Simple Suggestions to Free up Storage Space on MacBooks

Last updated on February 6th, 2023 at 01:57 pm.

Free up Storage Space on MacBooks

Did you know that if you need your MacBook to run smoothly, you need at least 10% of the storage free at all times? 

So, if you’ve seen lag, performance issues, or overheating, you need to free up storage space pronto. 

But, can you delete everything? No. Some files should not be deleted because this can negatively affect your system.

To help you through this process, we’ve compiled a guide to help you free up storage space quickly. 

First, let’s take a look at what you can do right away:

  • Move unwanted files in your Downloads folder to the Bin.
  • Remove files that are larger than a certain size. For instance, you can sort files and filter them so that you can see all the files that are larger than 100 MB. Select them and move them to Bin. 
  • Delete unwanted files that you haven’t opened in the past year or longer. Use the Last opened date to filter them and select all of them and move them to Bin.
  • Get rid of files cluttered on your Desktop. Remove screenshots that you don’t need and put them in the Bin. 
  • Now, go to the Bin and choose Empty Bin. 

Without the final step, you will not see any improvements in your MacBook since those files are still stored in your system.

For most people, this should solve the problem. You can also use some of the best free Mac cleaners available to automate the process instead of doing this manually and prevent it from becoming an issue in the future.  

If this doesn’t work for you, you need to understand what is taking up space on your MacBook to see if you can delete it. 

To check what’s taking up most of your storage space, do this:

  • Click on the Apple logo in the menu bar
  • Click ‘About This Mac’
  • Click on the Storage tab and wait. This will show you what’s taking up space and how much of your storage is being utilized
  • Hover over the bars to see what that represents

Now, how do you delete the stuff that is taking up storage?

Remember that you should not delete System and Other files generally.

There are a few files that you can delete in System files – Time Machine snapshots, iOS backups, and more.

Now onto the other stuff. Apple actually helps you manage your storage. After you click on Storage, click on Manage. 

This will show you recommendations to help you regain space on your MacBook.  

  • Store in iCloud – This will help you reclaim a lot of space on your Mac. You will have to pay beyond the free 5 GB storage limit, but if having a fast MacBook is worth it to you, then this a no-brainer.
  •  Optimize Storage – This will delete TV shows or films that you have already watched and some old email attachments. You can always re-download these files from iTunes, and your emails are stored in your service provider’s servers so you won’t lose any data. 
  • Empty trash automatically – You can also set up the Trash/Bin to empty itself automatically instead of doing it manually. If you find that you’ve accidentally deleted an important file, you can always use Time Machine to recover it.
  • Reduce clutter – This takes stock of all your files and makes it easy for you to delete files that you don’t need. You might want to review the files recommended by the system and then let the automatic process run. 

4 other ways of increasing the storage space

Ways of increasing the storage space on a Mac

There are plenty of other quick ways to reclaim your storage space, and this section will walk you through it.

1. Reduce your Mac photo library

In all likelihood, when you take a picture, you might end up taking several that you don’t intend to keep and several that are blurry or just not the right shot. 

Downloading multiple photos from social media that you do not actually need is also a problem. You can use software to remove duplicate photos. 

If you don’t want to do that, just move everything to your iCloud to sort it out at a later stage.

2. Move photos to external hard drives

If you don’t want to pay a monthly fee to use iCloud, you can use external storage like a flash drive or a hard disk, and here’s how:

  • Quit Photos
  • Copy your Photos Library to the external HDD
  •  Once that’s done, hold the Option/Alt key when opening up Photos
  • Select Photos -> Preferences and in General -> Use as System Photo Library

3. Move your music

You can do the same thing with your music library and move it to an external hard drive, and change preferences to have it stored there directly. 

4. Delete unwanted apps

A good rule of thumb is to get rid of apps that you’ve never used or haven’t been opened in the last 6 months. If you need it later, you can always re-download it.

Press F4 to open up Launchpad and press Alt/Option and hover over the app. Click on the X to move it to Trash/Bin. 


There you go! This quick guide will help you speed up your MacBooks and reclaim your storage. You can always automate this or rely on software to help you through this or do it yourself with this guide.

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