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 shut down. Fortunately, there is a way out and it’s quite easy.

The Situation

Imagine the situation when you just sitting and trying to transfer those vacation photos from your iPhone to MacBook Pro or scrolling through pages on the net. And suddenly, there is a popped-up window from nowhere telling you that the 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?”. 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’ve spent on it. All your files, documents and data are on it. But where do you even start?

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

Empty the Trash

The error message you got through the popped-up 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 obvious that you’re running out of free space. The first thing you can think of is how to remove files to make your drive less cluttered. To do so go to the Finder, hit the command-shift-delete together and it’s done!

To be more effective and maintain your Mac in a good shape constantly you can cultivate the habit of emptying your trash on a daily or weekly basis.

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 Downloads folder always keep and build tons of files and folders we really don’t need and gosh they really eat up our storage space. As a rule, look at the files and folders you have there and if they’ve 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.

I bet millions of users have turned their Downloads folder into an ocean of 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 Downloads folder sorting your files by 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?

Most often, your Downloads folder is in the Dock near the Trash can. To delete all unnecessary stuff you have to do the following:

  1. Tap on the Downloads folder.
  2. Click on the ‘Open in Finder’. In such a way you will see all downloads you have on tour computer.
  3. Here you have two options. The first one, select all the files and by pressing Command+A. Second, you can choose one dowload file at a time.
  4. Regardless of the way you’ve chosen, simply drag those files you’ve selected to the Trash bin.
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Check the Movies Folder

If you want to free 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. To get rid of these files open Finder > All My Files and select those media files you no longer need. Right-click them and select Move to Trash from the popped-up menu.

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. Okay, now it’s 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 way:

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? These are mostly iOS apps you probably use once 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.
You can delete these files with the help of such built-in optimization tool as Spotlight. Open it and type Storage Management. You will see the list possible actions. Choose Optimize Storage to save space by automatically deleting files.

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. Open it up and drag all unecessary junk to the Trash.

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 them can 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.