4/27/229:00 am 10 Strategies for Dealing With a Small Hard Drive If the drive inside your Mac is too small, there are some ways to deal with it until you get your next Mac. You can put some things on external drives, use iCloud, offload apps, and try some other techniques. Video Transcript: Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. Here are some ideas to deal with a Mac that is too small of an internal hard drive. MacMost is brought to you thanks to a great group of more than 1000 supporters. Go to MacMost.com/patreon. There you can read more about the Patreon Campaign. Join us and get exclusive content and course discounts. A common situation you may find yourself in is when you run out of hard drive space. When you bought your last Mac you bought too small of a hard drive. Now you already know that next time you need to think about getting a larger hard drive and plan for several years into the future. But for now you've got to deal with a smaller internal drive. Here are some strategies that may help you. First, you may just want to get yourself an external archive drive. A drive like this. You can get a portable USB3 drive that you can connect to your Mac and put some files on it. So you can take some old files that you have on your Mac, things you're no longer really using but you don't want to delete forever and move them to this archive drive freeing up a lot of space. Only keep the projects that you're working on currently and things you need to access all the time on your internal drive on your Mac. You usually don't need to get any kind of fancy external SSD that costs a bunch of money. You can get a fairly inexpensive regular spinning hard drive, a portable one so it just connects directly to your Mac. It doesn't need any extra power and just use that. Typically things that are put on an archive drive you don't need to access them super quick. You're not actually working with files on the archive drive. You'll just be moving them off of the archive drive and back to your internal drive if you should need to work on that project again. Now, of course, iCloud could help you with a lot of this as well. As an example let's take a look at Photos. So in Photos go to Preferences and then General and it will show you your Library location. You click Show in Finder and it will bring that up here and you could see the total size of your Photos Library. This is my example account here so it has a pretty small Photos Library. But if you see this as being pretty big and its maybe what is causing the problem then you can consider turning On, under iCloud, iCloud Photos and Optimize Mac Storage. What that will do is gradually offload a lot of those photos into the Cloud. So you may have, say, a hundred GB Photos Library but only maybe 5 G of that will be stored locally. You'll still see all of your photos here as normal. But when you go to access one it will actually load it instantly from the internet so you can see the full one there. This doesn't give you space back right away like within the next couple of hours but over the next few days it will gradually offload a lot of these photos and give you a lot of drive space back. Now one problem with this, of course, is it also takes up space in iCloud. So if you have both the problem where you have limited internal drive space and limited iCloud space then you may want to consider shrinking the size of your Photos Library. One way to do this is to keep videos out of your Photos Library. So you can go into Media types here, look for videos, and see what you've got. If you have a ton of long videos here they may be taking up a lot or even most of the space. But you may not look at these that often. You can drag and drop these to something like an archive drive and just give them good file names and store them there instead of storing them in your Photos Library. You may be able to dramatically reduce the size of your Photos Library by storing videos elsewhere and only having photos in the library. In addition to being able to store your photos in iCloud you can do the same with your files. So in System Preferences go to your Apple ID and then you should see iCloud here on the left, select that, and you've got iCloud Drive. Under Options you can turn on Desktop & Documents Folders which moves those two folders into iCloud. Now if you have this checked here, Optimize Mac Storage, it will behave the same way that Photos does but with your files. All of your files in iCloud Drive will still appear to be here in the Finder. You could go in and actually see what's there. But some of them, like for instance these two larger files here, won't be stored on your local drive. Just opening them is enough to download them so you can view them. But it will save you a lot of space. Like with Photos it takes time for it to do that once you turn on Optimize mac Storage. But over the course of a few days you should get back a lot of space on your internal drive by offloading a lot of files to iCloud Drive. Now your iMovie Library may also be something that is taking up a lot of space. You can't really put that on iCloud Drive because they are large video files and you need quick access to them to edit them. But you can actually move iMovie projects to an external drive. When you're in iMovie you're also looking at a library file here. So for instance under File, Open Library you'll see your current iMovie Library right there. There are also functions in here to Copy to another library or move to another library as specific project. But what I find works best is to put one project per library. So you're going to create something new in iMovie. You start a completely new iMovie Library. You store everything, all your clips, your one project