How to Fix Disk Full Error Mac Problem. Manual and Automatic Methods


Published On: , by MacSoftAdmin

There is a day that happens in the life of every Mac user when the message “Your startup disk is almost full” appears. But how can you deal with the “mac disk full” error? Basically, there are two possible, independent variants: make it manually or get help from the cleaning third-party applications.

Let’s start from the beginning: what exactly is a startup disk? A Solid State Drive, usually called hard disk, hard drive, “HD drive” or SSD, inside your machine, which contains all system files and personal data files, therefore, it is one of the most necessary computer’s parts. As a result, when you see the disk full error on your Mac screen, it means that the primary hard-drive disk is overloaded with some secondary files, temporary files, programs, system memory cache, files leftovers, etc. This may seem as a pretty bad news.

When your Mac starts to show: “startup disk full” error

Disk Full Message

When the Mac startup disk achieves its absolute performance, this means 2 things, precisely speaking 2 consequences:

  1. Your Mac’s storage space will get to its limit very soon.
  2. The disc will work slowly.

Most people do not know, actually, that their Mac is converting a free startup disk space into virtual memory, which you use for daily operations. Normally, it is recommended to have at least 10% of the disk space always free in order to make the Mac operating system work appropriately. Consequently, if you don’t have enough free space, it certainly won’t turn into something terrible, but you will obviously face many unpleasant moments in the Mac performance. Do you need this? Let’s figure it out 🙂

How to check the disk space on a Mac?

In order to get to the root of the problem and find the solution, you have to identify what takes up all the space on your startup disk. To get a complete idea of how your space is being applied, perform the following actions:

  • Click the Apple icon
  • Choose About This Mac
  • Click “Storage” (or “More Information” – “Storage” on older Mac models)

Now you can see how much space is left and what is actually stored on your disk. In case you have taken up free disk space, it is time to remove some files or add a new hard drive.

If you’re lucky, your hard drive will be full of movies, photos, audio or other portable media files. Why lucky? Because these files are sent or transferred to another space very simply. Any external storage device or iCloud store will do the trick, and your Mac will thank you for getting more space.

However, there is one more scenario in which other unnecessary apps occupy a free space with files that you cannot or do not want to delete. Obviously the situation is somewhat more difficult. These recommendations will give your Mac an additional space.

Startup Disk Cleaning Tips

Believe it or not, first of your Mac’s tasks is to make rubbish. But don’t blame it, that’s simply how it works. The Mac system, like all other operating systems, is dependent on the creation of temporary files, caches, and backup copies for proper operations. However, afterwards, as this data is created, it remains hidden on your Mac, killing the place for no purpose.

Good news! It is quite easy to delete these meaningless files, free additional GB of memory, and completely clean your startup disk without affecting your personal data.

“Your startup disk is almost full” error

1) Clean your Desktop

It might seem unimportant and ridiculous, but all the icons and other stuff that you have on your desktop can occupy and clutter the free space on your HD. Obviously, cleaning your desktop won’t solve the problem once and for all, but it will definitely help your Mac act a bit faster. All you have to do is just to drag all the unnecessary junk to the Trash.

2) Clean up the Photo Library

I bet that there is a bunch of photos on your Mac. And now imagine that there are hundreds of duplicates and copies that all these photos created. The problem is that these copies or dups accumulate on your hard drive very fast and can clutter your free storage space in a short period of time.

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To delete your Photo caches proceed such actions:

  1. Navigate to the Finder and open your Photos Library (usually, it’s in the Pictures folder)
  2. Ctrl+click the Photos Library, and select “Show Package Contents”
  3. Open resources, and then modelresource.

Now in the Finder window, you will see folders with Photos cache. To get rid of them just remove files to the Trash. But the tricky thing is that you may delete files which are essential for your Photos performance. In such cases, it is better to use some cleaning apps not to make things even worse.

3) Deleting iTunes Backups

All we love iTunes, but not everyone knows that it’s tend to make its own backup copies. Even more, any time you update iTunes, this update comes with a backup copy of the entire iTunes library. This means that with any update, you get a ton of backup copies when you only need them just once. These backups are the first thing you should take care about while cleaning your hard drive. To remove them open:

  • Finder > Go (the menu bar, top-left of your screen)
  • Go to Folder
  • Type in ~/Music/iTunes/Previous iTunes Libraries
  • Sort the files in this folder by date and delete all except one or two of the most recent ones.
  • Done!

4) Remove localization files

Every application on your computer is available in different languages. As long as you need just one or two of them, the rest files just occupy your free space with no purpose. They are called “localization files” or “language packs”. To get rid of them do the following:

  1. Open a Finder
  2. Go to the Applications folder
  3. Ctrl+click on an app and select “Show Package Contents”
  4. From here, go to Contents > Resources and search for the files ending in .lproj. Drag the ones you don’t need to the Trash.

5) Remove Trash

Sometimes, we ignore trivial recommendations, as the result, it causes slow operation of your system. The thing is that the Trash of those files that are no longer necessary has to be cleaned up on the regular basis as they’re taking up space on Mac’s hard drive. Not to make your HD cluttered with all this stuff, take out the Trash, press “Empty Trash” in the Dock and free your Mac from the piles of unnecessary data completely.

Apps within the Desktop

Any application contains its own personal folder full of additional gigabytes of garbage. Like the general Trash, you need to clean up these folders in order to remove the junk files and clean up the disk space.

6) Delete Apps Cache

Cache files are one of those ridiculous things on your computer that can be necessary and useless at the same time. At the beginning, caches have the leading goal as they are created to speed up some processes. But as soon as these processes are over, they will leave temporary files created by applications. In case you don’t remove them, they will remain on your Mac for a long time. These short-term files will be a permanent task for your hard drive, because they will continue to accumulate and arrange your startup disk.

To remove app cache you have to do the following:

  1. Go to Finder > Go > Go to Folder
  2. Type in ~/Library/Caches
  3. Open each folder and delete the files it contains
  4. Do the same process for /Library/Cache (without the ~)

As an alternative to this time-consuming, a user can clean up all caches with the help of third-party cleaning applications like MacFly Pro and others.

It manages tons of system junk very fast, delete unnecessary data. In most cases we recommend to use applications as they can facilitate and accelerate the cleaning process itself. However, both methods are virtually identical, except for some moments.