How to Clean Up your Mac Storage: A Beginner’s Guide

Cleaning Your Mac Storage: 12 Steps to Free up Space on Your Apple Device

Do you ever get frustrated when your Mac tells you that your storage is full and you can’t save any more files? If so, then you’re not alone! Many people struggle with Mac storage issues, but luckily, there are ways to free up space. In this article, we’ll guide you through a step-by-step process on how to clean your Mac storage. So, grab your device and let’s get started!


Step 1: Check Your Mac Storage

The first step in cleaning your Mac storage is to check how much space is being used. To do this, click on the Apple icon in the top left corner of your screen and select “About This Mac.” From there, click on “Storage” and you’ll see a breakdown of how much space is being used by each category.


It’s important to do this regularly so that you can keep track of how much space you have left.

Step 2: Delete Unnecessary Files

Now that you know what’s taking up space on your Mac, it’s time to delete unnecessary files. Go through your downloads folder, desktop, and documents to see if there are any files you no longer need. You can drag them to the trash or use a keyboard shortcut (Command + Delete) to delete them.


If you’re not sure whether to delete a file, you can use a tool like DaisyDisk to see what’s taking up space and decide from there.

Step 3: Empty the Trash

After deleting files, don’t forget to empty your trash. To do this, right-click on the trash icon in your Dock and select “Empty Trash.”


You can also use a keyboard shortcut (Command + Shift + Delete) to empty your trash.

Step 4: Uninstall Unused Apps

Apps take up a significant amount of space on your Mac, especially if you have multiple versions of the same app. Go through your Applications folder and uninstall any apps you don’t use.


Use a tool like AppCleaner to make sure you’re uninstalling all the associated files with the app.

Step 5: Clear Your Downloads Folder

Your downloads folder can quickly become cluttered with files you no longer need. Go through and delete anything you don’t need or move important files to a different folder.


Set up a rule in your Mail app to automatically move downloads to a specific folder to avoid cluttering your downloads folder.

Step 6: Delete Duplicate Files

Duplicate files can take up a lot of space on your Mac, especially if you have multiple versions of the same photo or document. Use a tool like Gemini 2 to find and delete duplicate files.


Be careful when deleting duplicate files and make sure you don’t delete any important files by accident.

Step 7: Clear Your Browser Cache

Your browser cache stores files to make website loading faster, but these files can take up a lot of space over time. Clear your browser cache in Safari, Chrome, or Firefox to free up space.


Set up your browser to automatically clear cache and cookies when you quit the app to keep your storage clean.

Step 8: Move Files to External Storage

If you have large files like photos or videos that you don’t need on your Mac all the time, consider moving them to an external hard drive or cloud storage to free up space.


Be sure to back up your important files before moving them to external storage in case of any issues.

Step 9: Clean Up Mail Attachments

If you use Mail on your Mac, attachments can quickly eat up your storage space. Use a tool like CleanMyMac X to remove unneeded mail attachments.


You can also set up your Mail app to automatically download only recent attachments to save space.

Step 10: Review Your iCloud Storage

If you use iCloud storage, go through your files and delete anything you no longer need. You can also optimize your storage to automatically keep your most recent files on your Mac.


Consider upgrading your iCloud storage plan if you need more space for important files.

Step 11: Disable FileVault Encryption

FileVault encryption can take up a lot of space on your Mac, especially if you have a large hard drive. Consider disabling FileVault if you don’t need it.


Make sure to back up your important files before disabling FileVault encryption.

Step 12: Restart Your Mac

After completing all the steps above, restart your Mac to clear out any temporary files and caches that may be taking up space.


Make sure to save any important files and close all your apps before restarting your Mac to avoid any issues.


Now that you’ve gone through all 12 steps, you should have significantly more space on your Mac! It’s important to regularly clean your Mac storage to keep it running smoothly and avoid any future storage issues. By following these steps, you’re not only freeing up space but also optimizing your Mac’s performance.

Tips and Tricks:

TIP 1:

Set up a regular cleaning schedule for your Mac to keep on top of storage issues.

TIP 2:

If possible, upgrade your Mac’s storage to avoid future storage issues.

TIP 3:

Consider using a professional cleaning tool like CleanMyMac X to automate the cleaning process.

TIP 4:

Be sure to back up your important files regularly to avoid losing any data.

TIP 5:

Consider using cloud storage solutions like Dropbox or Google Drive to store files you don’t need on your Mac all the time.

TIP 6:

Use a tool like Bartender to clean up your menu bar and reduce clutter.

TIP 7:

Avoid installing unnecessary apps that can take up valuable space on your Mac.

TIP 8:

Regularly check your Mac’s storage to stay on top of issues before they become problematic.

TIP 9:

Consider using an external hard drive for storing large files or backups.

TIP 10:

Use a keyboard shortcut (Command + Space) to quickly search for and open apps or files on your Mac, instead of cluttering your Dock.

In conclusion, cleaning your Mac storage can seem like a daunting task, but by following these 12 steps and tips, you’ll have a clutter-free and optimized device in no time!

Advantages and Disadvantages of Cleaning Mac Storage


1. More space for storage – Cleaning your Mac storage frees up space that can be utilized for other applications, files, or media.

