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How Much Space Does macOS Take On Your Mac?

Understand macOS size and analyze your Mac’s storage usage.

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Last updated: December 26, 2023

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TL;DR

Here are some rough estimates of how much space different macOS versions take on your Mac:

  1. macOS Sonoma: Requires 25 GB with a 12 GB installer.
  2. macOS Ventura: Requires 25-35 GB with a 12 GB installer.
  3. macOS Monterey: Takes about 30-40 GB with a 12.16 GB installer.
  4. macOS Big Sur: Needs 20-30 GB with a 12 GB installer.
  5. Older macOS Versions (Catalina, Mojave, High Sierra, Sierra): Generally require 8.8 GB to 18.5 GB with installers ranging from 4.8 GB to 6.5 GB.

The amount of space macOS takes up on your Mac can vary depending on the version of the operating system you’re running. Usually, the newer macOS versions take up more space on your computer than older ones. In this guide, I’ll share how much space does macOS take, how to check the space macOS is taking up on your Mac, and what you can do to free up space if necessary.

Before We Begin

Understanding how much space macOS takes on your Mac can help you better understand your computer’s storage usage. If you’re running out of space on your Mac, download MacKeeper and use its Safe Cleanup and Memory Cleaner to free up space and optimize system performance.

Check How Much Space Does macOS Take on Your Mac

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Monitoring how much space macOS takes on your Mac is essential. One way to check this is by using the Apple menu. It shows the amount of space used and free space available on your Mac’s hard drive. This information determines if you need to free up space or add storage to your Mac hard drive.

Follow these steps to check free and occupied storage space on your Mac:

  1. Click the Apple menu and select System Settings.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. Click General and select the Storage tab.
click general and select storage
  1. Here, you’ll see how much space does macOS take up on your drive, among other files.
mac storage consumption

How Much Space Does macOS Sonoma Take?

The macOS Sonoma installer is relatively compact, requiring just 12GB. However, for a successful installation over your current macOS version, you must have a minimum of 25GB of free space available on your Mac.

How Much Space Does macOS Ventura Need? 

macOS Ventura requires a substantial amount of storage for smooth installation and operation. The installer file itself is slightly over 12GB in size. However, it may report different space requirements, such as 12.97 GB, 13.22 GB, or 13.56 GB.

As a general guideline, you should have at least double the installer size in free storage space. This means around 24GB should be available before starting the installation.

For a basic macOS Ventura 13.0 system, the boot volume group typically occupies around 15.14 GB of disk space, although there might be some variation. The System Storage Volume (SSV) can range between 8.83 and 10.14 GB, offset by discrepancies in other volumes. Each boot disk may use an additional 2.95-3.68 GB of storage, possibly in hidden containers.

For a basic macOS Ventura 13.0 installation and subsequent updates to version 13.1, a minimum disk size of 33 GB is necessary to provide at least 14 GB of free space. However, for a more comfortable experience, opt for a 40 GB disk with a minimum of 20 GB of free space.

How Much Space Do You Need for macOS Monterey?

The macOS Monterey installer is a sizable 12.16GB download. After installation, macOS Monterey occupies about 15.24GB of disk space. The OS requires a minimum of 5-10GB for temporary data creation, which it classifies as System Data.

Minor macOS Monterey version updates, or point updates, are 2-5GB downloads containing essential security enhancements, performance improvements, and bug fixes. The installation process for these updates also requires roughly the same amount of additional storage.

You can obtain the macOS Monterey installer through the integrated Software Update tool or the Mac App Store. However, you’ll need additional storage during installation.

Apple recommends the following:

  • You need 22GB in total if upgrading from macOS Sierra or a later release
  • You need 44GB of free space if upgrading from OS X El Capitan or earlier

In any case, it’s always wise to have several GBs more than the recommended amount to minimize potential issues during the macOS Monterey upgrade process.

How Much Space Does Your Mac Need for macOS Big Sur?

The macOS Big Sur installer file is approximately 12GB in size. In general, you should have at least 35-45GB of free storage space on your Mac before attempting to install macOS Big Sur.

However, it is recommended to have additional storage space on your Mac to accommodate the installation and smooth operation of the system.

Having extra space ensures there is enough room for the installer file, the operating system itself, as well as any additional files and updates required during the installation process.

Keep in mind that individual usage and system configurations may require more or less space, so it’s always a good idea to have some extra storage available.

How Much Space Do Older macOS Versions Take?

While older macOS releases do not provide exact storage requirements, they generally consume between 10 and 15GB of space after installation.

Upgrading or downgrading your Mac to an older macOS version, such as macOS 10.15 Catalina, macOS 10.14 Mojave, macOS 10.13 High Sierra, or macOS 10.12 Sierra, can be a smart move for various reasons.

However, it’s important to know how much space each version requires to ensure a smooth transition.

1. Storage Requirements for macOS Catalina

macOS 10.15 Catalina demands 4.9GB of free space for downloading, with additional requirements of 12.5GB if upgrading from OS X El Capitan or later and 18.5GB if upgrading from OS X Yosemite or earlier versions.

2. Storage Requirements for macOS Mojave

To install macOS 10.14 Mojave, users need 6.5GB of storage for downloading the installer. Upgrading from OS X El Capitan or later requires 12.5GB of free space while upgrading from OS X Yosemite or earlier necessitates 18.5 GB.

3. Storage Requirements for macOS High Sierra

macOS 10.13 High Sierra has a 4.8GB installer file size and needs a minimum of 14.3GB in total free space for installation. Users can upgrade to High Sierra from OS X Mountain Lion or later versions.

