How to Reduce System Storage on Mac

Mac is often the most popular choice for users who are looking to buy a computer for productivity and portability. However, a recent issue bought to light by Mac users was how their system storage was taking up more space than normal and it was causing storage shortage for the users.

Large system storage on Mac

In this article, we will be reducing the system storage by getting rid of some unnecessary things and reconfiguring some settings. Make sure to follow accurately until the end.

Clearing System Storage on a macOS

We will be approaching this task in a step by step manner so follow through all the steps carefully in order to be able to reduce system storage on your device.

1. Check System Storage on Mac

Firstly, we have to identify the reason why our Mac’s system storage is taking such a huge chunk of space. For that, we will have to see what space is being distributed. In order to do that:

  1. Launch your Mac and click on the “Apple Menu”.
  2. Select the “About this Mac” option and click on the “Storage” option.
    Clicking on the “Storage” option in the window
  3. The windows will now display that it is calculating the storage distribution.
  4. Wait for the calculation to end and it will show you a colored representation of the distribution of space.
    Wait while the system is calculating the storage distribution
  5. Space taken by “System” will be highlighted in grey.
    System Storage is highlighted in Grey
  6. The initial storage space taken by the System according to this indicator will be larger than the actual one because although it shows that the calculation is done, it is still calculating the minute distribution of space in the background.
  7. Now one by one it will start scanning the system folders and identify them properly on the screen. You have to wait for at least 5 minutes before it is done calculating.
  8. Now the bar will show a more accurate distribution of the Storage space and you will observe that the iCloud Drive is also taking a big proportion of your space.
    iCloud drive is taking a huge proportion of the data.

2. Free Up Space on your Mac

Now that we know the actual distribution of the storage space on your Mac, you can individually go to those folders and delete unnecessary files. But, if you want some general ways to free up some space, follow the guide below.

3. Delete iTunes Backup

iTunes backs up your files every once in a while and it is constantly stored on your HDD no matter how old it gets. Therefore, in this step, we will be deleting all iTunes’ backups. Make sure to refrain from deleting any backups that are more recent and that you might use.

  1. Launch iTunes and click on the “iTunes” button on the top left corner.
  2. Select “Preferences” from the list and click on “Devices”.
    Clicking on “iTunes” preferences and selecting “Devices”.
  3. This will now show all the backups for your user account.
    The window displays all the backups for the phone
  4. Press “Ctrl” and click on any backup in the list.
  5. Select the “Show in Finder” option from the list and their storage location will be opened.
  6. Now you will see all the backups listed with random numbers in the “Backups” folders and you can easily identify and delete them.
  7. We recommend that you delete all of these that you don’t require anymore because they take a huge chunk of space.

4. Delete iTunes Movies

If you downloaded a particular movie and have watched it, you probably won’t need it again. Therefore, it is recommended that you delete all watched movies from iTunes as this will probably free up a lot of space.

5. Clear Downloads Folder

Another place that you can look for useless data is the download folder. You probably downloaded some files and either installed them or copied them to another folder but the original files might still be taking up space in the downloads folder. Therefore, it is advised to clear the downloads folder and delete all unnecessary files from it.

6. Clear Trash Folder

From the Doc, open the Trash folder and delete all files from it that you don’t want to recover. This will clear a lot of space if you have been hoarding files in the trash instead of completely removing them from the computer.

In a similar way, you can clear unused applications, old pictures, videos, and other data from your Mac to increase free space. Beware not to delete any important system files in hope of clearing space because it will damage your operating system and you might not be able to boot again.


Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.