How To Clean Out System Storage On Mac


/Mac Cleaner /Top 2 Ways to Remove Mac Purgeable Space [2021 Update]

I’m a Mac user and I use it for storing large-sized files. I’m a video special effects specialist and I am responsible for my company’s large video files. I just heard about the Purgeable storage in macOS Sierra. What is it? Can you tell me more about this Purgeable storage?

Find hidden junk, large old folders, background apps, and heavy memory consumers. Use CleanMyMac X to free up space on your Mac and tune it for maximum speed. The new version effectively blocks. Methods to clear system storage on Mac.Download CleanMyMac X free edition here:How to clean up Mac OS system storage:1.

  1. From the Menu bar, select the ‘apple logo”. Click on the ‘about the Mac’ button and then choose Storage. Now select the ‘Manage’ and then enable the ’empty trash automatically’ option.
  2. Downloads Folder. The Downloads folder is the default location on Mac that stores all the content.

You’re in the right place. I'll show you about what is Mac Purgeable space and how to remove purgeable space on Mac.
Tips: iMyMac PowerMyMac can help you easily clean up your Mac to remove purgeable space, just have a free trial below.

Article GuidePart 1. What is Mac Purgeable Space?Part 2. How to Manage Your Mac Storage?Part 3. How to Remove Purgeable Space on Mac?Part 4. Bonus Tip: How to Preview Purgeable Storage In Your Sierra?Part 5. In Conclusion

People Also Read:2021 Top Tips to System Has Run Out of Application MemoryHow Much Space Does Mac OS Take?

Part 1. What is Mac Purgeable Space?

What's the meaning of Purgeable? Mac Purgeable Space is actually related to the Optimized storage feature of your macOS Sierra. Apple didn’t make your hard drive space bigger. What they’ve done is to handle the limited space on your Macintosh with the help of cloud storage. This, in turn, made one part of your storage bar and turned it into a piece called “Purgeable.”

You must notice that there is other and purgeable in about this Mac. Now, let’s dive more into detail with the said slice of the storage pie. Purgeable storage actually contains files that your macOS refers to as suited for removal.

That’s why it’s called purgeable, it can actually be deleted from your drive without causing any issues. If Optimized storage is activated, a lot of files gets transferred to the cloud. Some of them are referred to as optional files.

Tip:How to deal with the issue of 'Your startup disk full'?

Purgeable Files: Which Ones Are Considered Such?

No one is 100% sure as to which files are considered purgeable. Some guessed that files and system-generated files that have these two criteria are considered purgeable:

  1. Super old files you have not used or opened for a really long time.
  2. Files that are already synced to iCloud. Thus, the original file can be removed on your Mac device since it already has a copy on iCloud.

Mac Purgeable files vary in types. It can be any type out there. It can be movies you watched on iTunes. Or, it can also be language files you have never used before. The type of language files that your system hasn’t displayed cause you might not need it or might not understand it.

However, what renders these files purgeable and what does it actually mean? The system on your device looks for these files. It knows that when your Mac is about to run out of disk space and your Optimized Storage is activated, it can automatically delete these files to free your storage of space.

Part 2. How to Manage Your Mac Storage?

You may use a computer to store all your files like photos and videos, then you will have a hard time finding more available space on your Mac's internal drive. So you can get some space by managing and optimizing storage on your Mac.

When you choose to manage your computer's storage space, there are 4 parts to operate. Let's first see how to find these options:

  1. Click About This Mac under the Apple Menu.
  2. Select and click the Storage tab, you will see your available macOS storage.
  3. Press Manage, you will now access storage management options.
  4. Select Recommendations from the left column.

Now you will see 4 options including Store in iCloud, Optimize Storage, Empty Trash Automatically and Reduce Clutter. Let's discuss how to use them to help you manage your storage separately:

Store in iCloud

With this option, icloud stores only the latest files and optimized photos, and icloud downloads them when you need them. In this way, it saves a lot of storage space.

Optimize Storage

When choosing this option, the purgeable categories are added to your storage details. After clicking the Optimize Storage button, there are iTunes movies and attachments you can manage specifically to save your Mac storage.

Empty Trash Automatically

This option allows you set Mac delete items from the Trash automatically after saving for 30 days. Just select Finder>Preferences>Advanced>Check the box that says 'Remove Items from the Trash after 30 days'.

