How To Clean Out System Storage On Mac

Posted on  by admin

What is taking up space on my Mac?

  1. Clean Up Storage On Mac
  2. How To Clean Up System Storage On Mac Mojave

There comes a time in every computer's life when it is full of files and programs, slowing it down so much that its owner searches for an article such as this in order to cure it of these ailments (before it gets thrown out the window!).

Worry not, you're in the right place. This article will take you through 8 steps which will free up space on your Mac - removing unneeded files and clearing space for the stuff you actually need.

No matter if you're tech savvy or not, anyone can use these tips to breathe new life into their Mac.

To find out how much space is available on your Mac:

  1. Open the Apple menu (the Apple icon in the top-left corner of your screen).
  2. Click 'About this Mac'.
  3. Click 'Storage'.

This overview will show what categories are taking up the most space, as well as how much space is available on your Mac.

  1. Just go to Finder and click on the Apple icon About this Mac Storage Manager. Here, you can enable the Optimize Storage option to remove the iTunes movies and shows that you have already watched. There is also an option for 'Reduce Clutter' that you can turn on. This will organize your Mac and get rid of the documents you no longer need.
  2. How to Clean Mac System Storage. We know that the Mac system is intelligent, but at some point, you will see the running out of storage notification. And ultimately, your Mac performance will degrade. There are many data files that occupy an ample space on the storage without being detected.
  3. From the Menu bar, select the ‘apple logo”. Click on the ‘about the Mac’ button and then choose Storage. Now select the ‘Manage’ and then enable the ’empty trash automatically’ option.
  4. It’s recommended that you keep at least 15-20% of your Mac’s memory free to keep it running smoothly. Optimizing storage is an efficient way to do this. But there are also several other steps you can take to free up space on MacBook Air, Pro, or any other macOS device.

Launch the Terminal application in any of the following ways: ☞ Enter the first few letters of its name into a Spotlight search. Select it in the results (it should be at the top.) ☞ In the Finder, select Go ▹ Utilitiesfrom the menu bar, or press the key combination shift-command-U.

The 8 sections below address the biggest culprits of space-hogging on your Mac and how to clean them up.

Jump straight to:

1. Mac OS Storage Management

The first port of call when making space on your Mac is to see what tools your Mac offers you for such a task.

If your Mac is running macOS Sierra or later, it has great built-in tools for managing files and optimizing storage. To access these tools, click the apple icon in the top-left corner of your screen > About this Mac > Storage > Manage…

As you can see this is also how to check storage on Mac. The tool shows a breakdown of the storage space taken up on your Mac by media such as Apps, Books, Photos and others.

Let's have a look at each tool to see how it can help:

  • Store in iCloud: Quickly store files (Documents, Photos and Messages) from your Mac in iCloud. When considering how to clear space on Mac, getting rid of files quickly springs to mind- However, if you need to keep the files, you can just move them to an external hard drive, or into iCloud!

    Enabling this option will allow your Mac to automatically save space when it’s needed.

    This is great as you’ll be able to access your files on any device using your Apple ID. However, if you have a large number of files, you’ll need to purchase more storage space than your allotted free amount (5GB)- obviously, depending on the amount of space you need, this can quickly become an expensive option.

  • Optimize Storage: For those who download and watch lots of movies and TV, this option can save you a lot of space and a lot of time. Enabling this option will allow your Mac to automatically remove such files (which can be HUGE depending on their length and quality) once you have watched them.
  • Empty Trash Automatically: Similar to the above, enabling this option allows the automatic removal of files, saving you time and space without having to keep on top of it manually. This will remove items in your Trash after 30 days of them being there. Be aware that once files have been removed from your Trash, you will not be able to retrieve them.

    Side note: Many points in this article will advise the removal of unwanted files from your Mac. However, these files are not completely removed from your computer until you empty the Trash (the space is not regained until they are removed from Trash). You can manually empty it by clicking the Trash Can icon in your dock, then clicking 'Empty'.

  • Reduce Clutter: Find large and unused files on your Mac and delete them from your system. You’ll need to delete them manually, but it’s well worth it if you can remove files that you do not use.

