4 Ways to Free Up Disk Space on Your Mac

The current line-up of Apple’s Mac computers is great across the board, but if one criticism can be leveled is that storage capacity on hard drives is on the small side. The move to Solid State Drives (SSD) did vastly improve performance but did nothing to increase disk space, in some cases reduced disk space. It can be argued that using Apple’s iCloud does mitigate the problem somewhat, however, when Mac is used for work and personal use, the disk space can be taken up quickly.

How to Free Up Disk Space on Your Mac

Before you begin your quest to rid your Mac of unwanted files and applications it is wise to first check how much disk space is available and what is hogging all the storage space. This is a simple test that can tell you a lot about how storage is being used, so knowing how to check mac storage should be the first step. Checking storage availability requires the user to navigate to the Menu bar, click on the Apple logo, and then select About this Mac.

Free Up Disk Space on Mac

Once that is completed select Storage and you will be presented with a graphical representation of your hard drive, including how much space is left and what is taking up space currently. From here you can click the manage button that will give a host of options but more on this later.

Method 1: Removing Unwanted and Large Files

Once you have an idea of what has laid claim to all your disk space, it becomes far easier to see what large and unwanted files you can remove. This doesn’t have to be permanent, if you want the files for prosperity you can send them to an external storage device, there are several great options available to Mac users in this regard.

That way at least they are not lost for good. While doing this you don’t want to delete any important system files. For that reason, it is important to know where these unwanted files are likely to be and, in most cases, they can be found under /Users/name with the name being the username.

Method 2: Uninstall Unwanted Applications

All the applications you download and install take up space. Some of them take up a lot of space. To generate a list of the applications currently installed on the device, open Finder and select Applications on the left-hand side in the sidebar.

Uninstall Unwanted Applications on Mac

To display in a list format, click the “Show Items in List” format button, these can then be arranged by size helping you see exactly how much space each one takes up.

Method 3: Empty the Trash

Debates still rage as to whether traditional storage drives or SSDs are better, these debates center around speed and longevity. For the average user, the debate seems meaningless when they cannot install important updates. When a disk is full it is exactly that, and the trash can might be taking up a significant amount of that disk space. Files found in Finder and the deleted are moved to the Trash Can, of which Macs may have several, but are not completely removed from the machine. 

To find the relevant trash can, namely, the user’s main trash can, right-click on the trash can icon found in the Dock and select “empty trash can”. Certain applications have their own trash cans, including iPhoto, iMovie, and Mail. These can also be emptied in a similar way to the above example.

Method 4: Using the Storage Tools in Sierra

To conclude, above we hinted at how several tools found in the same place you check your disk space can help reduce your disk’s clutter. The first of which is “Store in iCloud”, the feature allows you to store items found on your Desktop or in Documents, Photos, and videos to your iCloud account. This not only is a handy tool for backing up important data but can help alleviate your disk’s storage limits.

“Optimize Storage” allows you to delete movies and TV series purchased on iTunes. As many of these are rendered in high definition, they take up significant portions of space. This still means you can download later as you did purchase them but at least they are not taking precious space. Lastly, “Reduce Clutter” finds the biggest files on your Mac and deletes them.