4. Storage Requirements for macOS Sierra

The macOS 10.12 Sierra installer has a file size of 5.01GB, and 8.8GB of free space is required to complete the installation process. Upgrading from OS X Snow Leopard or earlier versions is possible.

Free Up Space on Your Mac Using MacKeeper

It’s best not to wait for a big macOS update to free up space on your Mac. Doing so can make your Mac slow and less efficient. Try to keep 10-20% of your Mac’s storage free to keep it running smoothly and MacKeeper can help with this.

Here’s how to use MacKeeper features to free up space on your Mac.

1. Delete Unused Applications

If you have applications installed that you don’t use, consider uninstalling them to free up storage space. Using Mackeeper, you can easily uninstall unnecessary apps on your Mac, improving the performance of your computer.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Download and install MacKeeper on your Mac.
  2. Open Mackeeper and click the Smart Uninstaller tab.
click smart uninstaller in the left sidebar
  1. Click the Start Scan option.
click start scan in smart uninstaller
  1. MacKeeper will analyze your apps and display a list of all the apps installed on your Mac.
  2. To uninstall an application, click the checkbox next to its name and tap Remove Selected.
select the applications you want to remove and click remove selected
  1. MacKeeper will ask you to confirm that you want to uninstall the selected applications. Click Remove to proceed.
click remove on the pop up window in smart uninstaller
  1. MacKeeper will begin the uninstallation process and will show you the progress as it goes.
  2. Once the uninstallation process is complete, it will display a Removal Completed message letting you know the application has been uninstalled. Click Rescan to start the process again.
click rescan in smart uninstaller

2. Delete Duplicate Files

MacKeeper can help you go through your files and delete any duplicates that you no longer need. It includes documents, photos, and videos. Here are the steps to delete duplicate files on Mac using MacKeeper:

  1. Download and install MacKeeper on your Mac.
  2. Open MacKeeper and click the Duplicates Finder option in the left-hand menu.
click duplicates finder in mackeeper under cleaning
  1. Click Start Scan.
click start scan in duplicates finder
  1. MacKeeper will analyze your files and display a list of all the duplicate files.
  2. To delete a duplicate file, click the checkbox next to its name. If you want to delete multiple duplicate files, click the Check All box and tap the Remove Selected button.
click check all and tap remove selected
  1. MacKeeper will ask you to confirm that you want to delete the selected duplicate files. Click Remove to proceed.
click remove on the pop up window in duplicates finder
  1. Once the deletion process is complete, MacKeeper will display a Removal Completed message. Click Finish to close the program.
click finish in duplicates finder to complete the process

3. Clear Cache on Mac

Clearing the cache on your Mac can improve its speed and free up space on your hard drive. Here’s how you can quickly clear the cache on your Mac using the MacKeeper app:

  1. Download and install MacKeeper on your Mac.
  2. Launch MacKeeper and go to the Safe Cleanup tab.
click safe cleanup under the cleaning section
  1. Click Start Scan and wait for the results.
click start scan in safe cleanup
  1. Review the items you want to remove. Select them individually or click Check All.
select junk files to remove or click check all
  1. Next, click Clean Junk Files.
tap clean junk files
  1. You’ll get a Cleaning Completed notification on your screen. Click Continue to repeat the process.
click rescan to scan the system again

What Else Can MacKeeper Do?

Besides freeing up space on your Mac, MacKeeper can check your Mac for malware, update apps on your Mac, and block ads on your Mac browsers. Check out my detailed MacKeeper review to learn about these amazing features.

Make Enough Space on Your Mac

Knowing how much space macOS takes up on your Mac can help you plan for future upgrades and much more. So, here are some tips for keeping your Mac storage under control:

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the typical amount of space macOS takes up on a Mac?

    The typical amount of space that macOS takes up on a Mac varies depending on the macOS version and the specific Mac model. Generally, newer versions of macOS require more space than older versions.

  2. Can you uninstall macOS from a Mac to free up space? 

    No, you cannot uninstall macOS from a Mac to free up space. However, you can reinstall macOS to remove unnecessary files and free up space on your hard drive. Remember that reinstalling macOS will erase all of your data, so be sure to back up your important files before doing so.

  3. How much space is available on my Mac? 

    To check how much space is available on your Mac, click the Apple menu in the top-left corner of the screen and select System Settings. Then, click the General tab and select Storage to see how much space is available on your hard drive.

  4. What happens if I run out of space on my Mac? 

    If you run out of space on your Mac, it can lead to performance issues such as slow startup times, slow application launch times, and even crashes. In addition, you may not be able to save new files or install new applications.

Hashir Ibrahim

Author

I'm Hashir, a tech journalist with a decade of experience. My work has been featured in some of the top tech publications like MakeUseOf and MakeTechEasier. I have a bachelor's degree in IT, a master's in cybersecurity, and extensive knowledge of Apple hardware, specifically MacBooks. As the senior writer at MacBook Journal, I write in depth guides that help you solve any issues you have with your mac and unbiased reviews that help you make the right buying decisions.

Ojash

Reviewer

Hi there! I'm Ojash, a tech journalist with over a decade of experience in the industry. I've had the privilege of contributing to some of the world's largest tech publications, making my mark as a respected Mac expert. My passion lies in exploring, using, and writing about MacBooks, and I enjoy sharing my expertise to help others make informed decisions and get the most out of their MacBook experience. Join me as we delve into the fascinating world of MacBooks together!

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