    Navigate to files that you don't need using the 'Large Files' or 'Downloads' sorters, then hit 'Delete...'. Note that this action will bypass sending the item to Trash, so it's permanent.
    If you're finding unwanted files using the 'File Browser' tab, you'll need to right-click > 'Move To Trash'.

How To Clean Out System Storage On Mac

2. Find Duplicate Files Mac

The quickest way to free up space on your Mac is to automatically remove files that you don’t need. Without realizing it, you can accumulate gigabytes worth of duplicate files and folders on your computer.

The problem is that it can take so much time to find and delete these duplicates that people do not bother to do it even if they want to.

Luckily, you can use an app like Duplicate Sweeper to do this for you.

Duplicate Sweeper: Easily scan your Mac for duplicate files and photos. You can then select and remove duplicates based on your preferences. In this way you can keep your newest version of files and remove all duplicates with a click of a button.

In the example below, I was able to remove over 6000 files with one-click. This freed up 2.3 GB of space on my MacBook. Imagine manually going through and comparing 6000 files without Duplicate Sweeper... it would have taken forever!

How To Clean Out System Storage On Mac

For more information about Duplicate Sweeper, or to download the free trial:

Duplicate Sweeper homepage

Try Duplicate Sweeper free ▼

Receive an email with a link so you can download the free trial on your computer:

Note: We respect your privacy. We won't share your Email address with anyone else, or send you spam.

3. Unused Apps- Uninstall Programs on Mac

One of the biggest areas you should consider when looking at how to free up space on Mac is your Apps. Maybe unsurprisingly, apps on your Mac can be some of the largest files on your computer. Removing apps that you don’t use can free up a huge amount of space. Let’s list your apps by their files size:

Open Finder, then open the Applications section. Display the items as a list (using the button with 4 horizontal lines), then click the ‘Size’ header to reorder your applications by size. You can then work down the list and decide which applications you don’t use. Simply drag an application from the list into the Trash Can on your Dock to remove them.

Remember that you’ll need to empty your Trash Can to completely remove the applications from your Mac.

4. Clean up media and downloads

The quality of media like photo and video is constantly improving. Unfortunately, this usually means that the corresponding files are bigger than they used to be.

For this reason, your saved media could be a great place to free up some of that precious storage on your Mac.

Open Finder and look through your Pictures, Movies and Music folders. If there is media there that you don't want, select it and move it to Trash to get rid of later. If you prefer to delete this media from the associated apps like Photos and iMovie, see how to empty their trash.

It is also recommended to check your Downloads file for unwanted files too.

This folder can receive copious amounts of files downloaded from multiple sources. Many of these files you may have only needed to read or use once.

You can get to your Downloads folder by opening a Finder window and clicking the 'Downloads' header.

Again, select whatever files you don't need, then right-click > Move to Trash/Bin.

Extra: Zipped / Archived files

If you receive a zipped file (with the .zip extension), opening it will unzip the file or folder and create the files in a non-zipped form.

This will create files that you can use, but it will not remove the (now unneeded) zip file. If you've already unzipped, you can delete the .zip file.

On the flip side, you can use file archiving to compress files or folders that you don't use regularly.

Say you have a folder of documents that you only need to save for safekeeping; right-click the folder in Finder and click 'Compress [file/folder name]'. This will compress the files and create a .zip file.

Don't forget to delete the original, uncompressed folder in order to save the space!

5. Delete iTunes backups

Depending on the number of files, photos, messages etc that you have stored on your iPhone, iPod or iPad, it’s backup on your Mac can be huge.

Keeping backups of your devices is a good idea. If something was to happen to your device, your data can be restored to it (or another device) using your backup. However, these backup files can be massive, and you may never need them! For this reason, consider backing up your devices to iCloud instead – freeing up space on your Mac.

To set your device to backup to iCloud, go to Settings > (your name) > iCloud > iCloud Backup.
To initiate a backup, connect your device to a power source and also to a Wi-Fi network. Lastly, ensure that your device screen is locked and that you have enough free space in iCloud to store the backup.

How to delete backups on Mac - You can also delete the backups which you already have stored on your Mac. To do this, open iTunes and go to iTunes > Preferences > Devices. If you don’t need the backups in the list, select and delete them!

