How to Clean Up Your Mac’s System Storage


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You may have previously noticed a tab called “System Data” on your Mac and questioned what that is. If you are a long-time user of macOS, you will know that the same tab used to be called “Other Storage.” So, what does this system storage contain, and when do I need to clean it out? Let’s find out.

What is system storage?

As the name suggests, your system storage holds any application files related to your Mac system. This may include various system junk, data from applications, browser extensions and plugins, Time Machine local snapshots, and so on. Click here for a more detailed explanation of system data.

When and how to clear storage data?

With age, different software and applications become bigger and cluttered up with more files. This may cause your Mac to become noticeably slower or not have enough space to install any new applications. This is when you may consider cleaning out your storage.

There are a number of different methods you can clean up your storage. However, here are some of the most efficient ways.

Clean out system junk

System junk is called “junk” for a reason, as it mainly contains useless files that do nothing more than clogging up your Mac. This includes temporary files, user log files, broken files, caches, and so on. These can be easily cleaned out using a storage management application of choice that will do it for you, or you may do it manually yourself.

To clean system junk manually, select the Go menu in your Finder, click on Go To Folder and type in ~/Library/Caches/. This is where you can go through lots of junk files and delete what you don’t need. Don’t forget to empty your Trash bin after!

Tidy up browser extensions

Having a clutter of unnecessary extensions in your browser can have an effect on the storage capacity of your Mac system since your browser has to run multiple things all at once every time you browse. Take your time to look through all of your existing extensions and uninstall anything that you don’t use anymore.

The process for this is similar on different browsers. On Chrome, for example, you click on the three dots on the top right to open up the menu. Then, select Preferences, click on Extensions, and choose to Remove whatever you don’t want.

Delete Time Machine backups

Time Machine backups are another type of data that your Mac keeps, essentially to have a copy of your backups. If you don’t find those necessary, you can delete them using the Mac Terminal feature and empty up some more System storage space that way.

To delete your Time Machine backups, do the following: Open up your Terminal and type in the tmutil listlocalsnapshotdates command. Now that you have a list of backups, you may delete the chosen ones by typing tmutil deletelocalsnapshots xxxxxxx and replacing the x’s with the name of the backup you want to delete.

Declutter your apps and files

One of the best ways to clear out some storage space is by decluttering your apps and files as much as possible. Go through all of your installed applications and uninstall anything that you no longer use – chances are, you will find apps you forgot were even there.

Then, move on to all of your files. A good place to start is the download folder, where different types of files get forgotten the most. Don’t forget to also remove any duplicate documents or files that are old and large, eating up your storage.

Once done decluttering, don’t forget to empty your Trash too, as the deleted files are still being kept there.

Photo credit: The feature image has been done by ifeelstock.

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