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How to Clear System Data on Your Mac: 12 Easy Methods

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Last updated: September 6, 2023

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Are you tired of waiting for your Mac to boot up or for applications to launch? Over time, your Mac accumulates files and caches, including temporary files, logs, and other data, that can slow down its speed and take up valuable storage space.

Regularly clearing system data on your Mac can solve these issues and optimize your computer’s performance. But how to clear system data on your Mac? I have gathered some easy methods to help you out with this. Let’s explore it together.

Before We Begin

System files can quickly become a significant burden on your computer’s storage space and performance. They can contain sensitive information, such as browsing history, saved passwords, and other personal data, posing a risk if not properly cleared. MacKeeper enters here to help you out instantly by clearing caches, removing unnecessary applications, and running virus scans

What is System Data on Mac?

mac storage and system data

System data on Mac refers to the files and data essential for the proper functioning of the macOS operating system. It helps maintain the stability and performance of your Mac by allowing the operating system to run smoothly and efficiently.

With macOS Ventura update, Apple has introduced changes to the storage categories. The Other storage category has been replaced by a new tab called System Data. Additionally, there is a separate tab called macOS that encompasses all files and data related to the macOS system.

So, what exactly does the System Data tab include? Here’s a list:

Storage CategoryDescription
Application leftoversFiles that stay in the system even after you uninstall an application
Temp files and cacheCache files used by apps, browsers, and the system
Disk imagesInstaller files for applications
Plug-ins and extensionsTools used to customize apps and web browsers

In essence, System Data encompasses all those items that do not fit into the macOS category. This includes archives, miscellaneous files, and various other elements that contribute to the overall storage usage.

It is important to note that deleting or modifying system data without proper knowledge or expertise can cause serious issues with Mac’s performance and stability.

Why Clear System Data on Your Mac?

Over time, system data can accumulate and take up valuable storage space on your Mac, leading to slower performance. Clearing this data can free up space and improve your device’s speed.

Here are some more reasons to clear system data on your Mac:

  • 🔍 Free up Storage Space: System data can accumulate on your Mac and take up valuable storage space over time. Clearing out unnecessary system data can free up space for more important files.
  • 💻 Improve Performance: Clearing system data can also improve the performance of your Mac. The more cluttered your system data is, the slower your computer may run.
  • 🔒 Enhance Privacy: Some system data may contain sensitive information, such as browsing history or saved passwords. Clearing this data can protect your privacy and prevent others from accessing your personal information.
  • 🛠️ Resolve Software Issues: If you’re experiencing software issues or errors, clearing system data may resolve them. It is because some system data can become corrupted or outdated, which can cause problems with your Mac’s performance.
  • 👨‍💻 Maintain a Healthy System: Clearing out old and unnecessary system data is important to maintaining a healthy and efficient computer system. Regularly clearing out this data can keep your Mac running smoothly for years to come.

Clear System Data on Your Mac Using MacKeeper

You can easily clear out unnecessary system data on your Mac using MacKeeper. It can help improve performance, free up storage space, enhance privacy, and maintain a healthy and efficient system.

To clear system data on your Mac using MacKeeper, you can follow these simple steps:

  1. Download and install MacKeeper on your Mac.
  1. Launch the app and open Safe Cleanup from MacKeeper’s Cleaning section.
click safe cleanup under the cleaning section 4
  1. Click Start Scan.
click start scan 3
  1. Select the files you want to remove, such as logs and caches, or click Check All.
select junk files to remove or click check all 4
  1. Click Clean Junk Files.
tap clean junk files 4
  1. Wait for MacKeeper to remove the selected system data. It may take some time, depending on how much data needs to be deleted.
  2. Once the selected junk files are removed from your Mac, you can click Rescan to repeat the process.
click rescan to scan the system again 1

You can also use MacKeeper for removing unnecessary applications to clear system data on your Mac. Here’s how you can uninstall unnecessary applications using MacKeeper:

  1. Download and install MacKeeper on your Mac.
  2. After installation, launch MacKeeper and click the Smart Uninstaller in the left-hand menu.
click smart uninstaller in the left sidebar 2
  1. Click Start Scan.
click start scan in smart uninstaller 1
  1. Select the applications you want to delete from the list and click Remove Selected.
select the applications you want to remove and click remove selected
  1. Tap the Remove button on the pop-up to confirm the deletion.
click remove on the pop up window in smart uninstaller 2
  1. MacKeeper will uninstall the apps and remove associated files and folders. You will get a Removal Completed notification. If you want to scan your Mac again, click Rescan.
click rescan in smart uninstaller 3

What Else Can MacKeeper Do?

Besides uninstalling apps on your Mac, MacKeeper can delete junk files on your Mac, remove duplicates, and run virus scans to protect your Mac from malware. Check out my detailed MacKeeper review to know more about its features.

10 Easy Methods to Clear System Data on Your Mac

Clearing system data on a Mac can be a complex process, as many different types of data need to be cleared, and various methods for doing so.

Below, I’ve shared simple and safe ways to clear system data on your Mac.

