Tips to maximize your disk space on Mac

Boot disk full Mac

As a general rule, users are to store a multitude of things, with the foolishness of just in case I need it some day, until there comes a time when or Well you move house and go to live in a warehouse Or you start to throw away everything that you thought you would need one day but after several years you have realized that it was sovereign nonsense.

If we talk about our hard, the case is exactly the same. On more than one occasion, a document, image or video has been passed to us and we have copied them to our computer with the intention of enjoying it quietly, but cwith time we forget and it falls into oblivion until in the end it is one more file that is unnecessarily taking up space on our Mac.

But the same thing happens to us with images or videos that we download from the internet, but especially with movie videos. In recent years, the size of this type of video has been around 2 GB, a space that can be allocated without problems on our hard drive, when there are 2 or 3 movies, but if we start to unload all that falls into our hands left and right, our main hard drive will become a tangle of unnecessary files that over time will affect the performance of our Mac.

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In any operating system it is always advisable to have at least 10% free space so that the system works with ease without showing performance problems. And OS X is no exception. If we observe that our Mac begins to think things over more than once, we are going to have to take a look at the storage space and how it is distributed to get an idea of ​​where we have to pass the broom. To do this, click on the Apple menu > About this Mac> More information> Storage.

Full hard drive on Mac

This menu will show us how we have distributed the space on our Mac: videos, applications, photos, audio and others. As you can see in the image above, most of the hard drive are videos followed by that unknown person called Others, which is always so difficult to identify and is sometimes impossible. In this case, it is clear that if I need to make space on my Mac I will have to get rid of a large part of those videos, either by copying them to an external drive or deleting them if I really don't need them.

Free up space on your Mac hard drive

One of the many advantages that OS X offers us compared to Windows, is that from the Storage section we can see at all times what type of files are occupying the most space on our hard drive, so that if we have all our files well organized, we will quickly be able to quickly solve the space problems that are affecting our hard drive.

Delete iTunes backups

Although the latest versions of both iOS and iTunes are ensuring that it is not necessary to connect our devices to the Mac for almost nothing, always we need to connect it to make a backup of our device, be it iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, backup that will come in handy if we are going to jailbreak our device or even if we are going to update to a more modern version of iOS since during the process something may fail and we will have to have to restore our device from scratch and restore the backup with all the applications and information that we had stored in it.

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If we have multiple devices, these backups can take up a few gigabytes. If, as a general rule, we do not usually perform a clean installation of each new version of the operating system that Apple launches every year, but simply update it, it is likely that over the years, several devices and copies have passed through our hands security of the same are still stored in iTunes. Each backup can take up a few gigabytes, gigabytes that we can quickly free up by accessing the backup copies and deleting the one from the devices that are no longer in our possession.

Free up space on Mac by deleting copies of iTunes

To do this we must first open iTunes and in the upper menu iTunes click on Preferences. Next we go to Devices. In this section we will find the backup copies of our devices. If we find any that are no longer in our possession we simply have to click on it and select Delete backup.

Move information to external hard drives

Currently eThe price of external hard drives has dropped dramatically in recent years, and currently we can enter them for less than 100 euros, in capacities that exceed 2 TB. This is always the best solution if you need to work frequently with large files due to your profession and they are videos that you can delete.

The ideal is always to move them to the external drive when we have stopped working with them and we know that for a long period of time we will not need them, since otherwise the only thing we are going to do if we move them ahead of time is to waste a lot of time copying them from one unit to another.

Normally external hard drives are solid, not SSD, so working directly on the external drive may take a long time Although what we need to do is a small retouch but that finally forces us to export all the video again, in the event that we work with this type of files. If, on the other hand, we work mainly with photographs, we can edit it without problem directly from the external drive, even if it takes us a few seconds more.