probably in that library there and then it's a simple file that you can now easily move. So in my Home folder here if I go to Movies I can see my iMovie Library. If all I had in this is a single project with the clips for it I can easily rename it something that makes sense, the name of that project, and I can drag and drop it as a single file to an external drive. That's usually what we want to do when we finish an iMovie project. We are done with it. We've exported it. We've uploaded it to YouTube or shared it with friends. Now we can take that one library and put it on an archive drive. Store it there and create a new iMovie Library for the next project. You can also offload apps. So if I look here on Launchpad I can see all the apps I've got. I can click and hold and use the X here to uninstall an app. Any apps that you get from the App Store you can easily redownload. As a matter of fact if you go to the App Store and you look at your account by clicking there you can see apps that you've purchased and you've got ones, like these here, that I can redownload. It's really easy to redownload them. You don't have to pay again or anything like that. So if there's an app that you've got that's taking up a bunch of space then offload it for now. If you need it again you can download it. Even if it's from a third party website you usually can still redownload the app from that site. So you don't have to keep, say, PhotoShop around all the time if you only use it occasionally. You can get rid of it and download it again the next time you need it. Another thing that maybe taking up a lot of space is Mail. So you can check to see how much space Mail is using by going to About This Mac. Then Storage, Manage, and then looking on the side here for Mail. So if you find that's taking up a lot of space one thing you may want to do is consider using Web Base email instead. Now a lot of people, myself included, prefer a Mail App. But if your drive is full and you just need to cut down on ways that things are stored on your drive, then switching to using, you know, the gmail, or iCloud or any web interface for your mail is one option. In addition to using an archive drive to save files you can also archive files to some sort of server, like a Cloud Service. Now typically when you use a service like iCloud, DropBox, Goggle Drive, and so on the files are on your local drive and also on the server. You can set them to offload and it does it kind of automatically. But you can also use a Cloud Service just to have those files there. iCloud really doesn't work that way but other services allow you to do this. For instance, here I'm using Goggle Drive and I actually haven't installed any Goggle Drive app on my Mac. So if I take a file like this and drop it into Goggle Drive it's going to upload into Goggle Drive and guess what! That's not syncing to my Mac in any way. As soon as I get rid of this window it's just on the server. So I can upload files that I want and go back to Goggle Drive or OneDrive or DropBox or whatever and get to them. But now that it's up on the server I can delete it from my local drive. Now another way to use an external drive is to store files that you just don't have room for. For instance say you're not using a streaming music service but you're got tons of music files. Well you can store them on an external drive. They, of course, won't be available to you if that drive isn't attached. But if you go to Music, Preferences and then go to Files you'll see that you can turn Off Copy Files to Music Media folder when adding to library. That way you can have your music files on an external drive, Saved to Folders, and when you import them into the Music App the music stays on the external drive even though your library is updated to point to those files. You could also, of course, change where your music Media Folder is located. So you could select your external drive and when it does Copy them it actually puts them on the external drive instead of your internal ones. You can do the same thing with some other apps. For instance the TV app under Preferences also has the ability to not copy the files to the Media Folder or to change the Directory of the Media Folder as well. Now here's one final technique because if you've got an internal drive that's too small chances are even doing all of the stuff you're still going to go and keep hitting your limit. So you need to just do spring cleaning of your drive a lot more often than other people do. To do that go to About This Mac. Go to Storage. Click Manage. Then here it's going to give you a lot of tools here on the left for figuring out things that which are the largest files, which apps take up the most space, what extra things you may have like Music Creation Library and things like that. Plus it's going to give a list of recommendations here of things you can do to save space. You're going to need to do this on a regular basis to keep the drive's contents under control. So there are some ideas to deal with a small drive until you get your next Mac. Hope you found this useful. Thanks for watching. Related Subjects: iCloud (51 videos) Related Video Tutorials: 20 Ways To Free Up Disk Space On Your Mac Comments: 2 Responses to “10 Strategies for Dealing With a Small Hard Drive” chuck 2 years ago I've really dug deep and moved/gotten rid of as many gigs as possible it seems. Still unable to upgrade my OS because of space limitations. Aren't there some internal library files you can throw out that rebuild themselves over time? Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago chuck: Libraries? No, don't mess with those unless you know what you are doing. How about uninstalling some apps. Easy to reinstall them later. Comments Closed.