How to Free Up Your Mac Storage Space

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In the fourth quarter of 2021, Apple reported revenues amounting to $9.18 billion from Macs alone. That’s an impressive year-over-year growth of 1.6%. That also suggests an increase in the number of folks switching to iMac or MacBook.

However, as fancy and user-friendly as Macs are, they still have limited storage space. That’s especially true for the base MacBook Air and Pro models, which only come with 256 GB of storage.

So, if you own an Apple computer yourself, it’s best to know how to manage your Mac storage. That way, you can prevent it from running out of space, especially for essential updates. At the very least, having enough space ensures you can save important data on your device.

This guide shares some of the top iMac and MacBook tips for conserving its storage space, so be sure to read on.

Delete Files You No Longer Need

Consider this: The maximum file size of each Microsoft Word document that only contains text is 32 MB. However, the text editor can use up to 512 MB for each file featuring graphics, images, and videos.

So, just 20 of the latter type of doc files equate to using up more than 10 GB of your Mac storage space!

For that reason, it’s wise to go through your folders to check and delete old, unnecessary files. You can use the View as List option in Finder to organize the documents based on their modification date. You can then look at their file size, and from there, delete the oldest and largest ones you don’t need anymore.

Organize Files and Folders Cluttering Your Mac Desktop

Many years ago, having multiple desktop files and folders caused Macs to slow down. While that’s no longer the case today, a cluttered desktop can still affect your workflow. Moreover, each file and folder on your device’s real estate consumes storage space.

So, to free up space on your Mac, consider deleting all those useless desktop files and folders. Doing so also makes your desktop neater, letting you find whatever you need with more ease.

Another option is to create subfolders within one or two primary desktop folders. You can then move the files you need into those subfolders, and in doing so, organize your desktop, too.

Organizing your desktop, in turn, can also help you spot more files that you can send over to the Trash.

Remove Downloaded Data

Each time you download files, your Mac stores them in the directory called Downloads. Anything you download, be it an installer, document, photo, video, or web page, gets stored in there.

Over time, all those downloaded data can take up a massive amount of your iMac or MacBook storage space. That’s especially true for program installers and multi-media files.

So, make it a habit to go through your Downloads folder a few times a month. Then, delete the items it contains that no longer serve you any purpose.

Uninstall Apps You Rarely or Never Even Use

According to one estimate, 18,950 apps were available in the Mac App Store in January 2021. That’s a growth of nearly 19 times from when the platform first launched in 2011.

So, it comes as no surprise that many Mac users end up filling their devices with apps, many of which they rarely use. If you’re in the same boat, it’s time to uninstall as many of those you don’t need, as they only consume storage space.

Fortunately, there are several ways to remove such programs, one of which is via Finder.

Launch a Finder window, and once open, click on the Applications field on the left pane. Now, go through the list of apps there and highlight those you want to remove. You can then tap your trackpad with two fingers, and from there, select the Move to Trash option.

For other ways to remove apps from your Mac, you can check out this guide from the folks at

Don’t Forget to Empty Your Mac Trash Folder

Whenever you delete a file or app on your Mac, macOS transfers it to the Trash first. That’s the temporary storage location of recently deleted data on your Mac. It’s only temporary as it lets you either permanently delete its contents or recover them.

For the same reason, your Mac will hold onto Trash items until you empty that folder itself. So, you can think of it as a protective feature allowing you to recover files you deleted by accident.

However, that also means files you’ve deleted continue to take up space, so long as they’re in the Trash folder.

Therefore, it’s best to empty your Trash regularly to save storage space on your Mac. You can do that manually by clicking the button labeled “Empty” inside the Trash folder.

Your other option is to automate the deletion of your Trash contents every 30 days.

To do that, click the Apple logo you see on the upper-right corner of your screen. Next, choose About this Mac, and then select the Storage tab.

On the small window that appears, click the Manage button. You should then see an option that says “Empty Trash Automatically.” Hitting the “Turn On” button will automate the deletion of files that have been in Trash for more than 30 days.

Don’t Let Your Mac Storage Disk Run Out of Space

Keep in mind that insufficient Mac storage can result in your OS and apps becoming outdated. Unfortunately, outdated software is more vulnerable to cybersecurity threats like ransomware.

That’s enough reason to ensure your Mac always has adequate available storage space. Otherwise, you’ll be unable to save essential files, or worse, you may become a malware victim.

So, as early as now, follow our tips to free up precious space on your Mac.

Ready for more tech hacks like this? Have a look at our most recent blog posts, then!

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