How To Get More Startup Disk Space On Mac – When the notification “Your disk is almost full” appears on the screen, it’s time to act. Lack of storage space can cause your Mac to slow down or behave strangely. This usually happens when you have a lot of old files, old logs, caches and applications that you no longer use. What makes the situation challenging is that most of these Mac storage gobblers are system files that you never see.
By keeping your Mac startup disk tidy in the first place, you can avoid many problems that hinder performance. In this article, we provide step-by-step instructions to avoid the “full boot disk” problem. Spoiler: Moving the files to the Trash won’t fix it.
How To Get More Startup Disk Space On Mac
Simply put, the Mac boot drive is the hard drive that contains your operating system and all the programs installed on your Mac. It’s a big thing. Since this is essentially your primary disk drive, your Mac “boots” from this disk (hence the name). Mac power users often use external hard drives in addition to the primary drive, but the average user only has one – the startup drive.
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The “Mac startup disk is almost full” warning message or notification tells you that there is very little space left on the primary drive. Your files should make up 85% of the maximum storage space on the boot disk. Anything beyond that can cause performance problems. Read more about Scratchpads are full.
First, make sure you know the name of your boot disk. This is easier if you only use an internal drive. Otherwise you should check it out. Click the Apple logo > About This Mac.
In the overview section, you will see “Storage” with a name next to it. In most cases it will be called “MacHD”, “Macintosh HD” or something similar. This is the name of your boot disk.
Note: If your Mac is running macOS Ventura, you can’t access storage by clicking the Apple logo. Find this section in your system settings instead.
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As you can see in the screenshot, the total storage is 500GB. If your computer has two boot disks (which is rarely possible), the storage space is divided into two -250GB. On my Mac, about 75% of the storage space is free, which means I don’t have to worry about the Mac startup disk being full. If you have less than 15%, it’s time to free up space and let your Mac breathe.
Apple has a built-in optimization feature for basic storage management. This alone can save you a lot of space. Based on Apple’s recommendations, it lets you set up automatic trash cleaning, save movies and TV shows in iCloud (available on request) or automatically remove movies you’ve watched before. To access the feature, click the Apple logo > About This Mac > Storage > Manage. You can adjust the customization settings flexibly according to your needs.
Unfortunately, Apple’s storage optimization doesn’t help remove a lot of hidden files and system junk. And this is the hardest part. From old caches to backups, there are plenty of unnecessary files clogging up storage on your Mac—most of which you’ll never see. In the section below, we explain how to dive under the hood of a Mac to remove it step by step.
It seems obvious. If you want to get rid of unnecessary things, delete files that you have already deleted. You probably know that moving files to the Trash folder doesn’t mean they stop eating up storage space. They still are
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, just in a different location on the Mac. Here’s how to clear the Trash (on some Macs it’s called the Bin):
That’s it. If you want to see what’s in your trash before you delete files, open them first and then empty the trash by clicking the button in the upper right corner.
Caches are system files created every time an app or browser performs a specific task. Both browser and app cache should actually speed up your Mac. They’re like task shortcuts—by remembering which app or browser did something the last time, they help you do it faster the next time you do it.
At the same time, applications are cache files, which means they create a lot of system garbage. If many are stored on a Mac, they can cause the “Startup disk almost full” problem. Therefore, we recommend clearing the cache regularly. Here’s how to do it manually on a Mac:
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The Downloads folder is the location of all the files you store on your Mac. Sure, it has a lot of content that you no longer need in it. To see how much space downloaded files take up, go to Downloads via Finder. Click the filter icon to filter by size and start removing the largest files.
You can spend hours doing the hardest cleaning of your life, but there will still be files left that are great Mac astronauts – and you can’t delete them. In this case, we recommend moving large files to cloud backup. You can either use iCloud (Apple’s Optimize feature offers this option) or go with your favorite cloud service like Dropbox or Google Drive.
The problem with iCloud is that it backs up all your files, photos and messages – which is obviously a huge waste of cloud storage. If you want a custom setup, use Dropshare. It is a powerful file sharing app that works with any cloud hosting service of your choice.
DropShare lets you drag and drop any large file to cloud storage on the go. So when you come across a file that’s potentially clogging up your storage, you move it straight to Dropbox. The program is available in the menu bar, so it is difficult to imagine a more convenient solution. If you use it, you’ll also get 10GB of free storage with your plan for free.
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If you want to back up your entire disk or large amounts of data, use an advanced backup program like Get Backup Pro. It lets you clone bootable disks and keep your files safe when you switch to a new MacOS or move large files to a new location.
You don’t have to be an Instagram influencer to store tons of photos on your Mac. Sometimes you have to download the same file twice (or twenty times). Duplicates pile up, which is not good at all with your startup disk. Here’s how to manually find and remove duplicate files and photos—just like anywhere else on your Mac:
An easy way to do this is with the Gemini app, an advanced backup file explorer. Instead of manually deleting files, it allows you to search for duplicates and delete them with one click. It works like this:
System logs are simple text files that your Mac keeps to help troubleshoot problems with MacOS and applications. Basically, they contain all events recorded by the operating system. and are
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Of them on your Mac. As you do with caching, you need to get rid of logs to free up disk space:
Some apps take up a lot of space – and it’s all for nothing because you don’t even use them. The best way to uninstall programs is with CleanMyMac X Uninstaller. The thing about deleting apps is that you can’t just trash them. They usually leave a lot of cache, logs and other system junk. CleanMyMac X picks up all the files associated with a program and ensures that they are removed from the Mac:
Many programs you install include language packs (or locale files) that allow you to switch between languages. Many “multilingual” programs can fill up your Mac’s startup tray. Since you don’t really need a program to cover more than one or two languages, you can delete the rest. Here’s how to do it:
To prevent a full disk on your Mac (as well as make your Mac screen a pleasure to look at), clean up the desktop regularly. This is one of the easiest fixes – just move everything you no longer need from your desktop to the trash. Be careful with apps though. As we mentioned before, they leave a lot of marks on your Mac, so you have to dig deep to remove everything (or use CleanMyMac X for the job).
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If you’re a desktop clutter pro, get an app that can help you clear everything automatically. Spotless is a great option. You can easily drag and drop files from your desktop to the app’s popup in your menu bar and set rules to organize them by putting them in their own folders or moving them to the trash. You can create automatic tasks to sort your files daily or weekly and delete files you no longer need without having to do it manually each time.
If you’ve ever synced your iPhone with your computer, you probably have some iOS backups lurking somewhere on your Mac. You can remove them manually:
Tip: If you are
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