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How to check the storage space on your Mac

For all their virtues, Macs are not very upgradeable machines. Most of the time, upgrading your Apple computer’s internal parts is difficult, if not impossible. That means if you didn’t buy one of the top MacBook or iMac configurations, it’s important to know how to check the storage space on your Mac.

Luckily, checking your available storage — and then freeing up space for the things you want to keep — is very easy to do. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of checking your Mac’s storage space, then show you a few quick ways of clearing out the junk you no longer need.

If you need more in-depth help with freeing up space on your Mac, we’ve got a guide for that, too. Once you’re done, you should have a lot more storage space on your Mac.

How to check disk space on your Mac

Step 1: Click the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your Mac’s screen, then click About This Mac.

Step 2: Click the Storage tab. This will show how much of your Mac’s storage is taken up, divided into color-coded sections. If you hover your mouse over each one, your Mac will tell you how much space that section is occupying.

The About This Mac screen in MacOS Monterey showing disk usage and free space.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 3: Use this to work out what is taking up the most space and whether you can delete some files from this section to free up space. For example, if the Applications section is very large, you could try deleting some apps. To do this, open Finder and click Applications in the left-hand sidebar. Click the Icon view button at the top, then click the Size column to sort your apps with the largest at the top. This way, you can work out if you want to keep the most space-hungry apps installed — those you don’t can be moved to the Trash.

A Finder window in MacOS Monterey showing installed applications.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Note: If you have divided your Mac’s drive into multiple APFS containers or HFS+ partitions or you have attached any external hard drives, they will also show up in About This Mac as separate drives, each with its own storage breakdown.

How to find more storage space on your Mac

There are many ways to free up space on your Mac, but one of the quickest and easiest is to use Apple’s own built-in tool within the About This Mac window. Here, we’ll show you how to use it.

Step 1: On the Storage tab in About This Mac, click Manage.

Step 2: If it is not already selected, click the Recommendations tab on the left.

Recommended actions to clear storage space in MacOS Monterey.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 3: Here, there are four options:

  • Store in iCloud uploads files, photos, and messages to your iCloud storage. You can choose to upload everything or just some file types (such as photos), but you need to have enough available iCloud space to store what you want to upload.
  • Optimize Storage removes Apple TV content once you’ve watched it and only keeps recent email attachments on your Mac.
  • Empty Trash Automatically deletes anything that has been in the trash for more than 30 days.
  • Reduce Clutter suggests files that could be deleted to save space, such as downloaded files and apps that do not work in your version of MacOS.

Step 4: Below Recommendations in the sidebar, there are additional sections that show you what is taking up the most space in different categories. For example, Applications shows the largest apps at the top. Click an app or file in the list, then click Delete to remove it.

A window showing large installed apps on MacOS Monterey that the user can uninstall to save storage space.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 5: As you delete files, keep checking the Storage tab in About This Mac to see how much free space you have. Apple suggests that you check storage space this way rather than using third-party apps or different settings in MacOS, which might measure free space differently and thus paint an inaccurate picture.

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