How to Free Up Space to Fix Insufficient Disk Space on Mac

How to Free Up Space and Fix Insufficient Disk Space on Mac

Wondering how to fix insufficient disk space on Mac? Here are the tips that help you operate your Mac smoothly.

Jul 20, 2020 • Filed to: Solve Mac Problems • Proven solutions

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While working on your Mac, are you getting an “insufficient disk space” error? It appears when the hard disk is left with a little or no space. You must be wondering how this affects Mac. Well, insufficient disk space Mac results in the slow and unstable performance of your operating system. It can even prevent any application from launching or work properly.

disk full mac

Are you also facing the same issue and thinking how to clean your disk properly? Here is a comprehensive guide for you. In this article, we will cover why you are getting an alert ‘your disk is almost full’ and how to fix it.

If you have accidentally deleted a necessary file, then you will also learn how to recover it with the Recoverit Data Recovery Software.

Part 1: What Causes Insufficient Disk Space on Mac?

There is no more space on your disk, and you might be wondering why? Well, hard disk space should never go beyond 85% because this will make the system slow and cause errors. If you get this warning, then it’s a red flag that you need to free up the storage instantly.

Before identifying what is taking up more space on the disk, reach the hard drive with the below steps:

Step 1: Get the mouse on the Dock at the bottom of the screen and open 'Finder.'

Step 2: Click on it in the menu bar at the top of the screen and then choose “Preferences.”

Step 3: In the pop-up window, check “Hard disks.”

After performing this step, your system will now show the hard disks on Mac in the form of icons. If you see more than one hard disk icon on your desktop, that means you have got multiple disks on the Mac. For this, you need to perform the steps below:

Step 1: Click on the 'Apple icon' at the top left and then head to System Preferences and then Startup Disk.

Step 2: Again, you will find hard disks, and they are usually named like Main HD or Main SSD. It will also show the OS version. In case you have more than drive, your startup disk should be the one with the latest MAC version.

To confirm what drive is your startup disk, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Click the 'Apple' icon in the menu bar at the top-left of the screen.

Step 2: Choose “About This Mac.”

Mac storage

Step 3: Under MAC OS, you will notice a version number. This number should match the number in the Startup Disk section.


Part 2: How to Solve Insufficient Disk Space on Mac?

Wondering how to solve “Startup disk full” or “your disk is almost full” error? Here are the best solutions that help you get rid of this problem.

Method 1: Delete Unnecessary Duplicate Files

One of the simple tricks to get rid of insufficient disk space error is to find and remove duplicate files littering on your computer. It is true if you have been using your system for a very long time.

Plenty of people prefer to eliminate junk files on Mac by hunting in their drive or main directory where they store their files. However, they skip the download section. It has a lot of unnecessary data, mainly the 'disk images.'

To clean up these junk files, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Head to "Finder" and then choose the "Download" folder.

Step 2: Type "disk image" into the search box of the pop-up window.

Step 3: Now pick "Disk Image" beneath the "Kinds header."

Step 4: Search results will show all the DMG files. Delete all of them to save space in your Mac.

Method 2: Uninstall Unused Applications

Unused installed applications are also taking up space. For uninstalling them:

Step 1: Open “Finder” and choose applications that are no longer in use.

applications folder

Step 2: Drag and drop the icons to trash.

move to trash highlighted

To see which apps are using more space:

Step 1: Open Finder and choose an application.

Step 2: Click icon ‘show items in the list’ on the toolbar and then click the size to sort them by size.

Method 3: Clean iTunes Backups

If you have massive iTunes data on your iPad, it might also be the reason behind insufficient space on Mac. To delete them manually, go to the path ‘~/Library/ApplicationSupport/MobileSync/Backup’ to open backup folders.

iTunes backup clear up

Method 4: Empty Trash

Emptying trash on Mac will completely remove them and free up the disk space. However, Mac OS has multiple trash cans, so you may need to empty more than one.

To empty main trash of your user account:

Step 1: CTRL-Click or right click on the trash icon at the bottom right corner.

Step 2: Now, choose empty trash. It will delete all the files that you have moved to the trash from Finder.

Mac trash can

Mail, iMovie, and iPhoto on Mac have their trash cans. If you have deleted files from them, you also need to empty their trash cans. To do this, simply:

Step 1: CTRL+click or right-click the 'Trash option' in that particular application

Step 2: Choose Empty Trash.

empty trash Mac

If you are unable to find deleted files on Mac trash, use the All-Round Recovery option. It will scan and hunt for more files from trash deeply. Relax and wait for the tool to recover all the data deleted from the trash folder.

Method 5: Remove Temporary Files

MAC temporary files sometimes take up huge disk space. Removing them will not only speed up your system but also free up disk space. There are tons of temporary files that you can check out by opening Finder and then go to Folder using ~/Library/Caches.

cache move to trash

It will open a cache folder that consists of plenty of folders in it. You can choose and delete it manually as per your needs.

Method 6: Get Rid of Language Files

Mac applications have language files for every language. They might be using hundred of megabytes space for no reason. To get rid of language packs manually, perform the following steps:

Step 1: Head to applications and right-click on it.

Step 2: Choose ‘show package contents’ and click on ‘contents’.

Step 3: Now click on ‘res’ and get rid of the language you don’t need on your Mac.

Step 4: Repeat the steps for other applications.

Mac language files

Method 7: Clean your Downloads Folder

Usually, the download folder is full of big files that you do require. To delete all the data from downloads, perform the following steps:

Step 1: Simply open the Finder and go to the Downloads folder.

Step 2: Begin deleting data you don’t need.