Delete applications that we do not use

This is the endemic evil of every operating system. The mania of downloading applications to try to see what they do over time fill our hard drive with useless applications that we will never use again, since the main reason for downloading it was to take advantage of an offer or to check if it was useful for our purposes.

delete apps to free up space on Mac

To do this we just have to open the Launcher and go to where the application icon is. Then we just have to drag it to the Trash to uninstall it from our Mac. Or we can open the Finder, select the Applications folder from the right column and drag the application that we want to delete to the Trash. This method is useful if we want to delete applications that have been downloaded directly from the Mac App Store, but it is not useful for applications that we have downloaded from the internet.

In this case we are going to need applications that allow us to delete any application from the Mac, applications that as a rule are not in the Mac App Store but we have to go to third-party developers. In the Mac App Store we can find the Dr. Cleaner application that allows us to uninstall applications and whose operation is very simple, but sometimes it does not work as it should. Outside of the Mac App Other applications AppZapper y AppCleaner they are the ones that offer the best results when deleting any application.

Remove pre-installed languages


As a general rule, only use a single language on our Mac, but in case we need to change it, Apple installs a large number of languages ​​in case we need to change the language. These languages ​​occupy between 3 and 4 GB, a very valuable space that if we are short of space on our hard drive and there is no way to free up more space from other parts, it can become really valuable. For this we have to resort to the application monolingual, an application specifically created to remove the languages ​​that we do not use nor do we plan to use it in the future and thus be able to recover a few GB of storage.

What do I do with the space that "Others" occupies on my Mac?

Above we have discussed the option offered by the About this Mac function in which it shows us the different types of files that we have on our hard drive. The one who angers us the most is always the so-called "Others" above all when it occupies a very important part of our hard drive. This section includes the other files that cannot be classified into sections. As a general rule, this folder includes:

  • Items in OS X folders such as the System folder and caches.
  • Personal information such as calendar data, contacts and documents.
  • Extensions or application modules.
  • Multimedia files that the Spotlight search engine could not classify as such as they are located inside a package.
  • All files whose extension is not recognized by Spotlight.

In these cases, there is really little we can do, since these files are usually not visible in the folders we use often. If we want the space it is occupying is really important, we should consider the possibility of formatting the hard drive and perform a clean installation again, without backup copies that can drag these files classified as "Other"

Analyze the size of the files on your hard drive

Disk Inventory to free up space on Mac

Sometimes the storage problem of our hard drive can be more obvious than we might think. We may have a file, whatever the format, that is taking up more space than normal, or a folder that suspiciously occupies an incredible amount of gigabytes. To be able to analyze all the content of our hard drive and perhaps find a quick solution to our storage problems we can make use of Disk Inventory X, an application that will analyze our entire hard drive showing us the space that each folder occupies so that we will quickly be able to find out a possible problem with the space on our hard drive.

You just have to take into account the folders that we find inside the Users folder, which are where we store all the information. The rest of the Applications, Systems ... folders belong to the system and we should not enter them at any time lest we end up causing a major failure in the system that forces us to reinstall the operating system again.

Clear browsing history

The browsing history is simply text, without any formatting, so the size that it can occupy on our Mac is practically negligible. This option is recommended if we are having problems when loading a page in the browser and we cannot get the updated data to be displayed.

clear cache on Mac

Clear the cache of the browsers we use

Unlike the browsing history, the cache can occupy an important part of our hard drive, since they are files that speed up the loading of the pages that we usually consult, so that you only have to load the data that has changed, as is usually the text, not the entire page, which is stored in the cache of our browser. To perform this task quickly and in all browsers we can make use of applications such as CleanMyMac, which in a few seconds eliminate any residue from the cache of our browsers.

Delete temporary files

Temporary files are another of the endemic evils of all operating systems. No operating system natively offers us an automatic system that is dedicated to periodically erase these types of files that we only use once, mainly when we update the operating system to a new, more updated version. Over time these files come to occupy real barbarities of space on our Mac and by deleting them we can obtain a large amount of space on our hard drive.

