How to Free Up Disk Space on Your Mac

By Techwalla Contributor

If it seems like your Mac is running out of disk space, it is time to make hard decisions about which files to keep and which ones to delete. Fortunately, plenty of people have been in your situation before and have identified specific areas to examine for space-saving possibilities.

Things You'll Need

  • Xslimmer
  • iDMG
  • iLife
  • Disk Inventory X

Step 1

Many applications still contain code for both PowerPC and Intel platforms, even though your Mac has only one kind of processor. That's done so that the software is compatible with either type of Mac. Use the third-party application Xslimmer to trim your programs down to only the code your Mac requires. Drag a program into the Xslimmer window and hit "Slim." Xslimmer can also remove the additional languages included in programs, which can save a significant amount of space.

Step 2

You likely have printer drivers for every model of printer ever made. If you're doing a fresh install of OS X, choose to install only the ones you need. If you're not reinstalling, go to your "Library" folder and select "Printers." Look for a folder marked "PPDs" and delete all the drivers that don't apply to you.

Step 3

Archive any files you don't use frequently. If you have files you keep just in case you need them, compress them. Finder has a built-in utility to do this — just right-click the file and choose "Compress" to create a .zip file.

Step 4

If you use Garageband, compress inactive files. Garageband offers a feature that uses AAC technology to shrink Garageband files to a small file size. Just open the file and go to "File" and "Save" in the menu bar. Check the "Compact Project" box and select the size; smaller sizes are great for scratch or demo tracks you don't care about the quality in, while the larger bitrates leave even audiophiles struggling to tell the difference between the compressed file and the original.

Step 5

If you've taken all the above steps and still want to free up disk space, poke around your disk and see what's taking up so much space. The application Disk Inventory X makes this process easy. Just open it and tell it what disk to inspect. It'll create a graphical representation of your used disk space, making it easy to identify which files are taking up the most space.

Tips & Warnings

  • That extra disk space not only gives you more room, but makes your computer run faster as well.
  • Before you start to delete files, make a backup.