1. Clear Cache and Temporary Files

The applications on your Mac create cache and temporary files and store them on your system to speed up performance. However, these files can accumulate over time and slow down your device. By regularly clearing cache files, you can significantly improve your Mac’s speed and performance.

Here’s how to clear temp files on your Mac:

  1. Open Finder, click Go in the top menu bar, and select Go to Folder.
click go in the menu bar and select go to folder
  1. A pop-up box will appear with an empty search bar. Type the following path into the search bar and press Enter:
~/Library/Caches/
type library cache path in the search bar
  1. This will open the Caches folder. Here, select the folder for the system data you want to clear.
  2. Right-click the files and select Move to Bin.
right click system folders and select move to bin
  1. Permanently delete the cache from your Mac by right-clicking the Bin icon and selecting Empty the Bin.
right click the bin and select empty bin

2. Remove Old iOS Backups

If you have backed up your iOS devices on your Mac, those backups can take up a significant amount of space. You should always remove them when you don’t need them.

Here’s how to remove old iOS backups:

  1. Open iTunes on your Mac.
  2. Click iTunes in the menu bar and select Settings.
  3. Click on the Devices tab.
  4. Select the backup you want to delete and click Delete Backup.

3. Delete Old Email Attachments

When you don’t delete Email attachments for a longer time, they can also take up space on your Mac. They make your Mac heavy, and it lags then.

Here’s how to delete old email attachments on your Mac:

  1. Open the Mail app on your Mac.
open the mail app on your mac by clicking the mail icon in the dock
  1. Click Mailbox in the menu bar and select Erase Deleted Items.
click on the mailbox menu and select erase deleted items
  1. Click Mailbox in the menu bar again and select Rebuild.
click mailbox and select rebuild

4. Clear System Logs

Clearing system logs using the console is a safe and effective way to free up space on your Mac’s hard drive. However, be sure to only clear logs you no longer need, as some logs may be important for troubleshooting issues on your Mac.

Here’s how to clear system logs on your Mac:

  1. Open the Console app on your Mac.
launch console from utilities
  1. Click All Messages at the top of the app.
click the all messages button
  1. Click Action in the menu bar, and select Clear from the drop-down menu.
click action and select clear
  1. This will remove system logs from your Mac.

5. Clear Browser Cache

Browser cache files are temporary files on your Mac by your web browser. Clearing them can help you free up space on your Mac’s space and your browsing speed.

Below, I’ve shared how to clear the browser cache on Safari, Google Chrome, and Firefox.

a. Clear Safari Cache

Here’s how to clear Safari cache on Mac:

  1. Open Safari, click Safari in the menu bar at the top of the screen, and select Settings.
click safari and select settings 1
  1. Select the Privacy tab and tap the Manage Website Data button.
select the privacy tab and tap the manage website data button
  1. Click Remove All to clear all website cookies completely.
click remove all
  1. Alternatively, you can select individual websites and tap Remove.
select a website and click remove
  1. Click Done when you have deleted all cache files.

b. Clear Chrome Cache

Follow these steps to clear Chrome cache on your Mac:

  1. Open Chrome and click the three dots at your display’s top right corner.
click the three dots in google chrome
  1. Select More tools from the drop-down menu, followed by Clear browsing data…
click more tools and select clear browsing data
  1. A pop-up window will appear. Select the Cached images and files option and other data you want to clear. Also, select a Time range at the top.
check cookies and site data and cached web content and tap clear
  1. Now click Clear data to remove these items from your browser.
click clear data
  1. You have successfully cleared your browser cache on Chrome.

c. Clear Firefox Cache

Here’s how to clear Firefox cache on Mac:

  1. Open Firefox and click the three horizontal lines in the top right corner.
click the three horizontal lines in firefox
  1. Select Settings from the drop-down menu.
select settings from the menu
  1. In the Settings window, click Privacy & Security in the left sidebar, scroll down the right pane, and click Clear Data… under Cookies and Site Data.
click privacy security in the left sidebar and click clear data button
  1. Check the boxes next to Cookies and Site Data and Cached Web Content, and tap the Clear button.
check the cookies and site data and cached web content boxes and tap clear
  1. Your Firefox browser cache will now be cleared.

6. Remove Old Time Machine Backups

One of the simplest methods to clear system data on a Mac involves removing Time Machine backups. Surprisingly, even though Time Machine backups are typically stored on external or network drives, macOS also maintains a duplicate copy of the backup on the startup drive.

Ideally, macOS should automatically delete Time Machine backups when the Mac’s storage space is limited. However, this may not always happen as intended. So, if you wish to delete system data on a Mac by removing Time Machine backups, follow the steps below.

Keep in mind that this action will erase the local copies of your backups. So, don’t do it if you may need them in the future.

  1. Open Terminal from the Utilities folder in Applications.
launch terminal from utilities
  1. In the Terminal window, type the following command and press Enter:
sudo tmutil delete /path/to/backup

Replace /path/to/backup with the actual path to the Time Machine backup you want to remove. For example, if the backup is located in an external hard drive called BackupDrive, the command would be:

sudo tmutil delete /Volumes/BackupDrive/Backups.backupdb/ComputerName/YYYY-MM-DD-HHMMSS

Replace ComputerName with the name of your Mac and YYYY-MM-DD-HHMMSS with the specific backup date and time.

