It often happens that you notice your Mac’s deteriorating performance or witness error messages more frequently, notifying you about the need to free up some storage space to save new files and data effectively. In this case, you typically go to the “Storage” section of your menu to see what files have occupied all the free space. Once the analysis report shows up, you might be shocked to see how much space is taken by the “System.”
So, why would your System need so much space? What files does it store, and which of them are non-critical for your Mac’s operation? Here is the article explaining why System storage often takes so much space on your hard drive. Read on to see how the System storage space can be effectively minimized without risks.
How to Check Your Space?
Pros say that it’s not hard to clean your Mac’s memory space. You don’t need to use any external apps or cleaners for this purpose; all you need is to know where to look. So, go to the “About this Mac” section and click on “Storage.” The device will prepare a report for you, indicating the portion of your memory occupied by specific file types:
- Apps, and more.
Thus, by looking at this breakdown, you’ll be able to receive the initial impression about how much is too much. For instance, if your System storage occupies two-thirds of the memory bar, you might start thinking about ousting some things from this folder.
What Does the System Storage Include?
Now, let’s dig deeper into what System storage typically comprises. First of all, we want to note that “System” doesn’t stand only for system files, suggesting that all of them are critical for your Mac’s operation and non-removable. In fact, many other file types get into the category of System files, so you can make the final decision about deletion only after an in-depth look into the file register.
System folders vary on different computers, so to see the composition of yours, you need to enter the “Go” menu on your Mac and find the “Library” option there. There, you should go to “Application Support.” This folder will contain all folders that your System includes. You can sort the list by size to see what folders occupy the largest amount of space. Thus, you may have a clear idea of what the System includes, choosing the files you may delete without regrets.
The only tip is to double-check all folders you’re about to delete. The fact that you don’t know what the folder’s name means doesn’t suggest that the files are redundant. Many system files have long, weird names but are nevertheless critical for the System’s proper operation. Thus, it’s better to Google all unknown names to see whether you can indeed remove those files as clutter.
How to Reduce System Storage Space Hassle-Free?
Now that we’ve identified the data types hiding under the umbrella System storage, it’s time to clean some space for efficient operations. Here are some risk-free and easy methods to consider.
#1 Use Recommendations
Macs are smart devices. The Mac’s System conducts its internal audit on its own and has a clear idea of what it doesn’t need. So, as soon as you click the “Manage” tab in the “Storage” section, the System will issue several wise recommendations to optimize your space use. These tips are contained in the “Recommendations” section located in the top left corner of the “Manage” menu. There, you will most likely see the following recommendations:
- Moving some large files to iCloud
- Adjusting the System’s settings in a way that ensures automatic deletion of watched iTunes videos and content you might not need anymore.
- Automatic cleaning of the Trash bin for permanent removal of the files you’ve deleted.
If you follow this minimal set of recommendations, you’ll already feel a great relief in the form of freed space and optimized system use. However, it’s only the tip of the iceberg, as the System can’t manually check all files and suggest their deletion. This is what you need to do on your own, and that will be our next step.
#2 Manual Audit
The last point in the Recommendations section is the “Reduce Clutter” tab, which prompts you to review the files you may not need any longer. By clicking “Review Files,” you get to the register of large, old files that the System deems as probably not needed anymore. You should go through the list on your own, seeing the date you last accessed each file and the size of that file occupied in Mac’s memory. Here, the data is divided into:
- Large files
- Unsupported apps
- File browser
You may scan each category to choose the files you no longer need, clicking “Remove” to free up some essential storage. It’s vital to take a closer look at the downloads as most users tend to leave too many files in that folder, while in fact, they need only to review those files once, forgetting about them afterward.
Another approach to a manual audit is to look through each folder in the “Manage” section, such as documents, applications, music, iCloud, photos, etc. By clicking on each folder, you’ll see files ordered by their size, so you’ll be able to decide on each file’s value and relevance.
#3 Photo Preferences
In the world of Instagram dependence, people take many more photos than they used to. Thus, if your computer is synchronized with your iPhone, you will witness a gradual increase in the proportion of space occupied by your photos. These files are also classified as System files, so you might not even notice the problem at first.
A wise solution for photo enthusiasts is to tweak their photo storage preferences. You need to activate the function of high-resolution photo storage in iCloud, thus saving the essential space that automatically gets cluttered with multimedia content. In this way, you will always have your photos at hand by connecting to iCloud, leaving your Mac’s space free.
Even if you prefer to keep photos at hand and are not ready to send them to iCloud, make sure to exclude videos from the content stored on your Mac. Videos typically weigh much more than other multimedia content. Thus, by sending videos directly to iCloud, you have all chances to have a more optimal System memory space distribution.
#4 That Suspicious “Other” Folder
Besides the files that your System highlights as potentially redundant, you might need to take a deeper look into your system storage. Sometimes, particular file categories are stored in the conspicuous folders, not showing up at once, but occupying considerable space. This is what “Other” storage typically contains.
A simple and risk-free method to minimize the clutter of the “Other” folder, you may follow these steps:
- Save all your files to iCloud
- Sign out from your Apple ID and remove the user cards
- Reformat your Mac by returning to factory settings
A handy tip is not to use the Time Machine option in this procedure; it will save the “Other” folder as well, thus making all the effort useless.
Back It Up
Whenever you start freeing space on your hard drive and target the System folder, make sure to back up all files in advance. It often happens that you delete the wrong file only to see that some critical apps stop working. A data backup is thus vital to ensure that your system works well and doesn’t suffer any damage because of your cleanup.