How to Free up Storage Space on MacBook Air or MacBook Pro

It’s recommended that you keep at least 15-20% of your Mac’s memory free to keep it running smoothly. Optimizing storage is an efficient way to do this. But there are also several other steps you can take to free up space on MacBook Air, Pro, or any other macOS device. Doing these routinely will ensure you don’t face any storage issues and are able to make the most of your system. So let’s have a look.

12 Easy Ways to Free Up Space on MacBook Air or Pro Running macOS Catalina

#1. Delete Large Files on your Mac

Instead of deleting a hundred small files and images, first of all, let us go for the big fish.

  1. Click on the Apple logo from the upper left and select About This Mac.Click on Apple Logo and Select About This Mac
  2. Now, click on Storage and then click on Manage.Select Storage and Click on Manage
  3. Click Documents. Mostly, this is where the big files are. Here you will see the video files, ZIP/RAR files, etc. By default, the biggest files are at the top. Select one or hold the command key and select multiple files
  4. Finally, click on Delete from the bottom right and confirm.Delete Large Files from Mac Storage

#2. Remove iOS and iPadOS Backups

  1. Click on the Apple logo from the upper left and select About This Mac.Click on Apple Logo and Select About This Mac
  2. Now Select Storage tab and click on Manage.Select Storage and Click on Manage
  3. Click iOS Files from left sidebar
  4. Select and Delete iOS Backup from Storage on Mac

Related: How to Find iPhone Backup Location on Mac & Windows

#3. Delete Unwanted Applications

You can delete Mac applications in various ways. You may follow the above steps, click on Applications, and remove the large ones.

Remove Unwanted Applications from Mac Storage

#4. Clear Cache to Free Up Space on Mac

  1. Be in Finder and click on Go from the top menu bar
  2. Click Go to Folder.Click on Go and Select Go to Folder on Mac
  3. Type or copy-paste ~/Library/CachesEnter Path and Click on Go in macOS
  4. Delete the files from here that are taking the most space. You may even delete everything. With normal usages, these files and folders will be recreated by macOS.Right Click on Files and Then Click on Move Trash to Clear Cache on Mac
  5. Next, click on Go again and then Go to Folder. Now type or copy-paste /Library/Caches
  6. You may delete files from here too. After this empty the trash and restart you Mac

#5. Remove Old Downloads

This comes down to what you are willing to keep and what you are happy to let go of. Nowadays everything is online in the cloud. Thus there is no point in storing too may videos, music, etc. on the local storage.

  1. Click on the Finder icon (leftmost) from the Dock
  2. Click Downloads and remove unnecessary files from here, by right-click and selecting Move to Trash.

You may also right-click and sort by size to quickly locate and delete the biggest files first.

#6. Compress Folders and Files

If you have many images and word files that you rarely use, but can not delete, then it is a handy idea to compress them. Here is how to zip and unzip files on Mac.

#7. Empty Trash Automatically

  1. Right-click on the Trash icon in the dock (the rightmost option)
  2. Click Empty Trash and confirm

To empty Trash automatically:

  1. Click on the Apple logo from the upper left and select About This Mac.Click on Apple Logo and Select About This Mac
  2. Now, click on Storage and then click on Manage.Select Storage and Click on Manage
  3. Click on Recommendations from the top of the left sidebar
  4. Click Turn On for Empty Trash Automatically.Turn On Empty Trash Automatically on MacClick on Turn on to Enable Empty Trash Automatically

Many times, GBs of files pile up and are stored in the Trash, thus occupying significant space. It is better to empty it regularly.

#8. Use iCloud to Store Documents

It is best to use iCloud to Store docs etc. on Mac if you have a paid iCloud plan that gives you more than 5 GB of online storage. Here is how to use iCloud to Store Documents.

  1. Click on the Apple logo from the upper left and select About This Mac.Click on Apple Logo and Select About This Mac
  2. Now, click on Storage and then click on Manage.Select Storage and Click on Manage
  3. Click on Recommendations from the top of the left sidebar
  4. Click Store in iCloud.Select Recommendations and Click on Store in iCloud
  5. Review what all will be stored. Uncheck if you wish to exclude photos, messages, desktop, and documents. Finally, click on Store in iCloud.Exclude Photos and Messages from Store in iCloud on Mac

You may also, enable iCloud Photos from System PreferencesApple IDiCloudPhotos or the Preferences of the Mac’s Photos app.

#9. Optimize Storage Automatically

  1. Click on the Apple logo from the upper left and select About This Mac.Click on Apple Logo and Select About This Mac
  2. Now, click on Storage and then click on Manage.Select Storage and Click on Manage
  3. Click on Recommendations from the top of the left sidebar
  4. Click on Optimize next to Optimize Storage. Now, all the movies and TV shows you have watched will be automatically removed.Select Recommendations and Click on Optimize in Mac StorageOptimize Storage Automatically on Mac

#10. Delete Attachments from Mac Mail App

Following these steps, you can delete the attachments that have been saved locally on the Mac from the mail app. Depending on the number of emails you receive, this data can be huge.

  1. Be in Finder and press and keep holding the Option key. Now click on Go from the top menu bar
  2. Click Library.Select Go and Click on Library in Finder on Mac
  3. Now, Click on Containers.Click on Containers in macOS Catalina
  4. Go to com.apple.mail.Click on com.apple.mail in macOS
  5. Click on Data.Click on Data
  6. Select Library.Click on Library
  7. Now, click on Mail Downloads.Click on Mail Download in macOS Catalina
  8. Select all folders and delete them. Or open the individual folders, see the content, and delete the unnecessary ones.Select Folder and Click on Move to Trash to Delete Attachments from Mail on Mac

Even if you delete from here, the attachments are still in your email that you can view or download anytime. Further, you may also choose to stop the Mac Mail app from downloading attachments.

#11. Remove Duplicate Files using Third-Party Apps

Duplicate files are a big headache and unnecessarily occupy space. We have a list of some of the best mac cleaner apps that can help you delete duplicate files on your Mac.

#12. Use External Drives for Large Infrequently Used Files

Do you have data that you do not use much but can neither delete them nor store them in the cloud? Well, consider investing in an external drive and move infrequently used large files to it.

Signing off…

These were some of the easiest ways to free up space on your MacBook Air. It’s a good idea to do these steps every now and then to keep your system performing well. Are there any other Mac tips you’re looking for? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll help you out.

You may also like to take a peek at:

+ posts

The founder of iGeeksBlog, Dhvanesh, is an Apple aficionado, who cannot stand even a slight innuendo about Apple products. He dons the cap of editor-in-chief to make sure that articles match the quality standard before they are published.