How to Free Up Space on a Mac Hard Drive

Mac Hard Drive

When your Mac’s Hard Drive reaches storage capacity, it’s bad news for various reasons. First, you’ll have to contend with a nagging warning pop-up: “Your disk is almost full. Please delete some files.” This notification indicates that there’s not enough storage on your Mac hard drive.

Worse, if your Mac’s Hard drive runs low on space, you can only install so many applications and store files you require for day-to-day activities. A Hard Drive with limited space will ultimately slow down your system, so it’s best to consider cleaning it up.

In this blog, we’ll tell you more about Mac Hard Drive storage and how to free up space if your Hard Drive is full.

What is eating disk space on your Mac

Your Mac Hard Drive storage space is almost depleted because you store almost all the files you have on it. While nothing is wrong with that, the hard drive can’t hold everything you’ve downloaded or installed on your device.

MacBooks have varying capacities for their Hard Drives. The Hard Drive has a disk, also serving as the device’s startup disk. Ideally, your Mac converts the available space on the startup disk into virtual memory for day-to-day operations.

For your macOS to operate effectively, it must have 10% free space on the disk. So, if you’re running low on available disk space, your device will eventually run into problems. The good thing is that your Mac can show you how much storage space is being used.

You’ll see this by various categories of files and how much space is available for other files, both for macOS Ventura or earlier macOS versions. Here is how to check available disk space on macOS Ventura:

  1. Choose Apple menu
  2. Click on System Preferences
  3. Click General
  4. Click Storage.

For earlier macOS versions, go to the Apple menu and select About This Mac. Proceed to click Storage to check what’s eating up disk space. 

Mac Hard Disk

Some of the reasons your Mac hard drive is always full could be:

1. Accumulated system and application files

One common reason behind a full Hard drive on your Mac is the accumulation of system and application files. These are caches, logs, and temporary files created by your macOS and installed applications over time.

System and application files are vital for the smooth operation of your system. However, you need to look out for them as their accumulation consumes valuable space on your Hard drive.

2. Unused applications and their data

There are those applications you installed on your Mac but, later on, forgot about them. This means you have an app and its associated data you’re not using on your device. If left for long, these unused apps and their data can quickly eat up your Hard Drive space.

System updates and backups can also cause your Hard Drive space to run low. macOS periodically downloads system updates and creates backups, both of which take up substantial storage space gradually.

3. Large media files

Like most people, you have large files, such as photos and videos. One thing you need to know, however, is that these files can quickly accumulate and consume a significant portion of your Mac’s Hard Drive space.

For example, some large photos will exist with their duplicates, meaning you have extra photo files that you don’t need. One quick solution is to review your media libraries regularly and delete duplicate photos on your Mac that you no longer need.

4. Downloads and attachments

The Downloads folder on your Mac is a cluttered repository for files you’ve downloaded from the internet or received as email attachments. They increase over time and eat into a substantial amount of storage space on your Hard Drive.

Tips to free up storage space on your Mac hard drive

Before exploring all the options to free up hard disk space on your Mac, the first step you should take is to leverage your device’s built-in tools to optimize available storage space.

Access your Mac’s Storage tab from the System Settings to check the actions Apple recommends you take to maintain a clean Hard Disk drive. Also, consider the following steps to free up space on your Mac Hard Drive:

1. Uninstall unused applications

There’s a high chance that your Mac has numerous applications, some of which you’ve barely used. These unused apps take up most of the valuable space. If you’re certain you no longer need them, uninstalling them is the way to go.

Deleting or uninstalling unused apps will remove them from your Mac and provide storage space for other items. You can easily remove or uninstall an app you no longer need from Launchpad or the Finder.

However, be aware that simply uninstalling the app won’t remove hidden files like logs and crash reports. To completely rid your system of these remnants, you may need to delve deeper into your Mac’s operating system.

2. Remove duplicate files

Duplicate files are silent space eaters that stay on your device unnoticed. In most cases, these files will be mistaken for downloads or other attachments sent to you. And unless you’re too keen, duplicate files will turn up one way or another on your device.

They accumulate through various actions, such as downloading the same file multiple times or unintentionally copying files. While you can hunt down duplicates manually, this can be time-consuming.

For an easier route, consider employing a duplicate file finder tool. It’ll swiftly identify and help you delete these files, giving you back valuable storage.

3. Utilize cloud storage

Apple recommends using cloud storage to free up disk space on your Mac. One option provided is the Store in iCloud feature in the System Settings Storage tab. This move automatically shifts your Mac’s Desktop and Documents folders, photos, and messages to Apple’s iCloud.

Files are downloaded to your Mac only when you access them. This helps you save some available hard drive space for other files. Remember that iCloud provides 5 GB of free storage, which may not be sufficient for large or numerous files.

Still, Cloud storage will let you increase this capacity in seconds without updating any of your Mac’s hardware.

4. Delete old iOS backups

Some old IOS backups could take too much of your Hard Drive space if you regularly back up your iPhone or iPad to your Mac. While it’s wise to retain some of the recent backups for safety, you need to get rid of older backups to free up storage.

Delete your old iOS backup from your Mac to regain much of your lost Hard Drive space. Deleting them will also aid in optimizing your Mac and ensuring it performs optimally.

To get started:

  1. Go to Apple menu > System Preferences
  2. Click Apple ID > iCloud
  3. Click Manage, and select Backups

Mac Hard Disk 2

  1. Choose Delete.

Final thoughts

Maintaining your Hard Drive storage is among the first steps to ensure an optimized and well-functioning Mac.

By following these steps to free up storage space on a Mac hard drive, you’ll ensure that your device operates smoothly and efficiently without the constant struggle of low disk space. Make these practices a part of your routine and enjoy the benefits of a clutter-free system.

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