6 Easy Ways to Delete System Storage on an Old Mac

A Mac that is operating at over 85% storage capacity is likely going to give you many headaches, be it overheating or slowing down. Here are six of the key ways to effectively and easily clear up system storage space.

Delete unnecessary files

First and foremost, deleting system files consists of manually going through files and apps you do not need – it’s that simple. This means going through your downloads folder, desktop, and apps to see if you really need all of the files and software you have accumulated. Perhaps all of last year’s holiday pictures are already backed up and are no longer necessary, or that game you downloaded and no longer play. Deleting these will be moved to your Trash, where you should regularly empty it.

Delete cache files

Deleting cache files can be a bit of a pain, though you could use software to automate some of this. Head to Finder, press Go, and click Go to Folder. Enter “~/Library/Caches/” into the field and you will be presented with many folders. Do not delete the folders, but the cache files inside. 

However, you will also have to delete the web browser cache too, if you want a squeaky clean Mac. For Safari, open up the browser and choose History, then click Clear History. This will present a pop up in which you can choose what you wish to delete specifically – cache or all browsing history, for example. For other browsers, follow the official instructions on the support pages: Firefox and Chrome.

Optimize storage feature

Next up, we are going to enable the Optimize Storage feature, which should help automatically remove unnecessary files in the present and future. To do this, head to the Apple menu, press About This Mac, Storage, and then Manage Storage. Under the Recommendations tab, you will find the Optimize Storage feature. This page is also handy for backing up things in the iCloud, emptying clutter, and a feature to empty the bin automatically.

Update macOS

It’s vitally important that macOS is always up to date as it can impact security, performance, and even storage. To keep the Mac up to date, head to System Preferences and select Software Update. You can manually search for a new update and execute it on the spot if there is one. Just don’t do it right before you’re due to jumping on a Zoom call.

Remove Time Machine snapshots

Time Machine backups can also be deleted to free up some memory space. MacOS keeps a copy saved on your startup drive, and we can delete this by heading to Application, Utilities, then opening the terminal. From here, enter “tmutil listlocalsnapshotdates” and then type “tmutil deletelocalsnapshots xxxxxxx”, only to replace “xxxxxxx” with the name of one of the backups that were presented to you in the step before. Your Mac may consist of various Time Machine snapshots, so you can repeat this process over and over until multiple.

Deleting logs and supported files

The final tip is to head to the file location “~/Library/Application Support” like with the cache where you can find logs and support files to delete. In particular, search within the apps that you do not use to clear our redundant files.

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