6 Ways to Regain Disk Space on your Mac

With more Macs shipping with SSD drives, keeping your Mac’s disk clean is vital to ensuring that you always have space for apps and important projects. You might think your apps are the main space hogs on your hard drive, but many more resources contribute to disk use than just apps. Continue reading to learn about the ways that you can free up space on your Mac.

1. Delete Apps

We’re constantly downloading and installing apps from the rapidly expanding Mac App Store, and we bet you are too. If you download a lot of games, or apps that take up a lot of megabytes, you can regain a lot of space by dusting the virtual shelves of your Application folder.

If you downloaded apps from the Mac App Store, you can easily delete them from inside the Launchpad application in Lion. Simply click and hold on the application you wish to delete, and then select the small “x” in the corner of the app icon. Don’t worry if you change your mind later — you can always redownload the app from the store’s Purchased tab…if you have space for it.
If you installed an application from a location other than the Mac App Store, you can delete it by using an application such as App Zapper. This will ensure that all of the app support files are removed in addition to the application itself.

2. Delete Old Documents and iChat Logs

If you have iChat (or Adium) chat logging turned on, then you are collecting multiple text files each time you initiate a conversation with anyone in your buddy list. While these logs are great for archiving past conversations, if you are a constant instant-messenger, you can accumulate a lot of log files very quickly. Pruning the old files can keep your disk clean. You can see and remove your old log files by opening your Home folder > Documents > iChats in the Finder.

3. Get Rid of Mail Downloads

Just like iChat logs, the Mail app in OS X will stow away Mail attachments without any worries whenever you double-click on an attachment in an email to view it or use QuickLook on it.

You may find these files accumulating in large quantities in your Home folder > Library > Mail Downloads in the Finder. You can generally delete any files here without issue. As long as you have the original message, the attachment will be stored with it. However, you can still move any file from this location if you don’t have the original message.

4. Remove Old Log Files

Log files are a way that your Mac archives important system events. Unfortunately, these log files can become a bit unwieldy quickly. Fortunately, you can delete old log files in the Console app (located in /Applications/Utilities).

You can manually delete the log files from within the Console application by right-clicking on any of the files and selecting “Move to Trash,” or you can use an application like Onyx to automate the process.

5. Find iTunes Duplicates

Duplicate iTunes movies, TV shows, and music can lead to more than usual disk usage on your Mac. Luckily, iTunes can help you easily get rid of these dupes. Just open iTunes and select the sidebar item you wish to find duplicates in (Music, Movies, TV Shows, Books, Apps, Tones, etc.).

Next, navigate to File > Display Duplicates. Here, all duplicates for that category will be displayed. If nothing is displayed, the no duplicates have been found. You can remove duplicates that are displayed by selecting the duplicate and pressing Command-Delete, or right-clicking and selecting Delete. When you’re done removing duplicates, click the “Display All” button to go back to the normal iTunes view.

6. Reset Your Browser

Your browser contains many disk-hogging features, including web page caching. Resetting your browser every now and again will free space on your Mac.

You can do this in Safari by clicking Safari > Reset Safari.

You can also do the same thing in Firefox by selecting Tools > Clear Recent History.

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