Making Sure There Is Enough Free Space on Your Mac’s Drive

Deepak Prasad

How To, Tips and Tricks

Running out of drive space on a MacBook is quite common. New Apple computer models replaced hard drives with solid-state drives to improve the overall performance. While the change is good, it also means that the total available storage is even lower than before.

Making Sure There Is Enough Free Space on Your Mac’s Drive

If you purchase a cheaper Mac, its drive storage may be far from enough to accommodate your needs. That’s why it is necessary to have a data management strategy. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to keep a MacBook’s drive space healthy.


Uninstall Redundant Apps

The first suggestion is to remove unnecessary applications. You may find yourself downloading and installing more apps than you really need. If an application becomes redundant, do not hesitate and remove it from the system. After all, you can download and install it later in case you need to use it again.

Keep in mind, though, that removing an app does not remove all of its files most of the time. Some applications create temporary system junk like caches and extensions. For example, if you use Xcode, remember that it accumulates a lot of temporary files, and getting rid of these files manually is a bothersome chore. You can click this link to find out how to solve the issue.

Another thing to note about some Mac applications is that they also come with redundant language pack support files. If you only need an English version, there is no point in having files for 60 or even more languages, right? Pay attention when installing apps and uncheck boxes that ask whether you want to install additional language support data while installing an app.


Scan for Malware

Do not believe some MacBook fans who claim that these computers are not prone to malware and that you do not even need antivirus software. It is true that Mac owners are less likely to become hacker targets because the operating system is not as popular as Windows and developing a virus for macOS specifically is not effective. Nevertheless, expecting the computer to prevent potential threats by itself would be a stretch.

Some viruses and malware target a MacBook’s drive. It eats away the drive’s storage, and unless you use antivirus to scan and detect the malware source, do not expect to solve the problem. No, you need to get a proper anti-malware tool even if it costs you some money.


Transfer Files to a Different Location

It may be worth your while to take a different approach and transfer some files to external storage. After all, there is no need to delete all the unnecessary data when you have alternatives. And when it comes to external storage, there are two options that stand out the most—clouds and external devices.

Making Sure There Is Enough Free Space on Your Mac’s Drive

For cloud storage, MacBook owners should probably stick to iCloud even though there are different services, such as Dropbox. The reason for choosing iCloud is that it is designed specifically for Apple devices. You can even create a mini ecosystem by connecting your Mac together with iPad and iPhone to share and transfer files between the three.

iCloud offers five gigabytes of free storage, but that is unlikely to be enough. You can upgrade the plan by paying a monthly fee. The most expensive plan costs ten dollars for two terabytes of total iCloud storage.

A good external hard drive should not cost more than 50 dollars. And if you combine it with Time Machine, not only can you free up the MacBook’s storage, but also back up your data.

The question of which of the two options to choose depends on your needs. Having to pay a monthly iCloud fee can be off-putting, but it is hassle-free as you can transfer files digitally rather than mounting a drive every time. Besides, a hard drive will not last for a lifetime either. On the other hand, an external HDD is a cheaper solution. Pick the one you believe suits your needs the best.


Remember to Delete Data Permanently

It is necessary to emphasize that dragging files in the Trash Bin is not the same as removing them from the computer permanently. No, if you want to get rid of a MacBook file permanently, you will have to empty the Trash Bin every time you drag a file in it.

In case you do not want to bother with dragging files all the time, memorize the Option + Command + Delete keyboard shortcut. Hitting it after you select a file or files you want to remove will result in a pop-up, and confirming the pop-up will remove files permanently.


Do Not Hoard Large Media Files on the MacBook

Avoid hoarding large media files on the MacBook. Instead of keeping your backlog of movies and TV shows you want to watch on the laptop, why not take advantage of available streaming services?

Making Sure There Is Enough Free Space on Your Mac’s Drive

Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and Amazon have a monthly fee, but they provide you with hours of entertainment. Not only are streaming platforms convenient to use, but they will also solve some of your Mac storage problems.


Change Default Location for Downloaded Files

It is no secret that some computer users forget about downloaded files and let them remain on the drive. Individually, downloaded files may not take that much space, but letting them accumulate will result in Mac space problems.

Examples of such files could be photos you download to use for school or work, email attachments you double-click on, or music tracks.

If you forget to delete downloaded files regularly, changing their default location could be a good solution. For instance, you could use the MacBook’s desktop as the default location. Since you do not wish to clutter the desktop with random documents and shortcuts because they slow down the overall computer performance, you will need to remove downloaded files as soon as they become useless.

Even if removing downloaded files regularly may not free up that much space, it will still make a difference, not to mention that the MacBook will have fewer files to bother with processing.


Reinstall macOS

The last bit of advice on this article may seem like a drastic measure, but it can be quite effective. Reinstalling the operating system means giving the laptop a fresh start. Any files you do not back up will get wiped, provided that you select the option while reinstalling macOS.

The reinstallation may be a bit tricky for those who have not done it before, but following step-by-step tutorials, one can find online should make the process manageable. And in case you are still not feeling confident enough to do the task yourself, take the MacBook to a computer service store and ask for a professional who can do the work for you. Someone working in a computer service store is bound to know how to reinstall macOS.



As you can see, there are multiple ways to deal with low storage on a MacBook’s drive. Pick multiple methods mentioned in this article and create your computer data management strategy. Also, remember that the more of these ideas you implement and stick to regularly, the fewer MacBook storage problems you will have.

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Deepak Prasad

He is the founder of GoLinuxCloud and brings over a decade of expertise in Linux, Python, Go, Laravel, DevOps, Kubernetes, Git, Shell scripting, OpenShift, AWS, Networking, and Security. With extensive experience, he excels in various domains, from development to DevOps, Networking, and Security, ensuring robust and efficient solutions for diverse projects. You can reach out to him on his LinkedIn profile or join on Facebook page.

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