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5 Ways to free up disk space on a Mac

Just when larger hard drives actually became affordable, SSDs came out. Since SSDs over 256 GB are still expensive, we now have disk space problems again. If you’re looking to free up disk space on a Mac you’re probably trying to avoid the “startup disk is almost full” error or maybe you’ve already encountered it.

Luckily, there are a few easy ways to free up disk space on a Mac that will help you get more storage in no time. The most basic method would be to empty your trash cans and uninstall the apps you’re not using anymore before anything else. But this is something everyone knows how to do and what if you have no apps to uninstall, you’ve already emptied the trash cans and you still don’t have enough space? Keep reading and you’ll fix the problem in no time!

How to free up disk space on a Mac

Before we go over the methods you can use to reclaim some storage space on your Macbook, you should know there are all-in-one apps that can do most of the work for you. CleanMyMac 3 is a good one – it allows you to delete extra language files, temporary files, files left behind app uninstalls, uninstall applications, detect and remove Mail attachments, and other cleanup related tasks. Just make sure you backup your data before running any cleaning app – you wouldn’t want to lose anything important.

Get rid of duplicate files

If you’ve been using your Mac for a while you’ve probably amassed quite a few duplicate files and just thinking about manually removing them can bring a headache. However, you don’t need to go through all that trouble since there are apps such as Gemini 2 that can automatically detect and remove duplicate items stored on your computer.

The official website offers a free trial for the app, but you can also find it on the App Store.

Remove temporary files

Temporary files are stored on practically any computer and Macs are no exception. The operating system does have a built-in function of automatically deleting temporary files but specialized third-party apps do a more thorough job and usually detect more items.

To remove temporary files from your Mac, one of the easiest solutions is to use the popular CCleaner. Yes, there’s also a Mac version of the app so not only Windows users get to reap the benefits.

When using CCleaner keep in mind that clearing the browser cache might free up more space but those files allow web pages you’ve previously visited to load faster on future visits. Until the cache is restored, you may experience slower web page load times.

Analyze disk usage

There’s always a chance you might have some files you don’t need anymore but take a lot of storage space. To see how disk space is allocated and what files take the most of it, you will need a disk analysis utility. Disk Inventory X does the job nicely, allowing you to view the largest files and folders on your Mac’s hard drive.

If some of the large files you find are still useful but you don’t access them very often it might be worth it to move them to an external hard drive or storage device. Also, don’t be tempted to delete system files because it might break the functionality of your OS.

Delete language files

Mac OS X apps include language files for all supported languages. Whatever language you use on your computer, it’s probably just one so you don’t really need the others. The language files can take up hundreds of MBs which you can free in no time.

A free app called Monolingual makes this exceptionally easy. Sure, those language files won’t free up GBs but if you have a small SSD on your Mac and are always running out of free space it’s worth removing them. You weren’t using them anyway.

Remove large attachments in Mail app

The Mail app can be a real storage-drainer. Depending on how long it’s been since you’ve last cleaned Mail attachment from your hard drive, they might end up taking GBs of space. Firstly, you can remove them using a cleanup tool.

On top of that, you should change the Mail app settings to not download attachments automatically. This way, you can manually save only the files you actually need and save space.

There are some of the easiest ways to free up disk space on a Mac. Of course, there are other methods. For example, macOS Sierra has some new features for managing storage. Open the menu, select “About This Mac” then switch to the Storage tab.

There, you can use the “Store in iCloud” option to store your Documents, Desktop, Photos, and videos in iCloud instead of using the local storage. There’s also an option called “Optimize Storage” that deletes the iTunes TV shows and movies after you’ve watched them. Finally, the “Empty Trash Automatically” feature is also useful since it will clean old items from the trash that have been stored there for a month.

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