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How to Optimize Storage on Your Mac: 10 Best Ways

Maximize space with effective Mac storage solutions.

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Last updated: December 20, 2023

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TL;DR

To optimize storage on your Mac, try the following methods:

  1. Remove unnecessary files, use macOS storage management, and empty the Bin to free up space.
  2. Delete duplicate photos to save space.
  3. Use the Optimise Mac Storage option under iCloud settings to automatically manage space.
  4. Store files in iCloud to free up local storage.
  5. Uninstall apps you don’t use to save space.

Running out of storage space on your Mac can be frustrating, especially when you have important files to store. But there are plenty of ways to optimize your Mac’s storage and maximize its capacity. In this guide, I’ll walk you through the steps to optimize storage on your Mac and give it a much-needed boost.

Before We Begin

Optimized storage ensures your Mac performs at its best. Download MacKeeper and use its optimization features to free up valuable storage space on your Mac and improve system speed.

How to Check Storage Space on Your Mac

Checking your Mac’s storage space is essential to optimizing its performance. Regularly doing it allows you to determine how much space is being used and identify areas where you can free up space.

Here’s how to check your storage space on Mac:

  1. Click the Apple menu and select About This Mac from the drop-down menu.
click apple icon and select about this mac
  1. Click More Info on the window.
click more info
  1. In the About window, scroll down to the Storage section and tap the Storage Settings button.
click the storage settings button
  1. You will see a breakdown of the storage space used by different categories, such as apps, documents, and photos. 
mac storage consumption

Using this method, you can easily check your Mac’s storage space and take the necessary steps to optimize it for better performance. Below, I’ve shared some tried and tested methods to optimize Mac storage.

Optimize Storage on Your Mac Easily With MacKeeper

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MacKeeper is a comprehensive utility software for Mac operating systems that offers various tools and features to help users optimize and maintain their Macs. You can use the following features to optimize storage on your Mac without any hassle.

1. Clear Your Mac Using Safe Cleanup

For a quick fix, Safe Cleanup instantly removes junk files, including caches and logs, without risking important data. It’s my go-to for a quick and safe cleanup, perfect for when I’m in a hurry.

Here’s how to clear the cache on your Mac using Safe Cleanup:

  1. Download and install MacKeeper. 
  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 Rescan to repeat the process.
click rescan to scan the system again

2. Remove Apps Using Smart Uninstaller

Uninstalling unused applications is key to freeing up space on Mac. MacKeeper’s Smart Uninstaller not only removes the apps but also any related files that often get left behind, ensuring a clean removal.

Here’s how to uninstall any app on Mac using MacKeeper:

  1. Download and install MacKeeper.
  2. Launch MacKeeper and navigate to the Smart Uninstaller under Cleaning.
click smart uninstaller in the left sidebar
  1. Click Start Scan.
click start scan in smart uninstaller
  1. Wait for the scan to complete, click Applications in the left panel, and select the apps you want to remove from the list. Click the Remove Selected button.
select the applications you want to remove and click remove selected
  1. Confirm the deletion by clicking Remove on the pop-up.
click remove on the pop up window in smart uninstaller
  1. It will remove the selected app from your Mac, and you’ll get a Removal Completed message. Click Rescan if you want to scan your Mac again.
click rescan in smart uninstaller

3. Clear Duplicate Files

MacKeeper can also help you quickly identify and remove duplicate files on your Mac. This frees up valuable storage space and optimizes your Mac’s performance.

Here is how to remove duplicate files on Mac using MacKeeper:

  1. Download and install MacKeeper.
  2. Open MacKeeper and click the Duplicates Finder feature.
click duplicates finder in mackeeper under cleaning
  1. Click the Start Scan button to start the scanning process.
click start scan in duplicates finder
  1. After the scan, MacKeeper will display a list of all the duplicate files found on your selected folders or drives. Review the list of duplicate files and select the ones you want to remove.
click a folder in duplicates finder
  1. Click Check All and tap the Remove Selected button to delete the selected duplicate files.
click check all and tap remove selected
  1. MacKeeper will ask you to confirm the deletion of the selected duplicate files. Click Remove to proceed.
click remove on the pop up window in duplicates finder

What Else Can MacKeeper Do?

Besides removing duplicate files, cleaning junk files, and uninstalling unwanted apps, MacKeeper can also scan your Mac for viruses, block ads on your Mac, and free up your Mac RAM. Read my complete review of MacKeeper to learn more about its features.

How to Optimize Storage on Mac

Your Mac’s storage gets filled with files, photos, videos, and apps over time. This clutter can slow down your Mac. So, below, I’ve shared some simple and effective ways to optimize storage on your Mac free and boost its performance.

1. Clean Up Your Hard Drive

Cleaning up your Mac’s hard drive is a crucial step in optimizing its performance and ensuring it runs smoothly. Here’s how you can go about it:

  1. 💾 Start with a Backup: Before you begin cleaning, back up your data on Mac. Use Time Machine or an external hard drive to save a copy of your important files.
  2. 🚮 Review and Delete Old Files: Go through your documents, downloads, and other folders. Look for files you no longer need, like old projects, duplicate files, or downloads you’ll never use.
  3. 🗑️ Empty the Bin: After deleting files, don’t forget to empty the Trash on your Mac. Files aren’t fully removed until you do this.

2. Optimize Your Storage Settings

Optimizing your storage is an essential aspect of maintaining your Mac’s performance. Your Mac has built-in settings that can help you optimize your storage automatically, making it easy to manage and free up space.

Here’s how to enable Optimise Mac Storage option:

  1. Click the Apple logo and go to System Settings.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. Click Apple ID > iCloud.
click your apple id and select icloud
  1. Toggle on the Optimise Mac Storage option.
toggle on optimise mac storage

Enabling this feature will automatically remove files you’ve already downloaded to your Mac from iCloud, freeing up space on your drive.

