptions to this, such as Microsoft and Adobe apps, which can have a multitude of lingering artifacts, and act quite unruly.
Antivirus software can also be difficult to uninstall.
More information on that is available here.
You can also consider using a cleaner app to remove system junk and empty all those other trash bins. Here’s one called CleanMyMac (free of charge).
It removes all that junk while giving you a color coded in depth look at each portion of files. Download the app, open and click “F “Dashboard” in the upper right. The graph is much like the mac, but with some added features. Double clicking on any portion will give you a finder window showing all the contents of your file folders. It also has a module called CleanMyMac’s Large & Old Files, which lets you review big files you haven’t opened for a while and choose which to archive and which to toss.
Reviewing your applications folder every once in a while is a great habit to have!
7. Delete files from your Preference Library for the applications you’ve thrown out in #7.
In Finder, click on the Go dropdown menu in the top bar, and with the menu showing, press and hold the Option key. The Library option will appear between Home and Computer. There you’ll see libraries for applications you’ve deleted.
8. Empty all your trash bins.
Your primary one, in the Finder> Empty Trash.
But also, Mail, iPhoto, iMovie all have their own trash bins. To empty them, right click the trash option in that application and select Empty Trash.
Please keep in mind you don’t want to delete any system files.
9. Delete large emails.
Sort by size, and delete emails with large attachments. Do this in both your inbox, and sent folders, and on all your email programs.
Remember to empty the trash bin inside your email program, and then, in Mac Mail, go to Mailbox >erase deleted items, and > Erase Junk mail.
10. Remove language files.
This is somewhat tedious and may not result in a measurable difference in performance as the files are not that large. But there are a lot of them. An easier way to delete languages is to try monolingual.
11. Delete downloaded .dmg files.
Once you’ve installed the applications inside them, you’re free to toss them, since they’re useless after the program is installed. (Just like program installers on Windows.)
12. Remove duplicate files.
Go to your downloads folder and select Cover Flow if your looking for duplicate files.
This can be a tedious process to do by hand, but there are utility applications that do it automatically.
Here’s one called Gemini2.
Deleting duplicate files in iTunes:
Open the iTunes app.
Click on File > My Library > Show Duplicates.
Click on ‘All’ to view the duplicate track listing, click ‘Same Album’ to show duplicated songs from a specific album.
Control how you view- by name, album artist- by holding down the Control key and clicking on the columns. Make sure there is a tick next to them. Click on the name column to see duplicates next to each other.
I always learn a lot writing these posts and this was no exception. At last count I’d taken back almost 20 gigs of storage on my mac by following my own advice!
I hope you find this helpful.
If you have other ways of freeing up disk space, please let me know!