Find out: where are iTunes backups stored?

Alternatively, if you don’t want to use iCloud for backing up your data, or if you only need certain data from your backups, you could use iBackup Extractor. This handy tool allows you to access and browse your backups, and extract any important photos, messages etc. that you need. You can save this data to your computer, then delete the backup from iTunes as seen above!

6. How to Delete Temporary Files on Mac

Some of the most common questions asked are 'how to clear cache on mac' and 'how to delete cookies on mac'. Well, let's answer those for you!

Temporary and cache are files that are stored locally in order to speed up processes. For example, images from a website that you visited can be cached, so that when you visit the page again, you don’t have to wait to download the images again, they are simply pulled in from the cache. That’s great for processes that you use regularly, but without care, your temporary and cached files can build up and eat away at your Mac’s performance.

Let’s see how to clear cache on mac – Open Finder > Go > hold ‘option’ and click ‘Library’ > Caches. Select and delete any cache files and folders that you don’t need to save space!

7. Taking out the Trash

Deleting files on your Mac usually only moves them to your Trash Can (or Bin).

This is great, because if you 'delete' something by accident, you can restore it to its original location - no harm done.

However, if you are culling files on your Mac to make space, you may wonder why you are not gaining storage after clicking delete.

To permanently delete files from the Mac, you'll need to empty your Trash Can. To do this, simply click the Trash Can (or Bin) icon in your Dock.

Here, you can review or restore files in your Trash/Bin.

To permanently delete all the files in your bin, click Empty. You'll be asked if you're sure, and to confirm the permanent deletion of the files.

Deleting files from Photos, iMovie and Mail apps...

Generally, you'll be able to use the steps above to permanently delete files. However, some apps have their own way to manage 'deleted' files.

As such, you'll need to empty trash cans in individual apps to ensure that files are fully deleted.

An example of this can be seen in the Photos app:

Click the 'Recently Deleted' header to access the trash in the Photos app.

After 'deleting' photos from the app, the files can remain in this section for up to 40 days before being automatically deleted.

If you are sure you'd like to permanently delete these photos, click 'Delete All' to remove them from your hard drive.

You can use similar steps to empty trash for other apps like iMovie and Mail.

8. Move files into external storage

The majority of the methods above cover how to delete unwanted files to gain space. But what you if want to keep your files?

If you need more space on your Mac, but deleting your files is not an option, you may want to consider investing in external storage.

You can purchase external storage drives pretty cheap nowadays.

The way this works is that you connect your external drive with your Mac via USB cable. The drive then pops up as a Location on your Mac:

You can then drag files from your Mac onto your external drive, or cut/paste them into specific folders on your drive.


These are the most effective steps to make the most of the available space on your Mac in our experience.

There's a lot of information above, but this is not an exhaustive list of everything you can do to clear space on your Mac. We hope that you now have the tools that you need to breathe new life into your Mac or MacBook.

Happy spring cleaning!

Publisher: Wide Angle Software

/Mac Cleaner /Top 2 Ways to Remove Mac Purgeable Space [2021 Update]

I’m a Mac user and I use it for storing large-sized files. I’m a video special effects specialist and I am responsible for my company’s large video files. I just heard about the Purgeable storage in macOS Sierra. What is it? Can you tell me more about this Purgeable storage?

You’re in the right place. I'll show you about what is Mac Purgeable space and how to remove purgeable space on Mac.
Tips: iMyMac PowerMyMac can help you easily clean up your Mac to remove purgeable space, just have a free trial below.

Article GuidePart 1. What is Mac Purgeable Space?Part 2. How to Manage Your Mac Storage?Part 3. How to Remove Purgeable Space on Mac?Part 4. Bonus Tip: How to Preview Purgeable Storage In Your Sierra?Part 5. In Conclusion

People Also Read:2021 Top Tips to System Has Run Out of Application MemoryHow Much Space Does Mac OS Take?

Part 1. What is Mac Purgeable Space?

What's the meaning of Purgeable? Mac Purgeable Space is actually related to the Optimized storage feature of your macOS Sierra. Apple didn’t make your hard drive space bigger. What they’ve done is to handle the limited space on your Macintosh with the help of cloud storage. This, in turn, made one part of your storage bar and turned it into a piece called “Purgeable.”

