How (and Why) to Check Your Mac's Storage

by Sarah Dobson on November 23, 2020

Worried that your Mac’s drive might be filling up? Or perhaps you want to see how much space you’re using as you research buying a backup drive or a new Mac. Regardless, Apple provides a quick and informative way to see how your drive is being used.

How to Check Storage on Mac Computer

If your computer is running low on storage capacity, you can free up your current Mac computer hard drive space (we’ll get to that next). You can always purchase an external hard drive, and that can solve your lack of storage space woes for the time being, too. But first, you’ll want to know how to check your Mac’s storage capacity. Here’s one way to do it:

  1. Click the Apple menu, choose About This Mac, and click the Storage tab.
  2. The display tells you how big your drive is, how much space is free, and most interestingly, what types of files occupy the most space.
  3. Hover over one of the colored bars to see a pop-up that tells you exactly how much space it takes.

There are other ways to discover how much Mac computer storage is available on your machine. One option is to use The Finder, which is the first thing you see when your Mac finishes starting up. You can also see how much storage space is free by using your Mac’s Disk Utility app. Finally, another option allows you to check disk usage from the About box (requires macOS Yosemite or later).

How to Free Up Storage on a Mac Computer

There are several ways to free up storage on your Mac computer. For instance, you can save hard drive space by using built-in tools to locate and remove large files you don’t need. You can also use the optimize button, which saves space by automatically removing movies and TV shows you’ve already watched. Of course, you can always manually delete files and send them to the Trash, or move files to an external storage device, too. Or you can also store content in iCloud.

Using iCloud to Free Up Mac Computer Storage:

You can free up your Mac computer storage by storing files such as photos, videos, messages, and documents in iCloud. First, click the Store in iCloud button and then you can choose from several options:

  • Desktop and Documents: You can store Desktop and Document files in iCloud Drive. When you need storage space, only the files you’ve recently opened are kept on your Mac, allowing you to work offline efficiently.
  • Photos: When you need to increase your Mac computer storage space, you can opt to store all of your original, full-resolution photos and videos in iCloud Photos. The only saved photos that will remain on your Mac will be optimized photos that occupy minimal storage. If you want to download any original photos back to your computer, all you have to do is open it!
  • Messages: You can also free up storage space by keeping your important or sentimental text messages and attachments in iCloud.

Keep in mind that when you store files in iCloud, it uses the storage space in your iCloud storage plan. Fortunately, you can always buy more iCloud storage when you’ve reached or exceeded your iCloud storage limit.

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