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How to Free up Space on a Mac: The Complete Guide

Updated on January 11, 2021 | by Alex Smith

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Since releasing the first Mac in 1984, Apple has spent decades investing in their computers. Today, users know and expect Macs to be reliable and powerful machines. However, like all machines, problems can still occur. 

One of the most common frustrations that Mac users run into is having low amounts of storage space. As most modern computers use smaller (yet faster) SSD drives, running out of space can become a very real problem. So how can you free up storage space? 

Keep reading for a guide that will teach you how to free up space on a Mac.

Signs of Low Storage

If you suspect that your computer might be running out of storage but you’ve never checked, there are some symptoms that you can watch out for.

One of the most common signs is that your computer runs slower than it used to. You can notice this when you’re browsing the internet, trying to open a file, or launching an application. Processes that used to take your computer seconds may now take minutes.

Another sign is that your computer crashes out of certain programs or applications from time to time. This can be when you’re in the middle of doing something, or when you first try and open something.

How to Check Your Mac’s Storage Space

If you do suspect that your computer has low storage, Apple makes it easy for you to check.

To see how much storage you have, click the Apple icon in the left corner (at the top), then click “About This Mac”. Navigate to the “Storage” section, and you’ll then see a detailed breakdown of how much storage space your computer has left.

This view is useful because it allows you to see what takes up the most space. For example, if you notice that photos are using up most of your computer’s storage, you’ll know that you should go and clear some out.

How to Free up Space on a Mac

If you do discover that your Mac’s storage is almost full, you should get to work creating more space. Here are some of the easiest ways that you can do that. 

Delete Old Files

If you’re like most computer users, then you most likely have a ton of old files that you don’t use anymore. These can range from old documents to redundant pictures, to just about everything in between. 

Check around different folders to see if there’s anything you can clear out. If you haven’t opened a file in months and don’t see yourself doing so in the future, delete it.

The same goes for photos, especially if you have other similar pictures. Keep in mind that pictures and videos often take up much more space than other types of files, making them prime culprits for hogging storage space. 

Uninstall Applications

Aside from photos, applications can also take up a lot of storage space. If you don’t use certain ones on a regular basis, it’s a good idea to uninstall them.

Head to your Applications folder on your Mac, then take a look at everything that you have. Consider which ones you can uninstall, and remember that you can always reinstall them at a later point.

Uninstalling applications on a Mac is easy. To do so, just drag the app icon into the trash. Then, make sure to empty the trash, and the file will be gone. 

Eliminate Backup Files

If you’ve ever backed up an iPhone or iPad to your computer, the files left behind can take up a huge amount of space.

To find them, open Spotlight by pressing Command + Space. Then, type “backup”. The folders that come up should have random names. You can then drag them to the Trash.

In a similar vein, you can also eliminate redundant files on your browse. Check out this guide to learn how to clear cache on Mac

Take Advantage of iCloud

If you aren’t taking advantage of iCloud then you’re missing out on one of the best features that go along with having an Apple product.

iCloud is a cloud-based storage program that lets you store all of your files remotely. This means that you can upload documents, photos, and other types of files to iCloud, then call on them when you need to open them. It’s a great way to keep your things without using up storage. 

iCloud has different storage plans to choose from. The free plan offers 50 GB of storage space, but if you have many files, you may need to pay for more space. 

Use Another Cloud-Based Storage Program

If for whatever reason you don’t want to rely on iCloud, there are some other storage programs that you can also look into. 

Are you a Google fan? If so, you can take advantage of Google Drive. Like iCloud, this lets you store documents, photos, and other types of files in the cloud, then access them when you need to. Your files will sync across all of your devices.

Dropbox is another option to choose from. Although Dropbox is more expensive than some of the other options, it’s a great way to store many different types of files.

Optimize Your Mac With These Tips

If you own a Mac, you want to make sure that you get to enjoy it for as long as possible. Low storage space can keep you from doing what you need to, but by following these tips, you’ll have no problem understanding how to free up space on a Mac. 

Do you now have a better understanding of how to go about getting more MacBook space? If you do, remember to check out some of our other blog posts for more tech-related guides and tips.


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