Quick Tips to Free Up Disk Space on a Mac

Your Mac running slower than usual? It happens to the best of us — which is why everyone should know how to declutter and free up disk space on their Mac. Not only will this speed up your computer, it’s also a great opportunity to organize your files.

Do a deep Mac clean

The first step to helping your Mac run faster is to clean up as much disk space as possible. Over its operating life, a computer collects a bunch of unnecessary data. To get back to peak performance, you’ll need to free up space on your hard drive. Manually removing old files and applications is a chore, and often doesn’t get to the root of the problem. 

Here’s how to really clean up your Mac:

  1. Clear Caches
    Your macOS, your apps, and your browser all use a shortcut called “caching” to run faster. But over time, those caches fill up with useless information that bogs down your computer. You can clear your caches manually, but it’s more involved and you risk tossing out something important. It’s far easier to use a cleanup app like CleanMyMac, available through Setapp, which can safely and thoroughly clear your caches.
    Clear cache files
  2. Eliminate Hidden Trash
    Another source of system-slowing junk is email and text attachments. Even if you don’t download an attachment, your desktop mail client holds onto a version so that it can show you previews and access the file more easily. “But I deleted that email!” you say. Often that’s not enough—these downloads can hang around long after the original email is gone. It’s possible to clean them out manually, but the far faster and easier option is to use CleanMyMac.
    Clean up hidden trash
  3. Delete Duplicates
    With many applications, especially photo and music managers, it can be easy to duplicate large files without realizing it. There’s no reason to give disc space to three copies of the same photo. Gemini, an innovative cleanup app, is built to help you find and eliminate duplicate files on your hard drive. Even better, it can identify near-identical files as well, giving you an easy way to delete the slightly shaky versions of your vacation snaps in one convenient window.
    Delete duplicate files and folders
  4. Uninstall Old and Useless Apps
    A dedicated app can also help clean up old downloads and installers once and for all. Dragging them to the recycling bin and emptying it isn’t enough—these files are still recoverable and still take up space on your desktop. CleanMyMac offers both an uninstaller and a file shredder that can completely eliminate all traces of an app. This is a much more efficient way to clean up your hard drive.
    Delete useless apps

Speed up your Mac

Once you’ve swept the junk data from your Mac by deleting large and old files, the next step is to capitalize on the space you freed up with your disk cleanup.

  1. Stay Informed: 
    One crucial change you can make is to start monitoring your Mac’s disk usage and other vital statistics. There are a number of easy, intuitive apps that will give you a clear rundown of how well your machine is running. iStat Menus can provide you with real-time information about which applications are using the most disk space and when you might be due for another cleanup.
    Keep an eye on Mac performance
  2. Dig Deep: analyze your Mac's disk space
    Keeping your Mac running quickly and efficiently sometimes requires a little digging. Disk Drill offers both a safe way to backup your files and a robust set of tools to analyze your disk space. Not only can the app highlight files that put unnecessary strain on your storage, it can also detect damaged files and help restore them. The more information you have at your fingertips, the better!
    Deep analyze with Disk Drill

Organize your files

They say a messy desk is the sign of a troubled mind. This may be true for desktops as well. You can free up all the disk space in the world, but it won’t matter much if you can’t make sense of your files. Fortunately, you have several options that can give order to both your desktop and your file system.

  1. Desktop Decluttering
    Apps like Declutter can help you consolidate and organize your files in a sensible, straightforward way. Like Finder, it allows you to make color-coded folders. Unlike finder, it lets you set up rules for filing, so that files of certain types automatically end up in the right place. Once you configure your Decluttered desktop, it’s easy to keep it that way.
    Declutter your Mac desktop
  2. Managing Files
    Organizing your desktop is half the battle, but you’ll also want to make sure your underlying file management makes sense. You can customize your Mac’s Finder as much as you like, but there are also more tailored options. Forklift is an especially robust option, featuring easy previews and a dual pane setup. This lets you compare texts, images, and even video previews side by side. It also works seamlessly between local drives and remote servers.
    Organize your data

You deserve a faster Mac

By eliminating both hard disk and desktop clutter, you’ll improve your Mac’s performance as well as your own workflow. Plus, Setapp’s decluttering, disk cleanup, and analysis apps help you complete what would be a tedious chore in just a few clicks. There’s no telling how much time and effort you’ll save by giving yourself (and your Mac) a break.

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