How to Clean the Startup Disk on Mac

Published On: , by MacSoftAdmin

Panic and frustration are the only words that seem to come to mind when you are faced with a device that operates at the speed of a snail. So, many questions will certainly be racing through your mind as you do not know if the next minute the system will totally shot down. Fortunately, there is a way out and it’s quite easy.

The Situation

Imagine the situation when you just sitting and scrolling over your phone and MacBook Pro computer as you enjoy the pictures you have been sharing amongst your friends. From nowhere a pop-up window surface tells you that startup disk is full.

Now, what’s next? Guess the obvious question that comes to you will be how do I clear startup disk on Mac? All of a sudden your mood changes and all the smiles are gone because you do not know what to do. How to clean up a Mac startup disk question keeps hitting hard in your head.

It’s also all you think about in case if your MacBook Air is new and you are ready to do anything to make it work for the money you spent on it. All your files, documents and data are on it. But the story is no longer the same as it gets older it becomes slower and you are left with no option but to find ways to clear up disk space on Mac.

Before you start thinking of cleaning up your startup drive, you will need a secondary storage device first. The best thing is always backup your Mac and ensure all your data is safe and secured. Sometimes you might need to get a terabyte of storage which will definitely cost you some bucks or the other alternative is you deleting some very important files. So, before thinking about clear up disk space on Mac, ensure you got all your data backed up. Let’s see some Mac cleaning tips.

Empty the Trash

The error message you got through the pop window is like a 911 call. Your device is yelling out for help and it’s up to you whether to run to help it out. The message itself has already made it known to you that your startup disk is filled. The first thing you can think of is how to remove files to get a bit of space. Now you know that you need to free up space on your disk. So start by emptying your trash.

To be more effective you can cultivate the habit of emptying your trash on a daily or weekly basis. To initiate this function all you have to do is go to Finder, hit the command-shift-delete together.

Clear Out Downloads and Desktop

The trash is just the first place to look at but don’t be deceived. There are other places that serve as a gold mine for storing random bits of data. The desktop and folders always keep and build a tone of files and folders we really do not need and gosh they really eat up our storage space. As a matter of rule, always look at the files and folders you have on there and if they have been staying there for more than a week then do something about it. I guess its best you find an external drive or perhaps put them in your documents folder.

In my experience, I can stand up tall and say so many users have turned downloads folder to an ocean dump. Generally, people just download stuff and never even bother to go back to check and delete the folders. Over a period of time, it’s a mountain of folders that occupy precious space. You can fix this by organizing your download folder using the date. Files can be arranged by date modified or date last opened. So, if you have not used or visited a file for over 30 days then it simply means it’s not that important. So what’s the need of keeping it around?

Check the Movies Folder

We just left the children’s playfield and now let’s handle the real deal. If you looking at freeing up real space like twenty, forty or even hundreds of gigabytes then I suggest the next place to look at – the Movies folder.

Go to Users/YourUserName and click on the Movies folder. Now, click on Command-I and take a look at the top right of the window that pops up. This window will show you the amount of space currently eaten up by this folder.  Video content is a beast when it comes to storage occupation. In no time it can occupy a large amount of space, in some cases over 40GB. I am pretty sure this number is nothing when compared to some other people who really do a lot of videos.

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Offload, but Be Careful

Before offloading any folder you need to check and see if there is something important to protect first. I doubt as most of the time it’s just a bunch of trash. It will be a hassle though if you do not have this folder organized; it means you will have to spend some real time digging your way around. If there are data or files you want to keep best you send them to your external hard drive for safekeeping so you create some fresh room on your disk. If there are movie projects, you can move them alongside their resources as well. Okay, now is the time to trash the leftovers.

Clean Up Music, Apps, and Pictures

When speaking about big offenders, Music has to be mentioned. A whole chunk of your storage is hijacked by the music folder and if you want to free up some real space then you can do so just following this process:

Home/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music

Perhaps there are some old albums or music you really do not listen to anymore then get rid of them.

iTunes is yet another application you need to look into if saving up some real space.

Mobile Apps

The mobile apps are really very annoying. Most of the time you look into your iTunes folder and you find them laying there. They are not music and not movies. So what are they doing there? They can even take over 10GB of your storage space. These are mostly iOS apps you probably use one time in a year or might have deleted from your phone or iPad, but come to find some comfort hiding in iTunes folder occupying useful space. It is a good idea for you to take some time to sort the applications by size so you can find out the big offenders. It is true that most of the time the largest apps are games and I guess you truly never even played them. You can achieve this just by clicking on “Apps” in the sidebar.

Look to Media alternatives

Generally, the iTunes and Movies folders happen to be where most of the media files are held and if you already took care of them, perhaps a sizeable space has been created already. In here the iPhoto, Lightroom and Aperture data inhabit. Take things you want from there and send them to your external drive. Other folders that should come to your mind should be the Dropbox folder, check it to see if you can steal some space from there also.

Delete huge Caches

Caches happen to be temporary files which are meant to help speed up certain tasks, but with time they tend to get bloated. I will advise you do not worry too much about this as you can simply employ the services of apps like MacFly Pro. Download this app and run a scan and it will fix all these little problems for you and help create some free space. However, if you chose to do this manually go over to Finder app and hold down the Option key then click “Go” in the menu bar. Now, the Library folder will open up, click on it and look for the “Caches” folder. However, you want to be sure that any cache you deleting does not affect the main application.

To do so, drag it to the desktop and launch the main application if there is no problem go ahead and delete it. The best advice still is getting a third party app like MacFly Pro do the job for you so you do not run into any problems.

Run a scan

Up to this point, we must have successfully collected a huge chunk of space back. You can get some smile on that face. But there are still other areas we can direct our attention towards, like the documents folder, Application support and so on.

Be careful

Earlier I have mentioned the need to be careful when it comes to deleting folders. Certain folders happen to be very important. Deleting or tampering with them will result in some serious problems for you. Leave the OS to deal with its own devices; it is built to take care of itself. Hopefully, enough space has been freed up for your device to function without any hindrance. As a rule, always have about 15-20% free space on your hard drive.