You must notice that there is other and purgeable in about this Mac. Now, let’s dive more into detail with the said slice of the storage pie. Purgeable storage actually contains files that your macOS refers to as suited for removal.

That’s why it’s called purgeable, it can actually be deleted from your drive without causing any issues. If Optimized storage is activated, a lot of files gets transferred to the cloud. Some of them are referred to as optional files.

Tip:How to deal with the issue of 'Your startup disk full'?

Purgeable Files: Which Ones Are Considered Such?

No one is 100% sure as to which files are considered purgeable. Some guessed that files and system-generated files that have these two criteria are considered purgeable:

  1. Super old files you have not used or opened for a really long time.
  2. Files that are already synced to iCloud. Thus, the original file can be removed on your Mac device since it already has a copy on iCloud.

Mac Purgeable files vary in types. It can be any type out there. It can be movies you watched on iTunes. Or, it can also be language files you have never used before. The type of language files that your system hasn’t displayed cause you might not need it or might not understand it.

However, what renders these files purgeable and what does it actually mean? The system on your device looks for these files. It knows that when your Mac is about to run out of disk space and your Optimized Storage is activated, it can automatically delete these files to free your storage of space.

Part 2. How to Manage Your Mac Storage?

You may use a computer to store all your files like photos and videos, then you will have a hard time finding more available space on your Mac's internal drive. So you can get some space by managing and optimizing storage on your Mac.

When you choose to manage your computer's storage space, there are 4 parts to operate. Let's first see how to find these options:

  1. Click About This Mac under the Apple Menu.
  2. Select and click the Storage tab, you will see your available macOS storage.
  3. Press Manage, you will now access storage management options.
  4. Select Recommendations from the left column.

Now you will see 4 options including Store in iCloud, Optimize Storage, Empty Trash Automatically and Reduce Clutter. Let's discuss how to use them to help you manage your storage separately:

Store in iCloud

With this option, icloud stores only the latest files and optimized photos, and icloud downloads them when you need them. In this way, it saves a lot of storage space.

Optimize Storage

When choosing this option, the purgeable categories are added to your storage details. After clicking the Optimize Storage button, there are iTunes movies and attachments you can manage specifically to save your Mac storage.

Empty Trash Automatically

This option allows you set Mac delete items from the Trash automatically after saving for 30 days. Just select Finder>Preferences>Advanced>Check the box that says 'Remove Items from the Trash after 30 days'.

Reduce Clutter

This option allows you to select and delete any files you unneeded anymore to save some space on Mac. By pressing Review Files button, you will see a new window jumps out and shows you all the apps and files stored on your Mac. You can delete by file type (selected in the sidebar).

Tip: You can uninstall unneeded apps on your Mac completely with PowerMyMac Uninstaller, here shows you how to uninstall OneDrive on Mac as a reference.

Part 3. How to Remove Purgeable Space on Mac?

This is very easy. All you need is a tool called iMyMac PowerMyMac. With this tool, you can find all useless files on your device and delete purgeable space on Mac with a few clicks. You can know more useful cleaners form here.

Here is how to use iMyMac PowerMyMac to remove purgeable space on Mac Mojave, Catalina, or High Sierra step by step, try the steps below:

  1. Download And Open iMyMac PowerMyMac.
  2. Scanning System Junk.
  3. Review Items And Select Which To Delete.
  4. Clean Up Finished.

Step 1. Download And Open iMyMac PowerMyMac

Download the iMyMac PowerMyMac on your computer and open it. The main screen will appear and it will display the Network condition. Click the module named Master Scan on the left-hand side.

Step 2. Scanning System Junk

Click the Master Scan button and wait. The scanning process will start and wait for it to finish. After it is completed, it will display all Junk files to you.

The Junk files will be classified into different categories including Application Cache, Photo Cache, Mail Cache, System Logs, System Cache, and System Trash, among others.

Note: You can click Rescan to scan your device again.

Step 3. Review Items And Select Which To Delete

Click a certain category. And then review the files found on the right-hand side of the screen. Select the files you want to delete. After which click the Clean button.