2. Improved speed and performance – With less clutter on your Mac, it can run faster and more efficiently.

3. Reduced risk of hardware failure – A Mac with too much cluttered storage can lead to overheating and subsequent hardware damage.

4. Protection against security threats – Unused files and applications can be targeted by malware. Cleaning your Mac storage reduces the risk of these threats.

5. Cost-effective – Cleaning your Mac storage is a free activity and is an alternative to purchasing external storage or upgrading to a higher storage capacity.

6. Better organization – Cleaning Mac storage can help put files in their proper folders and make them easier to find.

7. Longer lifespan for your Mac – Regularly cleaning your Mac’s storage ensures that it will be able to store and process data for longer periods.

8. Increased resale value – A well-maintained Mac with cleaning storage history can fetch a higher resale value compared to a cluttered one.

9. Easy to do – Cleaning Mac storage can be achieved with the built-in system tools, making it a simple task for anyone to do.

10. Peace of mind – Knowing that your Mac has been cleaned can give you a sense of satisfaction and peace of mind.


1. Loss of files – Cleaning Mac storage can also remove files that you may still need.

2. Time-consuming – Cleaning Mac storage can be a time-consuming task, especially if done manually.

3. Risk of deleting essential files – A mistake in the cleaning process may accidentally delete important files.

4. May slow down your system during the cleaning – Depending on the amount of clutter, the cleaning process may temporarily slow down your Mac.

5. May require technical knowledge – Cleaning Mac storage may require some technical knowledge in identifying which files can be safely deleted and which should be kept.

6. Can be repetitive – Regular cleaning may be needed to maintain the cleanliness of your Mac’s storage, which can be repetitive.

7. May require external storage – In some cases, cleaning Mac storage may not be enough, and additional external storage may be needed.

8. Risk of accidentally deleting necessary applications – Cleaning unused applications may accidentally delete necessary ones.

9. Not guaranteed to solve all performance issues – Even after cleaning your Mac storage, some performance issues may persist.

10. May need to invest in cleaning software – While there are built-in Mac storage cleaning tools, investing in additional cleaning software may be necessary to thoroughly optimize your storage space.


1. Why is it important to clean up Mac storage?

Cleaning up your Mac storage is important because it helps to free up space, which can improve your computer’s speed and efficiency. Additionally, it can help prevent your computer from crashing due to lack of storage space.

2. What are some signs that I need to clean up my Mac storage?

You may need to clean up your Mac storage if your computer is running slowly, if you’re receiving error messages about low storage space, or if you’re having trouble saving files or running programs.

3. How do I check my Mac’s storage usage?

To check your Mac’s storage usage, click on the Apple menu, select “About This Mac,” then click on “Storage.” This will show you how much storage is being used and what types of files are taking up the most space.

4. What is the best way to clean up my Mac storage?

There are several ways to clean up your Mac storage, including deleting unused files, emptying the trash, uninstalling unnecessary programs, and using a cleanup tool like CleanMyMac.

5. How often should I clean up my Mac storage?

It’s recommended to clean up your Mac storage at least once every few months to keep your computer running smoothly. However, if you use your computer heavily or regularly download large files, you may need to clean up more frequently.

6. Can cleaning up my Mac storage delete important files?

If you’re not careful, cleaning up your Mac storage can potentially delete important files. It’s important to review files before permanently deleting them and to make sure you have backups of any important data.

7. What is the difference between cleaning up my Mac storage and clearing my cache?

Cleaning up your Mac storage involves deleting unnecessary files and programs to free up space on your hard drive. Clearing your cache involves deleting temporary internet files to improve browsing speed and performance.

8. Can I clean up my Mac storage manually or do I need a special tool?

You can clean up your Mac storage manually, but it can be time-consuming and difficult to locate all the unnecessary files and programs. A special tool like CleanMyMac can make the process easier and more efficient.

9. Will cleaning up my Mac storage delete my personal data?

Cleaning up your Mac storage should not delete your personal data, as long as you’re not deleting files or programs that you need or use regularly. However, it’s always a good idea to back up important data before making any major changes to your computer.

10. How long does it typically take to clean up Mac storage?

The time it takes to clean up your Mac storage depends on how much data you have and how many files and programs you need to delete. It can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours.

11. Are there any risks involved in cleaning up my Mac storage?

The biggest risk involved in cleaning up your Mac storage is accidentally deleting important files or programs. It’s important to be careful and review any files before deleting them.

12. What should I do if I accidentally delete an important file?

If you accidentally delete an important file, immediately stop using your computer and try to recover the file using a data recovery tool. If you’re unable to recover the file, you may need to seek professional help.

13. Can I prevent the need to clean up my Mac storage?

You can prevent the need to clean up your Mac storage by regularly reviewing and deleting unnecessary files and programs, regularly backing up important data, and keeping your computer running smoothly by periodically updating system software and cleaning the cache.


In conclusion, understanding how to clean Mac storage is essential to ensure that your device runs smoothly and efficiently. The tips and tricks mentioned above are a great starting point to clear up your Mac’s storage and improve its performance. Remember to perform regular maintenance to keep your device clean and organized.


Thank you for taking the time to read this article. We hope that you found this information useful and informative. Clearing out your Mac’s storage might seem daunting at first, but with the tips we have provided, it should be a breeze. We wish you the best of luck with your Mac cleaning endeavors! Till we meet again!