How to Free Up Space on Mac: Quick Tips

If you’re running out of room on your Mac, don’t worry. Freeing up space on a Mac is easier than you might think. This guide will take you through several tips and tricks to help you reclaim valuable storage without losing important files or apps.

Why Freeing Up Space is Important

Having enough free space on your Mac is important for maintaining optimal performance.

When your storage space is full, it can slow down your system.

More space also allows you to store new files and install new applications without worrying about running out of room.

Check Your Storage

The first step to freeing up space is to understand what’s taking up space on your Mac.

How to Check Your Storage Usage

Click the Apple menu in the upper-left corner of your screen.

Select “About This Mac.”

Then, click on the “Storage” tab.

You’ll see a colorful bar that shows how much space is used by different categories like Apps, Photos, and System.

Remove Large and Unnecessary Files

One of the quickest ways to free up space is by deleting large, unnecessary files.

Locate Large Files

Go to the Finder and navigate to “All My Files” or use the “Recents” view.

Sort your files by size by clicking the “Size” column header.

This will bring the largest files to the top, making them easy to identify and delete.

Use Built-in Tools

macOS offers built-in tools to help you manage your storage.

Click on “Manage” under the Storage tab in “About This Mac.”

Here, you’ll find recommendations like Store in iCloud, Optimize Storage, and Reduce Clutter.

You can review and implement these recommendations to save space.

Empty the Trash

Emptying the Trash is a simple way to recover space quickly.

Files you send to the Trash are still taking up room until you permanently delete them.

How to Empty the Trash

Click on the Trash icon in your Dock.

Right-click the Trash window and choose “Empty Trash.”

This will permanently delete the files and free up space.

Uninstall Unnecessary Apps

Removing apps you no longer use can free up a lot of space.

Use Finder or Launchpad

Open Finder and navigate to the Applications folder.

Select the app you want to delete and drag it to the Trash.

Alternatively, open Launchpad, click and hold the app until it starts jiggling, then click the ‘X’ icon to delete it.

Manage System Files

System files can take up a considerable amount of space.

Managing them effectively can free up room.

MacOS Updates

Update your macOS to delete old system files and free up space.

Go to “System Preferences” and then “Software Update” to check for updates.

Clear Cache Files

Cache files can grow over time and take up considerable space.

Open Finder, press Shift + Command + G, and type in ~/Library/Caches.

Select and delete the cache files or folders you no longer need.

Optimize Photo Storage

Photos and videos can quickly fill up your storage.

Use iCloud Photo Library

iCloud Photo Library can help save space by storing original photos and videos in iCloud.

Go to “System Preferences” then “Apple ID” and click on iCloud.

Turn on “iCloud Photos” and select “Optimize Mac Storage.”

Manually Store Photos

Transfer photos and videos to an external drive or a cloud service.

Delete them from your local storage to free up space.

Manage Music and Videos

Media files can occupy a significant amount of space.

Remove Old Media Files

Go through your Music, Movies, and TV Shows and delete files you no longer need.

Open Finder and navigate to your “Music” and “Movies” folders.

Select and delete unnecessary files to free up space.

Stream Instead of Download

Consider streaming services for music and videos instead of downloading.

This can save a lot of storage space.

Clear Browser Data

Browsers store a lot of data which can take up space over time.

Clear Cache and Cookies

Most browsers have options to clear cache and cookies.

In Safari, go to “Preferences,” select “Privacy,” and then “Manage Website Data.”

Click “Remove All” to clear the cache and cookies.

Use External Storage

External storage solutions can provide additional space for your files.

External Hard Drives and SSDs

Transfer less frequently used files to an external hard drive or SSD.

This is an effective way to keep your main storage free for important files.

Cloud Storage Services

Services like iCloud, Dropbox, and others can store your files in the cloud.

Move files to these services to free up local storage.

Optimize Storage Automatically

macOS has built-in features to help you optimize and manage your storage.

Click the Apple menu and go to “About This Mac,” then “Storage” and click “Manage.”


You’ll see several recommendations like “Store in iCloud” and “Optimize Storage.”

Optimize Storage

This feature removes old TV shows and movies you’ve watched.

Click “Optimize” next to “Optimize Storage” to enable this feature.

Compress Files and Folders

Compressing files can save space by reducing their size.

How to Compress

Right-click on the file or folder you want to compress.

Select “Compress” from the context menu.

This will create a smaller zip file that you can use as needed.

Remove Duplicate Files

Duplicate files can waste a lot of space.

Identify Duplicates

Manually search for duplicates or use a third-party tool designed to find and delete them.

Delete Duplicates

Move identified duplicate files to the Trash and then empty the Trash to free up space.

Regular Maintenance

Implementing routine maintenance can help keep your Mac efficient and storage-optimized.

Periodic Cleanup

Set a schedule for regular clean-ups to ensure you are always making the most of your storage.

System Updates

Ensure your macOS and apps are always up to date to benefit from new space-saving features.


Freeing up space on your Mac can significantly improve its performance and extend its lifespan.

By following these tips, you’ll reclaim valuable storage and keep your Mac running smoothly.

Remember to check your storage regularly, remove unnecessary files, and make use of built-in tools for optimal performance.