To erase them, we can use applications such as CleanMyMac, which we have already mentioned in the previous point and which also allows us to erase the cache and history of all the browsers that we use on our Mac. Another application that also allows us to quickly erase these types of files is Dr. Cleaner from the manufacturer TREND Micro

Find duplicate files

Sometimes it is likely that we download files, movies or music that are already on our Mac more than once and that we store them in other folders, believing that we did not have them on our hard drive. Over time duplicate files they can become a real nightmare on our hard drive due to the large size they can occupy. In the Mac App Store we can find a large number of applications that allow us to locate and delete duplicate files found on our Mac.

Check the Downloads folder

The download folder is the place where all the files that we download from the internet are stored, either via a p2p application or through messaging applications, email or any other type. As a general rule, once we have downloaded the file we need, we usually move it to the folder where we want to store it, or if it is an application, we install it quickly. In this case, it is very likely that we later forget to delete the application that we have downloaded and it will take up valuable space for our hard drive.

Empty the trash

Empty trash to empty hard drive

Although it may seem absurd, many are the users who forget the trash, that place where we send all the files that we want to completely eliminate from our hard drive. But they are not really removed until we empty it completely so after having carried out a thorough cleaning of useless files from our hard drive, it is advisable to empty it completely if we really want to check how much space we have left on our hard drive, in case we have to continue cleaning or if we have obtained enough space to be able to calmly return to work with our Mac without problems of space or performance.

Change hard drive

Although it may seem like an absurd solution, if our hard drive becomes small at the first changes we should be thinking about expanding its storage space. The ideal is change it for an SSD that offers us a much faster writing and reading speed than classic 7.200 rpm hard drives. The price of these hard drives has dropped a lot in recent months and we can currently find capacities of 500 GB for just over 100 euros.

But if those 500 GB seem small and we have money to spend on a 1 or 2 TB SSD, these models are much more expensive than traditional hard drives, we can make a significant investment to streamline operation and expand storage. . But if our economy is not so buoyant, we will have to resort to one of 500 GB and buy external drives of the capacity we need, to always have at hand all the files that we have to consult from time to time but we must have them at a click of the mouse. In addition, that same unit can be used to make copies with Time Machine and we kill two birds with one stone.

Manage storage through macOS Sierra


One of the novelties that macOS Sierra has brought us, apart from changing the name of OS X to macOS, is the storage manager, which allows us in a few seconds check what type of files we can delete due to their age, why we don't use them, because they are duplicates... This option in theory is very good but like other applications that promise to do the same, you have to be very careful with them and not trust them fully, since it can perform a brutal cleaning on our hard drive without showing us what type of files plans to delete to get extra space on our hard drive.

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  1.   Mariana said

    I delete all my videos entering all the documents, however when I check the storage of the boot disk it is seen that they continue to occupy all my space, where are they saved? or how do I delete them from the boot disk

    1.    raquelsmm said

      Exactly the same thing happens to me, I deleted all the videos from the PHOTOS app that were like 900 something, and still barely under what it occupied. Then I remembered the iPhoto app that I still have installed and there I had a lot of photos and videos, I deleted them from there and after the iPhoto trash and after the dock trash. and there already free enough, but even so I continue to occupy what more and no longer have more to look. I have also deleted the videos from the dropbox folder of google drive. I run out of ideas.
      see if they can help us.

  2.   raquelsmm said

    I have deleted all the sites and apps that I can think of that can store videos that I have used previously such as photos, iPhoto, dropbox, googledrive, ... but even so I still have many GB occupying the memory of the startup disk.
    Can anybody help me???

  3.   Mariano said

    hello, I have Sierra installed on my mac pro ... I have uploaded a file to iCloud and deleted from the mac a file that I need to run a program ... I try to download it again but it tells me that I don't have disk space ...
    I have already followed all the steps and I have deleted programs and photos from the mac but I still have the problem of space ...
    any solution?

  4.   elizabeth said

    The same thing happens to me with the subject of the videos, I don't have one and it says that I have about 20GB. What solution is there for this?