How to Free Up Disk Space on Mac – A Comprehensive Guide


Running out of disk space on a Mac is a common problem that can affect system performance and cause files to load slowly or corrupt. With so many files and applications stored on our devices, it’s easy to reach the limit of storage capacity. Fortunately, there are many ways to free up space on a Mac without deleting precious data. This article explores six strategies to clear up disk space on a Mac, including cleaning out unused files, using built-in tools, using cloud storage, investing in external storage, optimizing settings and preferences, and cleaning up temporary files.

Clean out unused applications and files

One of the easiest ways to free up disk space on a Mac is by deleting large files, unused applications, and downloads that are no longer needed. The first step is to identify what’s taking up the most space on a Mac. You can do this by selecting “About This Mac” from the Apple menu and clicking on the “Storage” tab. This displays the amount of space used by categories such as applications, documents, and media.

For unused applications, simply drag them to the trash can and empty it. It’s important to note that some applications leave behind small files that can add up to a significant amount of space. Reviewing your folders, such as downloads and documents, is also essential to make sure you’re only keeping what you actually need. Though cleaning out files and applications can be a daunting task, it comes with plenty of benefits like improving system performance and faster file searches.

Use built-in Mac tools

Mac offers built-in tools that can help users identify and manage storage usage. One of these is the Storage Management tool. To access it, go to the Apple menu > About This Mac > Storage > Manage. Storage Management displays specific categories such as documents or photos, allowing you to review each one, delete any files you no longer need, and determine how much space you can free up.

Another built-in feature is the Optimize Storage. This feature removes iTunes files, TV shows, and movies that users have already watched, freeing up disk space. This is a convenient option as you don’t have to manually delete the files. To use this feature, go to the Apple menu > About This Mac > Storage and choose “Optimize.”

Use cloud storage and syncing

Cloud storage and syncing bring a lot of convenience in terms of freeing up disk space. Services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and iCloud can be used to store files online, freeing up space on your device. These services offer high-end security features and make accessing files convenient from different devices. Moreso, syncing files between your Mac and cloud storage is unherculean making this option a great choice for users who work with large files.

However, relying solely on cloud storage has potential drawbacks such as internet connectivity issues and the need to pay for storage beyond a certain point. Therefore, it’s important to consider which cloud storage option best suits your needs and the cost associated with the storage.

Invest in external storage

For users who need extensive storage capacity beyond what’s available internally, external storage is a great option. Users can utilize an external hard drive or USB storage device to back up large files. Cognizantly, the external drive needs to be formatted before use, and it is worthwhile investing in compatible models. Affordably, this option gives users the opportunity to have more space for their data, but the reliability of these devices needs to be properly considered.

Optimize settings and preferences

Another way to free up space on a Mac is by tweaking the settings and preferences. It is essential to change preferences for files you work on so that they’re saved on external drives or moved to the cloud which will save on space. Automatic downloads can quickly occupy disk space thus disabling them will free up more space. Time Machine backups can also take up a lot of space, but by toggling Time Machine preferences, the impact of System storage can be reduced.

Clean up temporary and cache files

Temporary files and cache data contribute to the crowded disk space. It is essential to keep tabs on them regularly. To effectively clean up temporary files, explore the Library folder in the Users folder to see the files occupying space. However, care should be taken when deleting cache files of specific apps because deleting these files risks losing important data.


In summary, free up disk space on a Mac by cleaning out unused files, using built-in tools, using cloud storage, investing in external storage, optimizing settings and preferences, and cleaning up temporary files. There are many effective ways to clear up valuable storage space and improve system performance without losing important data. Encourage readers to take the next step towards freeing up space on their Mac by implementing these strategies.

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