In our last blog, we went over some ways to identify how much space is left on your storage drive. If you are experiencing degraded performance on your Mac, this is the first place to begin troubleshooting. So now, let’s go one step further.
OK, you know how much space you have – now what?
Usually when you see advice about freeing up space or improving performance, you’ll get the recommendation to clear your cache or check your CPU usage and see what’s taking up all your flash memory. This will help, but only until you open your browser or run the app that uses the flash. It pays in the long run to take some time and really clear out your storage and organize your files in such a way that it stays clear.
So, from your adventures in determining drive space, you can now make some educated decisions about where to start looking for old files and some you can store off your device. Let’s explore some obvious but often overlooked places.
Obviously, take out the trash.
This is a good place to start. Unless you have set it up to empty on a schedule, everything you’ve put in the trash is still in there! If you want to see how much space it’s taking up, open it and then “Command” + “I”. A large file will take a while to calculate (mine was – ahem – 25.55 GB – embarrassing). If you’re not sure you want to get rid of everything in there, go through and manually delete files (right click or “Control” + click then “delete immediately”).
Let’s go a little deeper, into less obvious places.
Next, iTunes. Do you have old backups on your Mac? Open iTunes, then go to the “Preferences” menu and choose “Devices”. You might be surprised to see devices on there that you have replaced, erased and sold! Whatever is in there, if you select it and hover over it you’ll get some more detailed information (model, serial number, phone number, all kinds of stuff!). From this window, you can delete these old backups. Be sure to check “Movies” and “TV Shows” in iTunes, too. You might be surprised! If you purchased it on another device, you may see the cloud with arrow symbol next to a movie, which means it’s available to you but not on your device taking space.
*WARNING* don’t delete old music while you’re in cleaning mode. You never know when you’re going to need to hear some REO Speedwagon (there is a very specific mood for that and you won’t want to wait for it to download again).
Keep it up! You’re a space making machine!
Now, check your “Downloads” folder. This may be in your dock already, or you may need to open a Finder window to get to it. Much like the trash, there can be a lot hidden in here. There may be apps you downloaded to try and then deleted from your desktop, or documents you had to print .. who knows! This is a good reason to go through this folder (remember the preview trick of selecting files and pressing the spacebar to see a preview without opening) and organize a little better too.
You should see a noticeable difference in your space if you have been deleting files and backups. Sure, you’ve had the time of your life doing this! If you’d like it to stay spacious and performance saving, try these tips for keeping it that way.
Prepare for the future, keep it optimized.
If you use iCloud (and you really should use some type of cloud storage), consider using the options to optimize storage on your Mac. You can find these in the menu under “About This Mac” then “Storage” then “Manage”. Choosing “optimize storage” will store less accessed data in the cloud to free up space on your drive.
If you routinely back your iPad and iPhone up to your computer, you should choose the optimize option on those devices. Reducing the amount stored on your other devices will reduce the amount of space their backup uses. This will take some time to notice, since the backup size won’t reduce until the next time you back up.
Sometimes, full really means full.
- On many models, we can still install larger storage drives and if we replace a SATA drive with a solid state drive, you are going to feel like you got a brand new machine for nothing!
- We can also back up all your data to an external drive and then you can delete big storage items from your device and access them via the external drive.
- Sometimes it makes more sense to upgrade to a later model and we can help with that, too.
We see issues like this everyday and we know how to help. Hopefully, you found this blog helpful and if you still need some assistance, then contact us. If you know someone this could help, please share!
We’re TechRestore, and we’re here to help!