3. Use macOS Storage Management Tool

macOS comes with a built-in tool to manage storage. This tool offers recommendations for optimizing storage, such as enabling iCloud to store files, photos, and messages. Here’s how to use the storage management tool on Mac:

  1. Click the Apple logo and select System Settings.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. Click General and select Storage.
click general and select storage
  1. Here, you’ll get a quick overview of how your storage is being used.
mac storage consumption
  1. Below that, you’ll see personalized recommendations for freeing up space. These include enabling iCloud Photo Library and emptying the Bin automatically.
storage optimization recommendtaions in system settings
  1. Explore each section (Applications, Documents, iCloud Drive, etc.) to see specific files and their sizes. This detailed view makes it easier to identify large files or apps you no longer need.
click the i button next to categories in storage
  1. Then, delete files directly from Storage Management by clicking them and selecting Delete.
select an app in the storage management options and click delete

4. Use iCloud to Store Your Files

Using iCloud to store your files can also free up space on your Mac. When you store your photos, videos, and documents in iCloud, they are accessible from any device signed in to your account, including your MacBook.

Here’s how to use iCloud to store your files:

  1. Click the Apple logo in the top left corner of your screen and select System Settings.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. Click Apple ID > iCloud.
click your apple id and select icloud
  1. Click Photos or Documents.
click photos in icloud
  1. Toggle on the Sync this Mac option.
toggle on sync this mac

From here, you can store your photos and documents in iCloud instead of on your Mac.

5. Delete Unused Apps

Unnecessary apps take up storage space and consume memory and CPU power. By keeping your Applications folder free of unused apps, you not only reclaim space but also help your Mac run more efficiently. This simple maintenance task can make a noticeable difference in your Mac’s performance.

Here’s how you can remove unused apps to optimize storage on your Mac:

  1. Click the Launchpad icon in your Dock.
click the launchpad icon in the dock
  1. Click and hold the app you want to disable.
all apps in launchpad
  1. Click the X that appears in the top left corner of the app icon.
click the x icon to delete the app in launchpad
  1. Tap Delete to confirm.
tap the delete button to confirm
  1. After deleting the app, right-click the Bin icon in the Dock and select Empty Bin.
right click the bin and select empty bin

6. Remove Unnecessary Photos and Music

Managing your photos and music efficiently is a key part of optimizing storage on your Mac, especially if you use applications like Apple Music and Photos. Here’s how you can set them up to make the most of your storage:

1. Use iCloud Photo Library

Enable iCloud Photo Library in the Photos app. This uploads your entire photo library to iCloud. Once enabled, you can choose to optimize Mac storage. This option keeps smaller, space-saving versions of the photos on your Mac while the full-resolution originals are stored in iCloud.

Whenever you need a full-resolution photo, you can download it from iCloud.

You can also convert HEIC images to JPG on Mac to make them more space-efficient.

2. Use iTunes Match or Apple Music

Services like iTunes Match and Apple Music allow you to store your music library in iCloud and stream music when needed. With iTunes Match, you can access your music library on any Apple device and download only the songs you want to listen to, saving space on your Mac.

After ensuring your music is safely in iCloud, you can remove local copies from your Mac. When you want to listen to these songs, they can be streamed or downloaded as needed.

If you have music files in large formats like WAV, convert them to more space-efficient formats like AAC or MP3.

7. Automatically Empty Your Bin

To automatically empty the Trash (Bin) on a Mac, you can use a built-in feature of macOS. This can be particularly useful for managing disk space and ensuring your Bin doesn’t accumulate too many old files.

Remember, once items are automatically removed from the Bin, they cannot be recovered, so be sure that you won’t need these files in the future before enabling this feature.

Here’s how to enable the automatically empty the Bin feature on your Mac:

  1. Click the Finder icon in your Dock to open a Finder window.
click finder in your dock
  1. Click Finder in the menu bar and select Settings.
click finder in the menu bar and select settings
  1. In the Finder Settings window, click the Advanced tab.
click the advanced tab in finder settings
  1. Check the option that says Remove items from the Bin after 30 days or something similar to enable it. When this feature is enabled, it will automatically delete items that have been in the Bin for more than 30 days.
check remove items from the bin after 30 days
  1. Close the Finder Settings window. Your changes will be saved automatically.

Alternatively, follow these steps:

  1. Open System Settings.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. Click General and select Storage.
click general and select storage
  1. Click the Turn on… button next to Empty Bin automatically.
click the turn on button next to empty bin automatically

Optimize Your Mac’s Storage Like a Pro

Optimizing storage on your Mac improves its performance and maintains its longevity. Here are some more tips for managing your storage on Mac:

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How can I check my Mac’s storage usage?

    To check your Mac’s storage usage, click on the Apple menu in the top left corner of your screen and select About This Mac. Click More Info and tap the Storage Settings button to see a breakdown of how much space is being used by various types of files.

  2. Can I move files to an external hard drive to free up space on my Mac?

    Yes, you can move files to an external hard drive to free up space on your Mac. Connect the external hard drive to your Mac and drag and drop files from your Mac onto the external hard drive.

  3. What is the optimized storage feature on Mac, and how does it work?

    Optimized storage is a feature on Mac that automatically removes infrequently used files from your Mac and stores them in iCloud. When you need to use the file, it is automatically downloaded from iCloud. You can enable this feature in the Apple menu under System Settings > Apple ID > iCloud > Optimise Mac Storage.

  4. How often should I optimize storage on my Mac?

    There is no set frequency for optimizing storage on your Mac. You can optimize storage on your Mac whenever your device is running low on space or if you notice it is running slower than usual is a good idea.

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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