Optimized Storage in macOS Sierra and later* can save space by storing your content in iCloud and making it available on demand. When storage space is needed, files, photos, movies, email attachments, and other files that you seldom use are stored in iCloud automatically. Each file stays right where you last saved it, and downloads when you open it. Files that you’ve used recently remain on your Mac, along with optimized versions of your photos.
* If you haven't yet upgraded to macOS Sierra or later, learn about other ways to free up storage space.
Find out how much storage is available on your Mac
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Choose Apple menu > About This Mac, then click Storage. Each segment of the bar is an estimate of the storage space used by a category of files. Move your pointer over each segment for more detail.
Click the Manage button to open the Storage Management window, pictured below. This button is available only in macOS Sierra or later.
Manage storage on your Mac
The Storage Management window offers recommendations for optimizing your storage. If some recommendations are already turned on, you will see fewer recommendations.
Store in iCloud
Click the Store in iCloud button, then choose from these options:
- Desktop and Documents. Store all files from these two locations in iCloud Drive. When storage space is needed, only the files you recently opened are kept on your Mac, so that you can easily work offline. Files stored only in iCloud show a download icon , which you can double-click to download the original file. Learn more about this feature.
- Photos. Store all original, full-resolution photos and videos in iCloud Photos. When storage space is needed, only space-saving (optimized) versions of photos are kept on your Mac. To download the original photo or video, just open it.
- Messages. Store all messages and attachments in iCloud. When storage space is needed, only the messages and attachments you recently opened are kept on your Mac. Learn more about Messages in iCloud.
Storing files in iCloud uses the storage space in your iCloud storage plan. If you reach or exceed your iCloud storage limit, you can either buy more iCloud storage or make more iCloud storage available. iCloud storage starts at 50GB for $0.99 (USD) a month, and you can purchase additional storage directly from your Apple device. Learn more about prices in your region.
Click the Optimize button, then choose from these options.
- Automatically remove watched movies and TV shows. When storage space is needed, movies or TV shows that you purchased from the iTunes Store and already watched are removed from your Mac. Click the download icon next to a movie or TV show to download it again.
- Download only recent attachments. Mail automatically downloads only the attachments that you recently received. You can manually download any attachments at any time by opening the email or attachment, or saving the attachment to your Mac.
- Don't automatically download attachments. Mail downloads an attachment only when you open the email or attachment, or save the attachment to your Mac.
Optimizing storage for movies, TV shows, and email attachments doesn't require iCloud storage space.
Empty Trash Automatically
Empty Trash Automatically permanently deletes files that have been in the Trash for more than 30 days.
Reduce Clutter helps you to identify large files and files you might no longer need. Click the Review Files button, then choose any of the file categories in the sidebar, such as Applications, Documents, Music Creation, or Trash.
You can delete the files in some categories directly from this window. Other categories show the total storage space used by the files in each app. You can then open the app and decide whether to delete files from within it.
Learn how to redownload apps, music, movies, TV shows, and books.
Where to find the settings for each feature
The button for each recommendation in the Storage Management window affects one or more settings in other apps. You can also control those settings directly within each app.
- If you're using macOS Catalina, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Apple ID, then select iCloud in the sidebar: Store in iCloud turns on the Optimize Mac Storage setting on the right. Then click Options next to iCloud Drive: Store in iCloud turns on the Desktop & Documents Folders setting. To turn off iCloud Drive entirely, deselect iCloud Drive.
In macOS Mojave or earlier, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click iCloud, then click Options next to iCloud Drive. Store in iCloud turns on the Desktop & Documents Folders and Optimize Mac Storage settings.
- In Photos, choose Photos > Preferences, then click iCloud. Store in iCloud selects iCloud Photos and Optimize Mac Storage.
- In Messages, choose Messages > Preferences, then click iMessage. Store in iCloud selects Enable Messages in iCloud.
- If you're using macOS Catalina, open the Apple TV app, choose TV > Preferences from the menu bar, then click Files. Optimize Storage selects “Automatically delete watched movies and TV shows.”
In macOS Mojave or earlier, open iTunes, choose iTunes > Preferences from the menu bar, then click Advanced. Optimize Storage selects “Automatically delete watched movies and TV shows.”
- In Mail, choose Mail > Preferences from the menu bar, then click Accounts. In the Account Information section on the right, Optimize Storage sets the Download Attachments menu to either Recent or None.
Empty Trash Automatically: From the Finder, choose Finder > Preferences, then click Advanced. Empty Trash Automatically selects “Remove items from the Trash after 30 days.”
Other ways that macOS helps automatically save space
With macOS Sierra or later, your Mac automatically takes these additional steps to save storage space:
- Detects duplicate downloads in Safari, keeping only the most recent version of the download
- Reminds you to delete used app installers
- Removes old fonts, languages, and dictionaries that aren't being used
- Clears caches, logs, and other unnecessary data when storage space is needed
How to free up storage space manually
Even without using the Optimized Storage features of Sierra or later, you can take other steps to make more storage space available:
- Music, movies, and other media can use a lot of storage space. Learn how to delete music, movies, and TV shows from your device.
