How to clean a Mac

Clean a Mac?

Find out how to make space on your Mac without paying or removing your favorite applications or programs.

Since the launch of MacOS Sierra in 2016, the process of cleaning the Macs has been greatly simplified. Therefore, we advise you to upgrade your computer and follow this tutorial in which we explain how to make space on your Mac and recover disk space.

clean a Mac

Photo Kari Shea at Unsplash

1. Managing storage space

Apple has developed a storage management feature that allows you to delete your old files and transfer your data to the Cloud.

To access it, click the Apple icon in the upper left corner of your screen and choose About This Mac.

Then click on the Storage tab.
In the window that appears, the amount of space that the MacOS and its applications take up will be displayed.

Click Manage on the right, a menu opens with the options Store in iCloud, Optimize storage, Empty trash automatically and Reduce congestion.

On the left, you will see the amount of data contained in iTunes, your Trash, in Documents, Mail, Photos, etc.. By clicking on it, you will get detailed information about all your saved files.

Click on Recommendations to return to the list of options given above. To understand what each is for, read the following.

2. Optimize storage space

Storage optimization allows you to delete movies and TV shows you’ve already watched, as well as email attachments.

These will not be lost permanently as they will be automatically saved in iCloud.

The videos will again be available for free download on iTunes.

Just click Optimize and your Mac will do the rest.

3. Empty the trash automatically

Emptying the Recycle Bin is responsible, as its name suggests, for systematically deleting all documents from it after a period of 30 days.

So you have time to recover a file before it is deleted. To use this function, click on Activate.

4. Reducing Disorder

Reducing the clutter will scan your Mac for the oldest large files and delete them.

Click Browse Files, then in the left panel select the desired category and click the cross.

5. Store in iCloud

The iCloud storage service provides each Apple account holder with 5 GB of free space.

To increase it, Apple offers a subscription (0.99 euros/month for 50 GB, 2.99 euros/month for 200 GB and 9.99 euros/month for 2 TB).

To save your data in the iCloud, click on Save in iCloud and enter your password.

The iCloud photo library is used to synchronize the photos on your Mac with all your iOS devices and vice versa. The problem is that your Mac can quickly fill up with these photos …

To avoid this, go to the photo application → Preferences → the iCloud tab, and then check the checkboxes iCloud photo library and Optimize Mac storage.

In this way, the originals of your photos will no longer be saved on your computer but in the cloud.

If you decide to delete them from your computer, they will be accessible from the iCloud, your iPhone and iPad.

To transfer your photo library to an external hard drive, exit the photo application and copy your photo library by holding down the Cmd key. This will copy and delete them from your Mac.

At the end of this transfer, open the photo application by holding down the Option (alt) key.
In the application, click on Photos Preferences General and select Use as system photo library.

6. iPhoto and Aperture

If you were once a user of the Aperture or iPhoto applications and migrated to the Photo application, you may have a total of 3 image libraries.

If you no longer plan to use Aperture and iPhoto, we recommend that you copy their content to a cloud or external hard drive and then delete it from your Mac.

To access your original photos, go to Images, select iPhoto Library. Right-click and choose View Package Contents.

Your iPhoto is in the Masters or Originals directory (for older versions), all you have to do is Export them.

7. iTunes Library

To free up space on your Mac, look at iTunes as well. You can back up your library to an external drive or use Apple’s AirPort Time Capsule. With the latter, you can access your favorite songs as soon as you connect to the local network.

To avoid overloading your Mac with music, why not subscribe to Apple Music? Listen to over 40 million songs, individual subscription is 9.99 euros/month and the first three months are free.

On the other hand, there is the iTunes Match service (25 euros/year), in which you only need an Internet connection to access your own library and the Apple Music catalog from all your iOS devices.

8. The download folder

Your download folder probably contains files that you no longer need (PDF documents, images, zip files…).

For example, if you have disk images whose content has already been installed, then they are no longer useful. We suggest that you delete them.

9. Gourmet applications

To make your Mac even lighter, locate and remove the applications that require a lot of space and their files of preference. Please feel free to use our detailed tutorial.

To find files that take up space, open a New Finder window and press Shift (under Shift), Cmd and H simultaneously.

Then press Cmd and F. At the top of the new window, click on “Type” and select “Other” at the bottom.

Scroll down the list that appears under File size and select the checkbox.

Otherwise, enter the file size in the search bar at the top right.

Now, to the right of File Size, select is larger than and the drive MB.

Enter the desired size, e.g. 100 MB, so that all files larger than 100 MB are displayed on the screen. All you have to do is copy them to an external disk or delete them permanently.

There are software programs, after an analysis of your computer, will identify these applications, give you the size of each of their files and clean your Mac.

We recommend CleanMyMac X, Daisydisk (10,99 euros), and the programs Grandperspective and OmniDiskSweeper.

10. The attachments to the mail…

What about email attachments? Think of all those documents of several KB or MB received each week and accumulated on your Mac.

To find them go to Mail (~/Library/Mail), the attachments are in the Inbox folder.

To ensure that attachments are deleted with the e-mail, go to Preferences, then Delete Unchanged Downloads and select After Message Deletion.

11. Duplicates

Eliminating duplicates can also save you space, for which there is the free Gemini 2 program.

To avoid duplicates in iTunes, open the application, go to → Advanced Preferences and uncheck the option Copy files added to the library to the iTunes Media folder.

12. Exit applications in the background

Leaving applications open for several days or restarting your Mac regularly also frees up space. Applications create temporary files to back up data.

The longer they remain active, the larger the size of their files.

So don’t forget to close unused applications and restart your computer.

13. Cloud Services

Paperless storage services are the most convenient way to avoid overloading your computer’s memory and to access your documents anywhere and from any device.

If you have a Dropbox or OneDrive account, these two clouds automatically sync your data.

Office 365 users benefit from 1 TB of free storage space, the same capacity with Dropbox costs 9.99 euros per month.

To stop the automatic synchronization of the flow box, open the application, in the menu bar, in the Gear Wheel and then in Preferences.

Then click on the Account tab and click on Change Settings. All you have to do is uncheck the files and folders you no longer want to sync with your Mac.

For OneDrive users, open the application, select Preferences from the menu bar. Click Choose Folders and then Files to stop the synchronization.

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