Reduce Clutter

This option allows you to select and delete any files you unneeded anymore to save some space on Mac. By pressing Review Files button, you will see a new window jumps out and shows you all the apps and files stored on your Mac. You can delete by file type (selected in the sidebar).

Tip: You can uninstall unneeded apps on your Mac completely with PowerMyMac Uninstaller, here shows you how to uninstall OneDrive on Mac as a reference.

Part 3. How to Remove Purgeable Space on Mac?

This is very easy. All you need is a tool called iMyMac PowerMyMac. With this tool, you can find all useless files on your device and delete purgeable space on Mac with a few clicks. You can know more useful cleaners form here.

Here is how to use iMyMac PowerMyMac to remove purgeable space on Mac Mojave, Catalina, or High Sierra step by step, try the steps below:

  1. Download And Open iMyMac PowerMyMac.
  2. Scanning System Junk.
  3. Review Items And Select Which To Delete.
  4. Clean Up Finished.

Step 1. Download And Open iMyMac PowerMyMac

Download the iMyMac PowerMyMac on your computer and open it. The main screen will appear and it will display the Network condition. Click the module named Master Scan on the left-hand side.

Step 2. Scanning System Junk

Click the Master Scan button and wait. The scanning process will start and wait for it to finish. After it is completed, it will display all Junk files to you.

The Junk files will be classified into different categories including Application Cache, Photo Cache, Mail Cache, System Logs, System Cache, and System Trash, among others.

Note: You can click Rescan to scan your device again.

Step 3. Review Items And Select Which To Delete

Click a certain category. And then review the files found on the right-hand side of the screen. Select the files you want to delete. After which click the Clean button.

Step 4. Clean Up Finished

The junk files will now be erased. It will then show folders marked as Zero KB. Other folders will not be shown as Zero KB because they are auto-recreated folders.

Repeat steps 1 to 4. But in this case, select UNINSTALLER or LARGE & OLD FILES instead of Master Scan.

How to Remove Purgeable Storage On Your Device?

Actually, you don’t need to do this by yourself. But if you wish to do so, you can move to the next part of this guide.

Mac Purgeable space is there in that whenever your device is running out of space, you will be safe knowing that it will automatically clear up the allocated purgeable space.

This will lead to more free space on your Mac. The best thing to do for you to avoid lifting a finger is to activate other Storage. In this way, your device will automatically purge the said files. To do this, follow the steps below:

  1. Go to the About This Mac menu.
  2. Next, go to the Storage tab.
  3. After which, press Manage.

Now, you have the ability to activate a particular option that you wish to be synced to iCloud.

Part 4. Bonus Tip: How to Preview Purgeable Storage In Your Sierra?

You may use Sierra or High Sierra on your Mac, and there must be some Mac purgeable storages.

You have the ability to check out the amount of space in your Sierra can purge in a variety of places:

  1. The first method you can do is to check your native storage tab. You can access this tab by going to the Apple Menu and selecting About This Mac. Then, you go to the tab named Storage.
  2. You can also view it on your Finder’s Status Bar. To display your Status Bar, you should click View and then press Show Status Bar.
  3. The third option is to go to the top menu and click Go. Then, select Computer. Next, right-click on the hard drive. Then, go to getting Info.
  4. The fourth option would be to click View. Then, go to the Options panel. This will activate the Desktop display of hard disks.
  5. The final option would be to ask Siri about how much space you have left on your device.

Part 5. In Conclusion

Purgeable space on Mac is one way your device works smarter instead of harder. Instead of putting a bigger disk space on your Mac, you are given an optimization feature. Purgeable files are files that can be removed without causing issues to your device. It is automatically deleted on your device if Optimized Storage is turned on.

However, if you find your Mac is running slowly and want to delete more unnecessary files on your system, you can use a tool like iMyMac PowerMyMac. For example, it can help you find all your images stored on your Mac and remove the duplicates. It helps you scan your device for unneeded files and delete them completely without causing harm to your device.

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Comment ()

Willan2019-10-04 10:10:05

I've tried many ways manually, they lost my time and I felt troublesome. So I turned to a third-party to help me. Luckily, iMyMac Mac Cleaner mentioned in this post satisfied my needs and saved my time.

iMyMac2019-10-04 11:03:06

Thanks for your support!

