How to free up disk space on Mac without uninstalling apps

MacBook Pro is shown with the new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips.

Wish you could use your Mac without constantly worrying about its waning storage space? It’s time to declutter your Mac.

Removing apps is not always a viable solution. For one thing, it always stings to delete your cherished collection of carefully curated apps. For another, storage space savings might turn out to be negligible. Therefore, if you are looking for better ways to free up disk space on your Mac, look no further than this article.

Use storage management tools

No matter how well-organized you are, useless files always linger in the nooks and crannies of your Mac. But worry not, there’s no need to dig around your files to find the ones you should part with. Apple has done all the work for you by introducing storage management tools: Store in iCloud, Optimize Storage, Empty Trash Automatically, and Reduce Clutter.

The storage management tools can be accessed from the Apple menu. Simply click About This Mac, Storage, and then Manage. There, you will see the following tools.

Store in iCloud

As much as it’s tempting to keep all of your digital belongings on a Mac, filling it to the brim is frowned upon by its hard drive. To get rid of the stern “startup disk almost full” warning, transfer your desktop files, photos, and messages to iCloud. This can be done by simply checking the boxes next to the types of files you want to transfer and clicking Store in iCloud.

Optimize Storage

When decluttering your hard drive, movies and TV shows shouldn’t be overlooked. Those are sizable files that can considerably weigh down your Mac. But worry not, you can automatically get rid of media content that you’ve already watched by simply clicking Optimize.

Empty Trash Automatically

Arguably the easiest way to clear up space on a Mac is to empty its Trash. But since it’s too much of an ask to do it on a regular basis, Cupertino wizards came up with a way to automate the task. All you have to do is to click Turn On and voila — now your Mac’s Trash empties itself every 30 days.

Reduce Clutter

For the finishing touch, delete the data you no longer need or never needed in the first place. Click Review Files to comb through large files, downloads, unsupported apps, containers, and folders.

Remove duplicate filesFrom incidentally downloaded identical email attachments to image copies, your Mac is a cornucopia of duplicates. Weeding them out manually is a tough challenge. If you cannot set aside a few hours, download Mac cleaner (free trial) to get rid of duplicates in one fell swoop.

Mac cleaners with duplicate finder functionality can scan either individual folders or the entirety of your Mac’s storage in mere minutes. What’s more, a good Mac cleaner can find both full and partial duplicates, which is of great benefit for people taking loads of photos.

Delete browser cache

Your browsers are a graveyard for useless cache files. You know, temporary data that is supposed to help your browser run faster but can also slow it down if left unchecked. Granted, by removing browser caches, you can claim back mere hundreds of megabytes of free space, but the browsing speed improvement is well worth the effort. Follow these steps to clear Safari’s cache:

  1. In the Safari menu, click Preferences
  2. Select Advanced and check the box titled Show Develop menu in menu bar
  3. Click Develop and click Empty caches

Remove extra language files

Your Mac has over 180 language packs. Chances are you need only 2 or 3 of them. By dumping unused language files, you can reclaim as much as 1.5 GB of space. Not too shabby.

Here’s how to delete language files on your Mac:

  1. In the Applications folder, right-click any app
  2. In the drop-down menu, select Show Package Contents
  3. In the Contents folder, open the Resources folder
  4. Delete the folders whose name ends with .lproj
  5. Empty the Trash

Delete old backups

If you regularly back up your iPhone or iPad, your Mac has dozens of gigabytes of files that occupy valuable storage space. While having backups is an essential part of data security, it doesn’t mean you need to keep old backups.

Here’s how to free up storage space on Mac by deleting old iOS backups:

  1. In the Apple menu, click About this Mac
  2. In the Storage tab, click Manage and proceed to iOS Files
  3. Select all iOS backups except the latest ones
  4. Click Delete


Hopefully, the above-mentioned advice has helped you clear up disk space on your Mac. Now you don’t have to think twice before installing another app or downloading vacation photos.

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