4 Common Q&As About Clearing Mac Storage Space

4 Common Q&As About Clearing Mac Storage Space

When clearing storage space on a Mac, which files can be safely deleted and what causes certain files to be undeletable? MOTEX Lab has compiled 4 common QA for clearing storage space on a Mac to help you identify and solve common issues before expanding your Mac's capacity.

Q1. In Mac storage management, "System" takes up too much space?

If the "System" section takes up too much space, it may be due to file errors that can be fixed through "macOS Recovery". The following are the steps to resolve this issue:
Step 1. Hold down the Command (⌘) and R keys at startup until the options appear, then select "Disk Utility."
Step 2. Starting from the last volume on the disk, click "Repair Disk" in the upper right corner to perform disk repair.
(Step 1 is applicable to MacBooks with Intel processors. For models with Apple processors, the method to call up "macOS Recovery" is to hold down the power button at startup and click "Options" and "Continue" in order when "Startup Options" appears.)


Q2. How to clean up "Other" files in Mac storage space?

Files that cannot be identified or classified into documents, system, or iCloud Drive by macOS are uniformly labeled as "Other" in the storage space section. They include files from macOS or applications, such as system cache files, disk image files or archive files, and data created and stored by apps in the system. If the "Other" section takes up too much space, you can use Spotlight to search for file names such as "*.mp4, *.PSD, *.PDF, *.doc" and consider deleting them.


Q3. How to clean up storage space on a Mac? Which files can be directly deleted?

Many users have the need to clean up storage space on their Macs, but are unsure which files can be safely deleted. MOTEX Lab will introduce the attributes of these files and the methods for removing them.

(1) Application cache files: delete by entering the path

Cache files exist in the storage space of a Mac and are intended to speed up the opening of apps each time. The method for cleaning them up is to open Spotlight or enter "~/Library/Application Support" in the Finder search bar. This will list all of the cache files for all applications, including those for existing or previously removed apps. Simply delete them all to free up more space in your Mac's storage.

(2) Old iOS backup files: delete through Finder

Finder acts as the file manager for a Mac, and by entering "/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/" in the search field of the menu bar, the system will list all backup data for iOS devices. If you want to search manually, you can open Finder, click General, then Manage Backups, and delete the old backup files.

(3) Safari browser cache: Delete after enabling permission

When cleaning up storage space on a Mac, you can also clean up Safari's cache files, but this function is hidden by default and requires the following steps to delete the browser's cache files.

Step 1. Open Safari and click on "Preferences" in the top left corner.

Step 2. Click on "Advanced" and check "Show Develop menu in menu bar."

Step 3. Click on "Develop" in the menu bar and select "Empty Caches."


(4) Local Snapshots: Delete from Time Machine

The purpose of local snapshots is to keep backups of each disk change and can be stored in storage space through Time Machine. Although Apple states that local snapshots do not take up too much storage space and will be automatically deleted after 24 hours, generating more local snapshots if a document is modified multiple times within a day. When cleaning up storage space on a Mac, you may want to manually delete these snapshots, which can be done by following these steps:

Time Machine menu > Time Machine Preferences > uncheck "Back Up Automatically" and wait a few minutes to delete local snapshots.


Q4. What should I do if I can't delete files when cleaning up storage space on Mac?

The reason why some files cannot be deleted smoothly is usually that macOS is running these apps. You can use "Activity Monitor" to end the background operation of the app before deleting the file. Activity Monitor lists all the apps running or running in the background on your Mac. If you encounter a situation where a file cannot be deleted when cleaning up storage space on your Mac, you can first go to Activity Monitor to close the running app. The path is as follows:

Open "Activity Monitor" from the Launchpad, enter the app name in the search bar in the upper right corner, click the app in the list, and click "Quit" and "Force Quit" in order.

Another situation is that the proportion of the entire disk space is too high and the files cannot be deleted smoothly. In this case, you need to use "Safe Mode" and "macOS Recovery" to repair and clean up the disk.


We have explained the 4 common Q&As for clearing Mac storage space, which can help users solve difficulties in cleaning and make full use of Mac storage space management tools to regularly clear more available space, making the overall operation smoother. However, as the usage time increases and the operating requirements become more complex and diverse, insufficient storage space will also reduce the speed of page switching and file opening. Therefore, it is recommended to have a professional expand the capacity of the Mac. MOTEX Lab has experienced technicians and can upgrade or replace SSD with delicate techniques, safely remove the original SSD or HDD, and properly install the new one, making the components and wiring intact and restoring the Mac's excellent operating efficiency!

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