Step 4. Clean Up Finished

The junk files will now be erased. It will then show folders marked as Zero KB. Other folders will not be shown as Zero KB because they are auto-recreated folders.

Repeat steps 1 to 4. But in this case, select UNINSTALLER or LARGE & OLD FILES instead of Master Scan.

How to Remove Purgeable Storage On Your Device?

Actually, you don’t need to do this by yourself. But if you wish to do so, you can move to the next part of this guide.

Mac Purgeable space is there in that whenever your device is running out of space, you will be safe knowing that it will automatically clear up the allocated purgeable space.

This will lead to more free space on your Mac. The best thing to do for you to avoid lifting a finger is to activate other Storage. In this way, your device will automatically purge the said files. To do this, follow the steps below:

  1. Go to the About This Mac menu.
  2. Next, go to the Storage tab.
  3. After which, press Manage.

Now, you have the ability to activate a particular option that you wish to be synced to iCloud.

Part 4. Bonus Tip: How to Preview Purgeable Storage In Your Sierra?

You may use Sierra or High Sierra on your Mac, and there must be some Mac purgeable storages.

You have the ability to check out the amount of space in your Sierra can purge in a variety of places:

  1. The first method you can do is to check your native storage tab. You can access this tab by going to the Apple Menu and selecting About This Mac. Then, you go to the tab named Storage.
  2. You can also view it on your Finder’s Status Bar. To display your Status Bar, you should click View and then press Show Status Bar.
  3. The third option is to go to the top menu and click Go. Then, select Computer. Next, right-click on the hard drive. Then, go to getting Info.
  4. The fourth option would be to click View. Then, go to the Options panel. This will activate the Desktop display of hard disks.
  5. The final option would be to ask Siri about how much space you have left on your device.

Part 5. In Conclusion

Purgeable space on Mac is one way your device works smarter instead of harder. Instead of putting a bigger disk space on your Mac, you are given an optimization feature. Purgeable files are files that can be removed without causing issues to your device. It is automatically deleted on your device if Optimized Storage is turned on.

However, if you find your Mac is running slowly and want to delete more unnecessary files on your system, you can use a tool like iMyMac PowerMyMac. For example, it can help you find all your images stored on your Mac and remove the duplicates. It helps you scan your device for unneeded files and delete them completely without causing harm to your device.

ExcellentThanks for your rating.

Rating: 4.5 / 5 (based on 98 ratings)

People Also Read:


A powerful all-in-one App for Mac

Free Download
Comment ()

Willan2019-10-04 10:10:05

I've tried many ways manually, they lost my time and I felt troublesome. So I turned to a third-party to help me. Luckily, iMyMac Mac Cleaner mentioned in this post satisfied my needs and saved my time.

iMyMac2019-10-04 11:03:06

Thanks for your support!

Velin2019-10-08 09:35:56

I totally agree that we should remove purgeable space on our Mac because that really helps us save much storage space. Thanks for your tips! They work well for me.

iMyMac2019-10-08 11:40:20

Thanks for your support!

Abby H2019-06-28 11:04:07

National Clean Out Your Computer Day! It's a great idea to nudge me into doing some cleaning. After reading this post, I have been using iMyMac Mac Cleaner to remove purgeable space on my Mac to save more storage. It helps a lot to organize my Mac regularly.

iMyMac2019-06-28 13:47:23

Thanks for your support!

Cathy2019-05-21 10:06:05

I bought my MacBook at my first college year. It companied me all the time through my college years. So the full storage thing really bothered me. Lots of solutions have I tried. Then I have tried the first way mentioned in this post about using Mac Cleaner to remove purgeable space on my Mac, it really helps! Thanks so much, pretty happy!

iMyMac2019-05-21 11:01:05

Thanks for your support and happy to hear that!

KHUY PY2019-04-04 15:14:26

Clean Up Storage On Mac

I found in Get Info. of may hard disk, the 38.49 GB purgeable. and How to delete this unused space?ThanksPy

iMyMac2019-04-04 17:08:06

Thanks for your support! You can just check the Part 3 in this article, there are detailed steps to help you delete that unused space. Hope that really help you!

How To Clean Up System Storage On Mac Mojave

Clean up and speed up your Mac with ease

Free Download