Mac download folder

If you want, you can even sort the file size fast. However, don’t skip to look at the folders. Remember, every time you open an archive file, it unzips into the folder automatically. And these folders are taking plenty of space on your Mac disk drive.

Method 8: Clean up Bulky Attachments in your Mail

Big Mac mail attachments are taking a lot of space on your drive. Thus, it’s a good idea to clean them while checking your drive. You can uncheck ‘download attachments automatically’ or run a cleanup tool to get rid of them.

In case you are using Gmail, you can set limits on how many messages are synced by default over IMAP.

Step 1: Head to Mail > Preferences > Accounts > Account information

Step 2: Change ‘Download attachments’ to ‘None’ or ‘Recent.’

Mac email attachment

Method 9: Delete Web Browser Cache

Internet browser creates cache every time you visit any website. However, doing this keeps your browser folder heavy, thereby creating a big problem. Thus, eliminating web browser junk is undoubtedly a priority. For this, perform the following steps:

Step 1: Open web browser and open ‘history’ tab

Step 2: Tap clear browsing data and choose files that you want to eliminate – cached images, cookies, site data

Step 3: Select from the top menu how far back you need to delete

Step 4: Click button named ‘clear browsing data.’

Recover Accidentally Deleted Files WithRecoverit Mac Data Recovery

When cleaning your hard drive, if you accidentally or unintentionally deleted unnecessary files, use Recoverit Mac Data Recovery to recover lost or deleted data. This is an excellent data recovery tool for both Mac and Windows.

It will recover all the data files in few minutes. The file can be documents, archives, pictures, audios, emails, or anything.

Features of Recoverit Mac Data Recovery tool:

Here is the step-by-step guide on how to use this software in Mac:

Step 1: Select a Location

Download and launch Recoverit on Mac. Now pick a drive under the ‘desktop’ tab under the ‘select location’ tab. If you know the location of your file, choose ‘select folder’ and click ‘start’ to proceed.

Mac data recovery recoverit

The tool will begin an all-round scan. However, if you use advanced scanning feature, it will recover all the deleted, lost, and formatted data files of large size.

Mac scanning lost files recoverit

Step 2: Preview and Recover Files

There is also a 'preview' feature in the software that allows users to preview the recoverable data before heading towards the recovery step. Pick the files that you need and hit the ‘recover’ button to get all your important files back.

Mac photo recovery preview recoverit

Step 3: Save Mac Files

Pick a different location on your drive to save all the recovered data.

Mac save recovered files recoverit

Note: If you have lost all your videos and are not able to find them using the standard recovery method, try using the Advanced Video Recovery option. It will perform an in-depth scan and will allow you to retrieve complicated videos using its advanced splicing algorithm.


Part 3: How to Ensure that Mac Have Enough Disk Space?

If you want to make your MAC run faster and ensure that it has sufficient disk space,

use the following pointers.

1. Get Rid of Heavy Applications Running in the Background

Mac applications drain your system even when you are not using them. However, you can increase the system res, bandwidth, and battery life by merely quitting them. For this, you can use in-built utility that comes with Mac OS – Activity Monitor.

It will help you see the network, CPU, disk activity, memory, network, usage, and individual tasks. You can quickly troubleshoot your Mac using Activity Monitor.

How to Use the Activity Monitor?

Step 1: Go to Finder > Go > Utilities

activity monitor pathway

Step 2: Go to Activity Monitor, and it will display the top application in the last twelve hours.

activity monitor

2. Optimize Drive Storage

Running out of space may ruin your mood and your system performance. It can even allow your application to crash. It typically happens when the Mac operating system is continually swapping memory to disk.

Step 1: Go to Apple Logo > About This Mac

about this Mac

Step 2: Click it and then head to 'overview' to see memory, processor, graphics, serial number, and startup disk.

about this Macoverview

Step 3: Now, choose the ‘storage’ tab to get more information about the usage of your Macintosh HD storage.

Step 4: Click on the ‘manage’ button. You will get recommendations for saving your hard disk space automatically.

storage management recommendations

Note: Storing all your important files in iCloud is also a good idea to free up storage space.

3. Check for Hardware Upgrades

Upgrading your hardware and replacing your drive or RAM is the best way to get maximum out of the Mac. You can also reset the parameter random access memory (PRAM). You can reset PRAM by performing the following steps:

Step 1: Restart your Mac.

Step 2: Now press and hold Command+Option+P+R immediately before the grey boot screen appears.

Step 3: Continue holding them until the system restarts.

Step 4: Finally, release the keys to reset PRAM.

However, when it comes to performing a physical hardware RAM upgrade, you will need to identify what kind of RAM your Mac OS use. For this, go to Apple Logo > About this Mac and then Overview.

about this Mac overview

Note: Upgrading the old hard drive of your Mac to a solid-state drive (SSD) will bring a new life into a dying computer.

4. Get Rid of Clutter

Get rid of clutter by removing big files that you no longer require. Click the ‘review files’ button and then pick any file category in the sidebar like Trash, Music, Documents, Creation, or Applications. You can delete the data files directly from this window.

Other categories display the total storage space used by the files in every application. You can then open these applications and decide whether to remove data from them.

documents tab highlighted

Wrapping Up:

Macbook's hard drives fill up quickly. Luckily, there are simple methods to free up space on your hard drive and get rid of ‘insufficient disk space on Mac’ error. We have discussed various solutions with detailed steps in this article.

However, if you have accidentally deleted any of the important files use Recoverit Mac Data Recovery tool. It’s advanced recovery feature will dig a lot deeper into your system and recover files of any size.

Sue Wayne

staff Editor

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