Death, taxes and running out of storage on your Mac; few things in life are as certain.
But now is the time to do something about it. Apple is about to unveil the next version of macOS at its Worldwide Developers Conference next week, and if you want to install the public beta, you’ll need at least 3GB of free space to install it. You’ll need even more if you follow our recommendation to install it on a separate partition. (Our guide on that will be out soon.)
Whatever the reason you need more storage, read on to learn how to tidy up your Mac.
How to clear space on Mac
Before you go around deleting files, you should take stock of what’s filling up your storage. There are easy two ways to do this: the built-in System Information tool and CleanMyMac X by MacPaw.
Use the Mac Storage Manager to clear space
The System Information tool shows you the biggest files saved on your Mac.
Go to > About This Mac > Storage to see what’s taking up the most space: Documents, Apps, Photos, Music, Messages, Developer files, Mail and more.
Click Manage to see recommendations and clear out some of the biggest files.
Store in iCloud will put some of the files you don’t access very often in iCloud, clearing space from your Mac when you don’t need them.
Enable Optimize Storage and your Mac will automatically remove TV shows and movies you’ve already watched and email attachments from a long time ago.
Empty Trash Automatically will delete files from your trash after 30 days. (You can still recover them from a Time Machine backup if you accidentally delete something.)
Reduce Clutter will show you big files on your computer you might not need.
Click on any section to the right to see different files by category.
Use CleanMyMac X
CleanMyMac X is an app by Ukrainian developer MacPaw. CleanMyMac X checks every nook and cranny, aggressively clears out caches, removes remnants left behind by uninstalled apps and more. It can also scan for malware, optimize performance and keep your apps running smoothly.
You can download CleanMyMac X from the MacPaw website or the Mac App Store. (The Mac App Store version is called CleanMyMac-MAS, so download the app from the website if you, like me, are bothered by that sort of thing.) The first time you open the app, you’ll be greeted by a delightful musical animation.
Before you start your first scan, you’ll need to give CleanMyMac X access to all of your files. By default, apps aren’t allowed to freely look everywhere in your Mac for security reasons; full disk access is what allows CleanMyMac X to, well, clean your Mac.
Go to > System Preferences… > Security & Privacy > Privacy > Full Disk Access. Click the lock in the bottom left and enter your password. Click the check mark to enable CleanMyMac X.app then click Quit & Reopen.
After that is done, open CleanMyMac X and click Scan. It will run a basic scan where it looks for things to clean up and delete, look for threats and see what speed optimizations it can make.
When the scan is done, click Review Details… to check out the recommendations before clicking Run to clean up. At this point, if you haven’t purchased CleanMyMac X, you will need to register a product license ($39.95 for one Mac; volume discounts are available).
One more trick up its sleeve
Even after clearing up over 35 GB, there’s more to be found. Your Mac keeps track of what files are safe to delete in case it runs low on space. This is supposed to happen automatically in the background, but the feature can be a little unreliable. You can clear out these files yourself in the CleanMyMac X Maintenance tools.
Go to Maintenance and check Free Up Purgeable Space to scan for and instantly delete these purgeable files. This cleared up another 20+ GB (mostly in Xcode simulators, but hey, space is space).
After all this is done, I recommend clicking the Assistant. It will give you more recommendations for how you can keep your Mac running snappy and show you the progress it’s made so far.