How To Figure Out What Is Taking Up Space On Your Mac

When you Mac's hard drive is almost full, you can investigate and figure out what is using the space by simply using the Finder. There is no need to buy a third-party app to manage your hard drive. You start at the top and view all of your folders, digging down to see what is using the most space. Then you'll need to make some decisions about what to remove from yoru drive, being care to only remove files you don't need.

Comments: 15 Responses to “How To Figure Out What Is Taking Up Space On Your Mac”

    Ron Housley
    5 months ago

    I’m surprised that you didn’t suggest opening “About My Mac” and then looking at the “Storage” tab and then selecting “Manage” to see pretty much the same thing. I see where one can even delete an item right from there, or can check it out in Finder first….. am interested to hear why you steered away from that approach — is there a disadvantage or precaution to doing it that way?

    5 months ago

    Ron: That technique tells you what kind of things take up space. But in the case of files, you can’t see what to delete or how it relates to other things. You need to go to the actual files to do that. Many people do what you suggest but they then don’t know what to do after seeing the information.

    Karl
    5 months ago

    Gary, I download podcasts to my iPhone so I can listen to them without streaming and using data. However, I noticed they’re also downloading to my Mac. How I stop that from happening? Thanks

    5 months ago

    Karl: In iTunes (Mojave) select a podcast from the list, click the settings button (looks like a gear), and set downloading to off for that podcast. Repeat for all of your subscriptions.

    Karl
    5 months ago

    Gary, there’s also a Defaults button at the bottom of the screen that you can set all podcasts not to download. I just found that as well. Thanks

    Nick
    5 months ago

    hi Gary
    I noticed that in Launchpad, when clicking and holding on an icon reveals an X only on certain apps, meaning that I can remove it by clicking on that X. I assume that if an X does not show up, then I simply delete that app from the Application folder? (assuming there’s no uninstall program). – Great tips as usual :)

    Jean-Claude
    5 months ago

    I don’t have the “Show Library Folder” option in “Show View Options”.

    5 months ago

    Nick: LaunchPad only lets you uninstall items installed through the App Store. Otherwise, I would first look for an uninstaller. Then I would search the developer’s site for an uninstaller, and then uninstall instructions if they don’t have one. Only after exhausting those possibilities would I just delete the app.

    Golda
    5 months ago

    Hi there Gary,
    My desktop iMac is six yrs old and very full. I run iTunes on an external hard drive. I run iPhoto on an external hard drive. I have an 8 Gb back up for the whole system. I have run out of ports to plug in more hard drives. I clean up trash once a month. Is a new desk top the answer for more space? There is nothing wrong with my iMac apart from the fact that it is very full. Thank you.

    Jean-Claude
    5 months ago

    Gary, never mind my previous comment. I found out that the option only shows up when I have my home folder selected in the Finder side bar.

    Gene
    5 months ago

    Another great video. Do you know why Apple hasn’t documented in Help each and every feature/function?

    5 months ago

    Golda: What size are your internal drives? Have you taken a good inventory through your folders and drives to see what is using all this space?

    5 months ago

    Gene: Most of it is documented. Have you looked through the Help?

    bruce holland
    5 months ago

    Hi Gary
    This video is just what I needed. Thank you! In my applications folder I have both iphoto and Photos apps. Is it safe to delete the iphoto app?

    5 months ago

    Bruce: as long as you don’t need it to access any old iPhoto libraries you never converted to Photos, yes.

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