- Delete other files that you no longer need by moving them to the Trash, then emptying the Trash. The Downloads folder is good place to look for files that you might no longer need.
- Move files to an external storage device.
- Compress files.
- Delete unneeded email: In the Mail app, choose Mailbox > Erase Junk Mail. If you no longer need the email in your Trash mailbox, choose Mailbox > Erase Deleted Items.
- The Storage pane of About This Mac is the best way to determine the amount of storage space available on your Mac. Disk Utility and other apps might show storage categories such as Not Mounted, VM, Recovery, Other Volumes, Free, or Purgeable. Don't rely on these categories to understand how to free up storage space or how much storage space is available for your data.
- When you duplicate a file on an APFS-formatted volume, that file doesn't use additional storage space on the volume. Deleting a duplicate file frees up only the space required by any data you might have added to the duplicate. If you no longer need any copies of the file, you can recover all of the storage space by deleting both the duplicate and the original file.
- If you're using a pro app and Optimize Mac Storage, learn how to make sure that your projects are always on your Mac and able to access their files.
When you buy your first Mac or MacBook you will be a bit overwhelmed by how different macOS is in comparison with other operating systems. So to get started right away you will need some free apps that can help you do basic stuff like write text or edit photos.
There are many apps for Mac which are very useful. Here are some FREE amazing apps that will make your life better:
1. Image Frame
If you need an application that helps you improve your photos, Image Frame is one of the best in the business. This app comes with 50 frame designs, 7 artistic image effects and the possibility to convert and resize the images in batch mode. You can download Image Frame for free on the Mac App Store.
One of the apps on the Mac App Store that can help you modify audio content is Audacity. This app can cut or arrange sections in your audio content and it can even remove the noise from recordings. It might not be a masterpiece, but Audacity gets the job done.
3. GIPHY Capture
This app is pure gold for GIF enthusiasts. All you need to do is position the GIPHY screen over what you want to record and you can create a GIF. It’s very easy to use and a great tool for anyone.
4. Google Photos
Google Photos is a free app that helps you upload as many photos or videos as you like for free. The user just needs to have a Google account or create one otherwise. Also, Google Photos has the ability to identify photos automatically using a neural network.
5. LibreOffice Writer
This app opens .doc and .docx files and it can provide you a multitude of ways to style and format a document. Also, you can download different extension that will make you use this app very often.
6. myTuner Radio
If you are a music lover, this app is perfect for you. You can save your favourite radio stations from anywhere in the world, and listen to them anytime.
7. Photo Effects (Lite)
There are a lot of effects that you can apply to your photos using the tools that macOS offers you, but if you would like some more you should download Photo Effects. You can play with the intensity of the effects turning them up or down, and then enjoy your creation.
Shazam is an amazing app for iOS that helps you find out what track is playing instantly. If you are a fan of this app you can also find it now on the Mac App Store. What makes the Mac version of Shazam more special is the possibility of putting the app in AUTO mode so it can identify music at all times so you can listen to it later on.
Free Mac Storage
If you are talented or you just want to create a painting, you can do it using SketchBook for free. You will find a lot of painting tools and some great animations that will help you create some amazing drawings.
10. Who’s On My WiFi
That is a question many of us are asking. This app helps you find out who is using your WiFi connection with or without your permission. So, if you have a person who is using your connection abusively without you knowing, you will find out immediately who he is.
If you can’t view certain videos, VLC is the perfect app for you. It can also play the same audio contents that iTunes and QuickTime can play. Also, it’s very versatile and it supports a lot of formats.
12. WhatsApp Desktop
If you are a WhatsApp user on your phone you can also use the app on your Mac. After you download the app you need to open WhatsApp on your phone, go to Settings and scan the code on your desktop monitor. After this, you will see your WhatsApp messages on your desktop.
13. Total VPN
For accessing some web content that’s locked in certain countries you can use a VPN app. With the free version of Total VPN you will be able to access three locations with a limited usage.
Thunderbird is a great open source email client created by Mozilla that helps you communicate with a lot of people. It offers some amazing features and it can also be used together with Facebook, Twitter and more.
If you have a Mac and don’t know how to communicate with your friends, you should download Slack. You can talk to them via channels about anything you want.
16. Sophos Anti-Virus
Even if Macs don’t have many problems with viruses, Sophos Anti-Virus is a good opportunity to be sure you don’t have any threats on your Mac. This app detects approximately 99% of all threats for free.
17. Speedtest by Ookla
If you don’t have the best broadband connection, this app is very useful for any Mac user. You can very easily verify your upload and download speed.
18. Text Wrangler
If you need to write a code or a script on your Mac, you have to download Text Wrangler. This app is the free version of BBEdit and gives you some of its best features.