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How to Free Up Space on a MacBook Hard Drive?

The MacBook is designed to be an optimal device with sustainable usage. From hardware to software, everything about this computer is made for light-speed performance.

The “lightness” of this type of computer translates to everything, like the weight, size, and storage capacity. While a Mac is not some tiny box that quickly gets full, it has a limit as to how much it can carry.

How to Free Up Space on MacBook Hard Drive


Taking up the entire storage space can affect its performance. The reason is that every computer requires significant free disk space to work well. More so, you cannot add a new document or application if your storage is full.

This article will guide people on efficient ways to free up space on the hard drive on their Mac. Individuals can do this using a Mac cleanup tool or manually removing specific files. Before doing that, learn how the MacBook works to help people utilize it better.

Understanding How the MacBook Works

Most tech critics will claim that Apple computers do not give the “full performance” like other devices. This is a false narrative, as the MacBook is not slow in any way. For a better understanding, imagine visiting the desktop version of a website through your phone.

The reason for this analogy is that critics often refer to other options like gaming laptops when making a comparison. To these individuals, the MacBook does not give the complete performance as those machines. As the explanation above has shown, Apple computers do not need to be heavy-duty performers to function optimally.

Contrary to the claims, the MacBook can handle significant digital load. It is an excellently optimized workstation that can be used for gaming. This is despite not being designed for gameplay purposes.

Properly Optimizing Your Storage Space

Until 2021, the average MacBook had a default storage space of 256 Gigabytes. Such a hard drive can comfortably store more than 107,000 pictures with a size of 2 megabytes. People can also expand their storage space by installing hard drives with larger capacities, i.e., 512 Gigabytes and 1 Terabyte.

While the possibility of expanding your storage is an option, it is not that straightforward. Even 1 Terabyte of storage can still run out if people do not manage their computer space efficiently. Considering these factors, the smart approach is to be proactive and avoid clogging up your hard drive.

Here are some simple ways to optimize the storage space on your MacBook:

Only Install the Necessary Applications

Most people (especially those who use Windows computers) often believe that applications do not take up space. This is a false assertion, as Mac apps are significantly larger than the software programs of other operating systems.

Programmers write applications for various operating systems. Unlike Windows, an iOS developer writes apps in a different programming language (Swift). This accounts for the significant difference in size.

Avoid installing too many applications, especially if there are similar ones already installed on the computer. There is no need to install a screenshot or screen recording app when an existing in-built system software serves this purpose. Just press Shift+Command+5.

Stream Media Instead of Downloading Them

Most individuals prefer to download audio and videos to their local storage. According to such people, this approach is more economically efficient and does not require a constant network connection. What they fail to understand is that this method has adverse long-term effects.

Many computer users tend to underrate the impact of media files on hard drive storage. As a result, they are often quick to accumulate these types of documents on their computer. Before they know it, their PC is almost out of space.

Avoid Using Your MacBook as a Backup Device

Most often than not, computers have more significant storage capacity compared to mobile phones. It has somewhat become regular practice for people to back up their phone data on their computers. Although this approach seems effective, it has numerous disadvantages.

There are already existing files on your computer. Adding external ones will increase the load demand on your computer. Instead of transferring information from your phone and iPad, save them on iCloud. You can also pay for additional cloud storage.

How to Free Up Space on Your Mac

There are many reasons why you may be running low on storage on your MacBook. One of them is that you failed to follow the instructions explained above. This may have led to the hard drive on your PC running out of space.

There is also the possibility that the inbuilt storage space is not enough. There are still some Apple PCs that have an inbuilt storage space of 128 Gigabytes. If you fall into any of these categories above, below are measures you can use to free up space on your Mac.

Uninstall as Many Unused Apps as Possible

Earlier on, we stated that Mac applications consume more storage space than people give them credit for. Therefore, the first option to begin unclogging your hard drive storage is by accessing the software programs installed on your computer.

The first place to look is those apps that are modified versions of websites. Good examples include social media platforms. Uninstall them and access them via the Internet.

The next set of apps are those that are hideous and may not appear on your launcher. Examples include Launch Agent and browser extensions. These can be tougher to locate, and you may need to use the Finder program.

Backup Media Files and Delete Local Copies

Like with applications, these are also very simple to do. Go through your finder and check for media files that you have downloaded in the past. The list includes videos, movies, songs, pictures, etc.

Once you can locate them, the first step is to sort them. Carefully identify the files that you want to keep. Back those into iCloud or other online storage platforms, and delete the rest. Emphasis should be on large files that you do not need.

It is advisable to only store personal media on iCloud. The reason is that this cloud storage service offers limited server space for each user. In addition, people can always access third-party media from the internet at any time that they want.

Increase Your iCloud Storage

We have mentioned iCloud and its limitation in the point above. However, Mac users do not have to restrict themselves to the default options. Apple PC can expand their iCloud storage by 50 Gigabytes, 200 Gigabytes, and 2 Terabytes when they pay $1, $3, and $10 per month correspondingly.

Clear System Junk and Cache Files

The truth is that Mac users may not need to take these other measures if they can properly clean out their computers. Applications and operation processes tend to leave significant digital footprints on a computer. Clearing them out can free up significant space.

Browser cache and junk mails are very good examples. Asides from these, old backups of iPhones, iPads, and computers can also take up storage space. There are certain apps that leave residues behind, even after they have been uninstalled.

Individuals need to thoroughly go through their PC to identify and remove these system and junk files. Ensure that user folders belonging to old users are not collecting precious hard drive space. This tip is targeted at every MacBook that has multiple users.

Also, check the shared files folder to ensure that no unnecessary file is hidden there. Finally, do not just move every item to the computer’s bin and store them there. Instead, clear your bin and remove these unnecessary files.

Purchase a Hard Drive With a Bigger Storage Space

Perhaps, you are a programmer or graphics designer who works with large files. Maybe you just prefer local storage and do not want to delete any application, media, or document from your Mac.

The only solution, in this case, is purchasing a bigger hard drive. People can visit a technician or install a solid-state drive by themselves. It is important to note that they will need to install the operating system on the new hard drive before using it.


The internal storage of a MacBook plays an essential role in its function. As a result, people need to use it optimally to ensure that they do not run out of space. In a case where the storage space becomes clogged, there are several measures to take and free up space on Mac hard drive.

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