Running out of storage space on a Mac is no fun. Even worse, you often find that you are running out of space at the worst of times when you need it most. Sure, you can start uninstalling apps randomly, but it’s best to check your disk space and see which one is taking up space in the first place.
In fact, the process of figuring out what takes up the most space is not as easy as you might think. Depending on what you are trying to search for, there are quite a few tools that might solve your problem.
If your Mac is running low on storage space or you see a message “Startup disk fullScary, you know it can be frustrating to free up storage space. To deal with this problem, many people resort to external drives and constantly move their files between hard drives.
While you can manually track available storage space, we’ll show you how to check disk space on your Mac using some disk analysis apps. which we’ve found provide unique visual experiences and enable you to take actionable steps to free up valuable disk space.
- 1 How to check storage space on Mac
- 2 Why you should use a hard disk space analysis app on Mac
- 3 Best Mac Disk Space Analysis App
- 4 Stay informed of how much space is used on your Mac
How to check storage space on Mac
There are several ways to check the storage space on your Mac. Choose
قائمة Apple -> حول هذا الـ Mac and click tab Storage. Hover over the colored blocks to see what type of content is using disk space.
For more information, open Disk Utility
By searching for it using Spotlight (
Cmd + Space). Locate startup volume From the left panel to check how much space is being used in the volume.
Then, click the info button in the toolbar to show more details like cleanable space and available space (cleanable + available).
In another way, right-click on the startup volume (Macintosh HD) on the left sidebar in the Finder and select Get details. You’ll get details about the capacity used versus the available capacity, along with the amount of space that macOS considers cleanable.
The categories shown contain the different files on your Mac. (If your Mac has more than one user account, the categories shown belong to the currently signed in user.)
note: Categories are not associated with specific folders on Mac.
These are the categories:
- Applications: Contains all the apps installed on your Mac (except for system apps).
note: If you partition your hard disk, this category will display the amount of storage space for installed applications on your macOS partition (startup disk).
- the documents: Contains files in your home folder that aren’t included in other categories, such as Pages documents and PDF documents. It also includes videos and photos that aren’t managed by your photo library (for example, a photo a friend shares with you using AirDrop).
- iCloud Drive: Contains all files stored in iCloud Drive. It may also contain files in your Desktop and Documents folders if you store them in iCloud Drive.
- iOS files: Contains iOS backups and firmware.
- Apple TV, music, books, and podcasts: Each app category contains purchases from that specific app, which can be removed from your Mac and downloaded again.
- Mail: Contains emails and attachments.
- Messages: Includes content from Messages conversations, including attachments.
- Create music: Includes content from GarageBand, Logic, and MainStage.
- Pictures: Contains the system image library.
- trash: Contains items you’ve deleted (items deleted from iCloud Drive are not included in the amount of storage space).
note: If you partition the hard disk, the trash can size for the trash on the disk where macOS is installed is displayed on the startup volume.
- Other users: Contains files created and modified by other user accounts on your Mac.
- the system: Contains macOS files and applications. Examples include: Mail, Terminal, Calculator, Time Machine, and local snapshots.
What is the “other” category in Mac storage?
On some Macs, you will notice that the other storage class is taking up a lot of space on the volume. It includes macOS system files, user library folders, cache folders, and more. Usually the majority of these folders are not visible.
If you tamper with these guides, it could result in you getting an unstable system, losing data, or even your Mac not booting up. Learn more about which macOS folders you shouldn’t touch and how to deal with them if they’re taking up too much space.
Why you should use a hard disk space analysis app on Mac
Why use a third-party app when there are several built-in ways to check hard drive space on your Mac? Here are some of the reasons:
- The Finder may incorrectly interpret permalinks as another version of the file. Even though hard links don’t take up any physical space on your hard disk, Finder counts them (at least) twice as distinct files, resulting in an inaccurate estimate of folder sizes.
- The Mac’s file system, APFS, uses space-saving cloning while copying the file within the same folder. Instead of duplicating the data, the metadata is updated, and the data on the disk is shared. The Finder does not understand this mechanism and incorrectly estimates the available and used disk space.
- The APFS snapshot feature works differently. When Time Machine creates local snapshots, the file system is aware of the changes. But neither Finder nor About This Mac shows how much space the snapshots have taken up. As a result, the system class may appear to take up a lot of space.
- In APFS, each disk is a container that can hold multiple volumes and share the same set of free space. If an APFS container contains multiple volumes, the container’s free space is available for all of its volumes. If your startup disk consists of at least four separate folders, you may notice a decrease in the space available for your Macintosh HD.