Velin2019-10-08 09:35:56

I totally agree that we should remove purgeable space on our Mac because that really helps us save much storage space. Thanks for your tips! They work well for me.

iMyMac2019-10-08 11:40:20

Thanks for your support!

Abby H2019-06-28 11:04:07

National Clean Out Your Computer Day! It's a great idea to nudge me into doing some cleaning. After reading this post, I have been using iMyMac Mac Cleaner to remove purgeable space on my Mac to save more storage. It helps a lot to organize my Mac regularly.

How to clean up system space on mac

iMyMac2019-06-28 13:47:23

Thanks for your support!

Cathy2019-05-21 10:06:05

I bought my MacBook at my first college year. It companied me all the time through my college years. So the full storage thing really bothered me. Lots of solutions have I tried. Then I have tried the first way mentioned in this post about using Mac Cleaner to remove purgeable space on my Mac, it really helps! Thanks so much, pretty happy!

iMyMac2019-05-21 11:01:05

Thanks for your support and happy to hear that!


KHUY PY2019-04-04 15:14:26

I found in Get Info. of may hard disk, the 38.49 GB purgeable. and How to delete this unused space?ThanksPy

iMyMac2019-04-04 17:08:06

Thanks for your support! You can just check the Part 3 in this article, there are detailed steps to help you delete that unused space. Hope that really help you!

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Solid-state storage (SSD) is fantastically fast, but its high cost means that Macs with built-in SSD startup drives have a much lower capacity than their hard disk-based counterparts. This can be a problem if you have a large collection of photos or music files, or if you use your Mac to edit video. And so, if you have an SSD, you probably spend a lot of time checking the Storage tab in About this Mac. One thing you’ll have noticed is that colored bar labeled ‘System’. What is it and how do you clear it? Read on and find out.

What is System storage on Mac?

System storage, obviously, contains the macOS itself but what else is there? Part of this storage includes applications, drivers, volume data, and Library. While the nominal size of the macOS is around 12 GB (for macOS Big Sur), the Library is the real space-hogger. It contains piles of old cache files and supporting data.

Why does the system take so much space on Mac?

Your system is mainly stored in both the System and Library folders. If your system is taking up too much disk space on Mac, explore those two folders and see what's stored in them.

If you’re having a lot of your space allocated for “system,” you may have Time Machine snapshots stored on your Mac. Later in this article, we’re going to explain how to remove Time Machine backups.

How to reduce system storage on Mac

1. Check for unnecessary files in System storage

Much of the storage space used by the OS for system-related tasks is cleared when macOS deletes the files automatically, but sometimes that doesn’t happen, which is why the System category can grow very large. Apple doesn’t explain what comprises this category of storage, but it’s likely that the following are part of it:

  • Time Machine backups
  • Old iOS backups
  • File Vault files
  • App cache files
  • Unused disk images

Not knowing what files are included in System storage makes finding them tricky. However, it’s far from impossible. My favorite tool for clearing unnecessary system junk from my Mac is CleanMyMac X. It has lots of tools for clearing out junk files, but for our purposes, there’s one that really helps: System Junk. This handy utility scans your Mac and identifies things like temporary files, translation files in apps, broken preferences files, old updates, and system cache files that are no longer needed. You can then remove them with one click. Or you can choose which ones you want to get rid of and remove just those. If you want to give it a go, you can download a free version of CleanMyMac X here.

Once you’ve downloaded and installed it, do this:

  1. Launch CleanMyMac X.
  2. Choose System Junk in the sidebar.
  3. Press Scan.
  4. Once it’s finished, if you’re happy to remove the files CleanMyMac recommends, press Clean.
  5. If not, choose Review Details and go through the list of results.
  6. Uncheck the box next to any items you don’t want to delete.

That will help you to get rid of system storage on Mac.

As you can see from the screenshot, the app offers to remove my Unused Disk Images (the remains of DMG installers), broken downloads, old app updates. If you use Photoshop or other media editor you’ll see the option to delete Document Versions — intermediate edits of your files. In other words, you have many options for freeing up space at your disposal.

2. Manually remove Time Machine backups

Aside from using CleanMyMac X, one of the most straightforward ways to clear system storage on a Mac, is to get rid of Time Machine backups. Wait, what? You thought Time Machine backups were stored on an external or network drive? They are! But macOS also keeps a copy of your backup on your startup drive, in case the external drive isn’t available when you need to restore files. That way you can restore data on a MacBook even when you’re on the move.