  1. You’ll be prompted to enter your admin password. Type it and press Enter.
  2. Terminal will start deleting the Time Machine backup. This process may take some time, depending on the size of the backup.

7. Clear Application Logs and Support Files

Applications generate numerous files that contribute to enhancing your experience while using them. However, when you uninstall an application, there is a possibility that residual files associated with the app remain on your Mac.

Here’s how you can check and clear application logs and support files on Mac:

  1. Open a Finder window.
click finder in your dock
  1. Click Go in the menu bar and select Go to Folder.
click go in the menu bar and select go to folder
        1. In the dialog box, type the following path and press Enter:
        ~/Library/Application Support
        type library application support
        1. In the Library folder, look for folders related to specific applications or developers and delete them if you no longer need the associated logs and support files.
        select unnecessary folders and remove them

        8. Clean Up Your Downloads Folder

        The Downloads folder on your Mac is often a repository for files and documents you accumulate over time. From downloaded applications and images to PDFs and archived files, it can quickly become cluttered and disorganized. Cleaning up your Downloads folder helps you regain valuable storage space and a more streamlined digital workspace.

        Here’s how to delete downloads on your Mac:

        1. Open the Finder application on your Mac by clicking the Finder icon in your Dock.
        click finder in your dock
        1. Navigate to the Downloads folder on your Mac. You can find it in the left sidebar of Finder.
        click downloads in the left sidebar of finder
        1. Select the files or folders you want to delete. You can select multiple items by holding down the Command ⌘ key and clicking each item.
        macbook pro command key
        1. Move the items to the Bin by pressing Command ⌘ + Delete on your keyboard or dragging the selected items to the Bin icon in the Dock. You can also right-click the selected files and select Move to Bin from the context menu.
        right click the files and select move to bin
        1. Once you have deleted the items, they will be moved to the Bin. To permanently delete the items, empty the Bin by right-clicking the Bin icon and selecting Empty Bin.
        right click the bin and select empty bin

        Be careful when deleting downloads on your Mac, as they will be permanently deleted once you empty the Bin.

        9. Browse System Folders

        Another effective method is to investigate the specific files designated as System Data. Anything stored within your Mac’s System or Library folders falls under this category. To explore these folders, follow these steps:

        1. Open a Finder window.
        click finder in your dock
        1. Click Go menu in Finder and select Go to Folder.
        click go in the menu bar and select go to folder
        1. Now, paste the following paths individually:
        /Library
        /System
        ~/Library
        ~/System
        1. Navigate through the subfolders within each path and press Command + I to access the Get Info window, where you can assess the data size.
        get info window

        Exercise caution if you decide to manually manage System Data and avoid haphazardly deleting cache files or folders.

        10. Optimize Your Storage on Mac

        To optimize storage on your Mac, you can follow these steps:

        1. Open the Apple menu in the top-left corner of the screen and select About This Mac.
        click apple icon and select about this mac
        1. Click More Info.
        click more info
        1. In the new window, click the Storage Settings button.
        click the storage settings button
        1. You’ll see several options to optimize your storage under Recommendations.
        recommendations in system storage
        1. Here are some key features you can utilize:
          • Store in iCloud: This option allows you to offload files, photos, and messages to iCloud, saving local storage space. You can access these files whenever you need them.
          • Empty Bin automatically: When enabled, this option automatically removes files that have been in the Trash for 30 days.
        2. Go through each option and enable the ones that suit your preferences and storage needs. You can revisit this window periodically to manage your storage and make adjustments as necessary.

        Final Words

        Clearing system data on a Mac can free up storage space, improve performance, enhance privacy, resolve software issues, and maintain a healthy system. Here are some more tips related to optimizing your Mac’s performance:

        • Apart from clearing caches, you can also clear cookies from browsers to secure your Mac and free up space.
        • Organize your files on Mac to keep clutter from burdening your system resources and have it running without lag or crashes.
        • Consider using a system cleaning tool to automate clearing out system data. You can install and activate MacKeeper for this purpose.

        Frequently Asked Questions

        1. Can clearing system data harm my Mac? 

          Clearing system data doesn’t harm your system if you follow proper instructions and not delete necessary system files. It can improve the performance and health of your Mac, as it frees up storage space and removes outdated or corrupted files.

        2. How often should I clear system data on my Mac? 

          You should clear system data on your Mac regularly, like every few months or when your Mac’s performance is slowing down. However, it’s also important not to overdo it and only delete unnecessary files.

        3. Will clearing system data delete my personal files? 

          No, clearing system data should not delete your personal files or documents. However, it’s important to ensure you are only deleting unnecessary system files, not any important ones.

        4. What happens if I accidentally delete a necessary system file? 

          If you accidentally delete a necessary system file, it can cause issues with your Mac’s performance or even prevent it from booting up properly. So, be careful when deleting system data and only delete files that are safe to remove. If you’re unsure, it’s best to seek professional help.

        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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