Now that you know why we recommend third-party apps, let’s explore the best Mac disk space analysis apps to scan and analyze storage space.
Best Mac Disk Space Analysis App
GrandPerspective is a utility that uses the treemap structure to visualize disk space. At startup, it asks you to select a folder or drive that you want to analyze. The display window shows the contents in colored rectangular blocks.
Hover over a block to display the file name and size at the bottom of the display window. You can move the selection from a file to a folder and vice versa by changing the focus. Click
Cmd + [و
Cmd -] To move up and down the file hierarchy.
Click a block to lock the selection. Then, you can take action directly on that item. press the . key
Space To have a quick look and click the button
Reveal Shows the selected file/folder in Finder.
GrandPerspective Key Features:
- You can change the sort criteria by creation date, format, file or folder type, and even choose a different color palette.
- Choose from the list of recently scanned folders to save time. Or select Load scan data to create a new view using old scanned data.
- Create new filters to improve rendering and perform filter tests to mix them in different ways. You can choose from audio, permalinks, images, app package contents, and more.
- The application allows you to rescan the folder with different settings. After that, you can open these results in a separate window to compare with recent results.
Download: GrandPerspective (Free)
OmniDiskSweeper is another disk space analysis app for Mac. When it boots up, select your hard disk from the list and click Check the selected hard disk. A new window will open with folders and files displayed in columns. Once the scanning process is complete, click on the folder and navigate to any file that takes up a lot of space on your hard disk.
The app uses different colors to group the files by size and to show the state of the item. File sizes highlighted in green are the smallest files. As the size increases, this changes to dark green, dark purple, and light purple for bulky coils. Double-click an item to open it in the Finder.
Main Features of OmniDiskSweeper:
- Allows you to scan external hard disks and hard disks on your network. If you share a folder located on a computer, the app can scan that folder.
- The lower window gives you detailed information about the file, its size, and the packages it belongs to in the file system. You should focus on files that are not part of the packages.
Download: OmniDiskSweeper (Free)
3. Disk Inventory X
Disk Inventory X is an app that gives you an overview of the space taken up by different file types. Open Menua fileand select any hard disk or folder you want to analyze. Once the scanning process is over, the application creates a graphic map to visualize the storage space.
The left panel helps you sort the file list based on colors associated with a specific file type, file size, number of files, and file format. Click on any item in the graph to help you identify the largest files.
Key Features of Disk Inventory X:
- Any selection you make in the treemap is synced to the Finder-like view. This helps you find the main files that are taking up storage, no matter where they are located on your hard disk.
- The application sorts the file types in descending order. Each file type has a color used in the treemap graph and in all open folders.
- You can view package contents, zoom in on folders, and hide free space to analyze disk space in different ways.
Download: Disk Inventory X (Free)
DaisyDisk is a beautifully designed volume analyzer that uses a sunray map to show you an overview of your hard disk. When turned on, it displays all installed volumes in different color patterns. Green means that at least half of the hard disk is empty, while red means it’s time to take action.
Click examination And, within a few seconds, you’ll see the map with a brief overview on the sidebar. Place your mouse pointer over any part to see its contents on the sidebar. When you want to go to the original folder, click in the middle of the disk map.
DaisyDisk Key Features
- The sunshine map helps you separate large files from smaller files. Scroll down and find out which items are taking up the most hard disk space.
- If you scan your hard disk with administrator privileges, it can reveal more data about hidden files in other volumes, space taken up by local snapshots, and details of cleanable space.
- You can preview any file from the sidebar, send it to the collection panel, and then delete it according to your needs.
Download: DaisyDisk ($9.99, free trial available)
NCDU is a command line application with a ncurses interface for hard disk analysis. The application depends on the order
du , but much faster and easy to use on your Mac and remote servers. To get started, you’ll need to install the app through Homebrew. To do this, see How to Install Mac Apps Using Homebrew.
Once installed, open Terminal and type
ncdu/ To start a hard disk scan. Use the arrow keys to move through the items. Then, press
i Displays the details of the selected item.
Key Features of NCDU
- You can use different options to improve the disc information. Go to the NCDU Handbook page for more details.
- Easy to export all the information to the output file. You can then use file comparison apps to better analyze how the disk is being used.
Download: NCDU (Free)
Stay informed of how much space is used on your Mac
Getting accurate details about how much space is being used on your Mac is tricky. While there are many built-in technologies, most of them are unreliable for detailed use. Use the built-in disk utility and these apps to check and analyze storage space in detail.
For more help, be sure to check out our great list of tips for getting extra free space on your Mac.