How To Clean Out System Storage On Mac Air

macOS should delete Time Machine backups when your Mac runs low on storage, but it doesn’t always work out that way. And besides, you might not want to wait until your Mac is short of space before you delete them. So, here’s how to reduce system storage on a Mac by deleting Time Machine backups. Remember that will delete local copies of your backups, so if you think you might need them, don’t do it.

  1. Go to Applications > Utilities and launch Terminal.
  2. When a Terminal window opens, type: tmutil listlocalsnapshotdates
  3. Press Return.

You will now see a list of stored Time Machine backups, listed by date.

  1. Type: tmutil deletelocalsnapshots xxxxxxx where ‘xxxxxxx’ is the name of one of the backups listed . This will take the form of a date followed by a text string.
  2. Press Return.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for as many backups as you want to remove, checking the Storage tab in About this Mac each time to see how much space you’ve cleared.

3. Optimize your storage

If you’ve faced a cluttered storage situation, there’s another way to fix it. Apple has anticipated such an issue and equipped the macOS with some features to optimize your space.

Go to the Apple menu and select About This Mac. Select the Storage tab and press Manage. In the window that appears, you can see some of the useful suggestions. 'Store in iCloud' lets you transfer all your data to cloud storage and reclaim some GBs on your Mac. The second option allows you to delete the heaviest files, like movies and programs.

Turning on 'Empty Bin Automatically' can be a useful option if you forget to do it regularly.

By pressing Review Files, you will jump into the Documents section. Review the files that are stored on your Mac and pay attention to the Unsupported Apps category. It can contain some programs that can no longer run on your macOS version.

Bonus tip: remove duplicate files

Aside from the bizarre system files, another thing that nibbles on your storage is duplicates. Remember that track you’ve accidentally added twice? Or a mail attachment you’ve opened several times? All these files just sit on your Mac and take up precious space.

Here’s how you can quickly delete them in a few clicks.

How to clean up system storage on macbook

How To Free Up Storage On Mac

  1. Download and open Gemini 2
  2. Choose a folder and click Scan for Duplicates
  3. Wait for the scan to finish

Now you can Click Smart Cleanup to get rid of detected duplicates and delete system storage on Mac. Or click Review Results if you want to double-check what’s being deleted.

What else can you do to reduce System storage on Mac?

Believe it or not, one thing you can do is wait. When you first choose the Storage tab in About this Mac, macOS seems to allocate quite a lot to System that it then reallocates elsewhere. For example, some users have reported that after waiting for a few minutes, much of the storage that was labeled System, is moved to the iCloud label. So if you wait, you might find that the System isn’t taking up disk space in the huge quantities that it seemed to be at first.

The other thing you can do is investigate what files are designated as ‘System’. We’ve already talked about Time Machine backups, but everything stored in your Mac’s System or Library folders comes under the ‘System’ heading in About this Mac. That is:


How To Clean Macbook Storage




Click on the Go menu in Finder and select Go to Folder, then paste in each of the paths above in turn.

Go through the subfolders in each and press Cmd-I to Get Info and check how much data is in each. You’ll quickly discover where your precious storage has gone.

It’s likely that much of it is accounted for by cache files for apps like Photos and Safari. MacOS caches as much data as it can to avoid having to re-download it, which boosts performance. And it’s smart enough to know that it must delete cache files when you run low on storage.

If you decide that you don’t want to leave it up to the operating system to free up storage, don’t just start trashing cache files or folders randomly, you might delete something you shouldn’t. So be careful

Another way to go about it, is to use a storage analyzer. There are nice apps that search for hidden space on Mac and reveal your largest folders. You can use a free version of CleanMyMac X and inside it, it has a feature called 'Space Lens.'

How To Clean Out System Storage On Mac Computers

Those bubbles show your largest folders and you can zoom in and out and delete junk files right from there.

A fun and visual way to delete system storage on Mac.

System storage can occupy tens of gigabytes of space on your Mac for Time Machine backups and cache files. It should be managed by macOS so you’re never short of space. But if you want to do a system storage cleanup, or just free up more space on your Mac, give CleanMyMac X a go. You might be surprised by how much space you get back.