What to Do When Your Mac’s Hard Disk Space Runs Out
Experts estimate that by 2025, the world will create 463 exabytes of data each day. In bytes, 463 exabytes is equivalent to 463, followed by 18 zeroes.
Those figures should tell you just how easy it is to max out your Mac’s hard disk space. After all, most Mac computers only have built-in disk drives with capacities ranging from 128 GB to 512 GB. Granted, you have options for 1 TB to 8 TB, but these are far more expensive than the typical Mac.
Fortunately, there are simple ways to free up local storage space in your Mac. We outlined the easiest o\nes below, so be sure to keep reading.
Determine What’s Eating Up Your Mac Storage
To free up storage space in your Mac, it’s best to know what types of files eat up your hard drive space. This way, you can start removing files or applications based on how big their consumption is.
To view your available and used storage space, click on the Apple logo at the upper-left corner of the screen. Next, select the first option labeled About This Mac.
On the new window that pops up, click the Storage tab. Here, you’ll find a status bar that would then show different colored segments after a few seconds. Each section within that bar is an estimation of the storage space used by different apps and file types.
Hovering your pointer over each section reveals the type of files or apps for that section. For example, you may see each segment labeled iOS files, Apps, Messages, Photos, and Others, or systems. Either way, the longer the section, the more space those files use. You should also see how much space each segment uses in actual MB or GB.
Uninstall Unneeded or Unused Applications
Software applications, AKA apps, can take up anywhere from a few MB’s to hundreds of GB’s each.
To give you an idea, some of the latest computer games can eat up more than a hundred to over 200 GB of storage! What’s more, that’s per game, so if you install even just one of these, you’ll run out of space soon, even if your Mac is new.
Fortunately, you can determine which apps hog the most space in your Mac using Finder. Once you have a Finder window open, select the Applications tab on the left pane. Then, click the View button and choose the “as List” option to reveal more details about each app.
Next, hit the Size tab to organize the list from the biggest files down to the smallest. Then, starting from the top, go through the list to see if there are any apps you don’t use. Then, to delete such programs, double-tap their field and choose Move to Trash.
To delete multiple apps at the same time, highlight one app first and then press the command (⌘) button. Keep holding the ⌘ button and then click on the names of the other apps you want to remove. Doing this highlights all the chosen apps.
From there, you can then double-tap on any area of the highlighted fields. Then, click Move to Trash to delete all those apps.
Find and Delete Duplicate Files
Duplicate files can either be accidental or intentional. For example, you may create accidental duplicates if you download the same files a few times. As for intentional duplicates, they often get created due to multiple backups.
Either way, you’d want to get rid of duplicates as each one uses the same amount of Mac hard disk space as the original. So, if your original files consume 10 GB of space and each has a duplicate, then together, they’re using 20 GB of space.
Your Mac’s Smart Folders feature offers a manual method of removing duplicate files. However, it’s very time-consuming, especially if you have hundreds or thousands of duplicates.
Your quickest option is to use a third-party duplicate file management app. The software programs Gemini 2, Duplicate Sweeper, and dupe Guru are some examples. These apps not only look for all duplicates; you can also use them to delete the copies you don’t need.
Empty Your Trash Folder
Even if you’ve deleted all unneeded files and apps, they’d still use up space in your Mac’s Trash folder. They’d stay there for the next 30 days unless you manually empty the folder.
That may sound tedious, but it can be helpful if you delete stuff by accident. Accidental deletions, in turn, are common; a 2019 survey found that 65.1% of participants lost data due to them.
So, before you carry out a permanent deletion, go through the Trash folder list at least once. Make sure you don’t have any file there that you’d rather not lose. Only after this should you hit the Empty button on the upper right-hand corner of the window.
Take Advantage of i Cloud File Storage
Another way to free up space in your Mac’s hard disk drive is to move some of your files to i Cloud file storage. So long as you have an Apple ID account, you already have 5 GB of i Cloud space for free.
If you need more space, you can upgrade your i Cloud account for $0.99 a month to get 50 GB of cloud storage. You can also opt for a 200 GB plan for only $2.99 a month. The last option is a 2 TB package, which costs $9.99 a month, and is ideal for family sharing.
Once you’ve enabled i Cloud on your Mac, you can start moving your files to your i Cloud Drive. To do this, open a Finder window and go to the folder where you have files you want to move. Highlight the files and then drag and drop them into the i Cloud Drive field on the left pane of the Finder window.
You can then organize your i Cloud files later on by creating folders inside i Cloud Drive. From there, you can drag and drop the files into their new folders.
Time to Free up Hard Disk Space in Your Mac
Always keep in mind that the less hard disk space you have available in your Mac, the slower your device would get. Worse, your Mac may end up being unable to download and install critical mac-OS updates. This can then put your entire system at risk of malware or even failure.
So, as early as now, start clearing up space in your Mac’s hard drive. Besides, doing so means you’ll have more space for essential new apps and files.
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