Learn how to clean disk space on MacOS

  • Check available storage space, optimize storage using iCloud, and delete unnecessary files.
  • Empty the Trash regularly, utilize Disk Utility, move files to external storage, and avoid third-party cleaning apps.

Is your MacOS device running low on storage space? Keeping your Mac’s disk space clean is crucial for optimal performance and efficiency. A cluttered disk can slow down your system and limit storage capacity, affecting overall functionality. Regular disk cleaning is essential to ensure your Mac operates smoothly and efficiently. This comprehensive guide provides practical solutions to help you free up disk space on MacOS and optimize your system’s performance.

Check Available Storage Space

Before diving into the cleaning process, it’s important to assess your current storage situation. To check the available storage space on your Mac, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Apple logo in the top-left corner of your screen.
  2. Select “About This Mac.”
  3. Go to the “Storage” tab to view a breakdown of your disk usage.

Understanding your storage allocation is crucial for identifying areas that are consuming unnecessary space and prioritizing cleaning actions.

Types of Files Location Cleaning Steps
Cache and Temporary Files ~/Library/Caches 1. Open Finder and press Shift + Command + G.
2. Enter “~/Library/Caches” and click “Go.”
3. Delete the contents of the “Caches” folder.
Old Downloads and Large Files Downloads folder Check for old files in the Downloads folder and delete unnecessary ones. Identify and remove large files.

Optimizing Storage

One effective way to manage storage on MacOS is by utilizing iCloud. MacOS offers an option to optimize storage by automatically offloading unused files, such as infrequently used apps and old email attachments, to iCloud. This feature helps free up local storage while ensuring easy access to files when needed.

Deleting Unnecessary Files

To declutter your disk and reclaim valuable space, consider removing the following types of files:

Cache and Temporary Files

Temporary files and cache data accumulate over time, taking up significant disk space. To remove these files:

  1. Open Finder and press Shift + Command + G.
  2. Enter “~/Library/Caches” and click “Go.”
  3. Delete the contents of the “Caches” folder.

Regularly clearing cache and temporary files can enhance your Mac’s performance.

Old Downloads and Large Files

Check your Downloads folder for old files and delete any unnecessary ones. Identify and delete large files that are consuming excessive disk space to make room for essential data and applications.

Emptying the Trash

Emptying the Trash is a simple yet effective way to free up disk space on your Mac. Deleted files remain in the Trash until it is emptied. To empty the Trash:

  1. Right-click on the Trash icon in the Dock.
  2. Select “Empty Trash” to permanently delete files.

Regularly emptying the Trash helps prevent unnecessary clutter and optimizes disk space.

Using Disk Utility

Disk Utility is a built-in MacOS tool for managing disk drives effectively. You can use Disk Utility to erase, format, or repair disk errors. To access Disk Utility:

  1. Restart your Mac and hold down Command + R to enter macOS Recovery.
  2. Select Disk Utility from the Utilities menu.
  3. Choose the disk you want to erase or repair and follow the on-screen instructions.

Moving Files to External Storage

Consider moving large files like photos, music, and documents to external storage devices or cloud services. Offloading non-essential files to external storage helps free up space on your Mac while keeping your data easily accessible.

Avoiding Third-Party Cleaning Apps

Exercise caution when using third-party cleaning apps, as they may delete essential files or impact system stability. It’s advisable to stick to built-in MacOS tools and manual cleaning methods for optimal results.

Tips for Maintaining Free Space

To prevent future disk space issues, consider the following tips:

  • Maintain at least 15-20% of disk capacity as free space for smooth performance.
  • Regularly review and delete unused applications.
  • Move infrequently accessed files to external storage to declutter your Mac.

Professional Tools for Disk Cleaning

For comprehensive disk cleaning and maintenance, consider using professional tools tailored for MacOS. These tools can identify and remove hidden system files, duplicates, and unnecessary data that may be consuming disk space. Make sure to research reputable tools and follow instructions carefully for optimal results.

Additional Resources

For more information on cleaning disk space on MacOS and optimizing system performance, you can refer to the following resources:

These resources offer valuable insights into effectively managing disk space on your Mac.

Real-Life Example: Sarah’s Experience with Freeing Up Disk Space

Sarah’s Struggle with a Full Mac

Sarah, a graphic designer, found her Mac running increasingly slow. Frustrated by the lagging performance, she researched ways to optimize her device. Upon checking her storage space, she discovered that her disk was almost full.

Implementing Disk Space Optimization Techniques

Following a guide on optimizing storage, Sarah enabled iCloud’s storage optimization feature, allowing her Mac to offload unused files automatically. She also deleted cache and temporary files, freeing up significant disk space.

The Impact of Regular Maintenance

By regularly emptying her Trash and moving large design files to an external hard drive, Sarah noticed a remarkable improvement in her Mac’s speed and responsiveness. She avoided third-party cleaning apps, opting for manual deletion and Disk Utility maintenance instead.

Maintaining a Healthy Balance

Sarah now ensures to keep at least 15-20% of her disk space free, following the tips she learned. With a cleaner and more organized storage system, Sarah’s Mac operates at its optimal performance level, allowing her to focus on her design projects without interruptions.


Ensuring your MacOS device has sufficient free disk space is vital for smooth performance and efficient storage management. By implementing the top tips outlined in this guide, you can declutter your Mac, enhance its speed, and maintain a well-organized digital workspace. Consistent maintenance and smart storage practices not only boost performance but also extend the longevity of your Mac. Incorporate these cleaning practices into your routine for a streamlined and efficient Mac experience. Explore more of our informative content to further enhance your knowledge of managing disk space on MacOS!

Questions & Answers

What does cleaning a disk on MacOS entail?

Cleaning a disk on MacOS involves removing unnecessary files and optimizing storage space.

How can I clean my disk on MacOS efficiently?

You can use built-in tools like Disk Utility or third-party apps to clean your disk on MacOS efficiently.

Who should clean their disk on MacOS regularly?

Anyone using a Mac should clean their disk regularly to improve performance and free up space.

What if I’m not tech-savvy, can I still clean my disk?

Yes, you can use user-friendly apps that guide you through the disk cleaning process step by step.

How often should I clean my disk on MacOS?

It is recommended to clean your disk on MacOS at least once a month to maintain optimal performance.

What if I don’t see a noticeable difference after cleaning my disk?

If you don’t see a significant improvement, consider seeking professional help to diagnose any underlying issues.

By Ash

Ash has worked in the software industry for over 25 years. In this time he's learned what to look for in a great product, and all the things to watch out for. It's become his life's mission to help others so they can be more productive with their time. You can reach out to him via the contact us page. I love hearing from readers, so if you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to reach out to me. You can contact me through the contact us page.