How to Free Up Disk Space on Your Mac

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It seems like your Mac is always running out of space, and when it really starts getting full it can even slow down. If you’re like most people, you start having to make hard decisions about which files you really need and which you can delete. While advancements like Time Machine have made that decision a little easier, there are other options. This article will give you the top five ways to reclaim space on your Mac.


Step 1. The first step is really killing two birds with one stone. Many applications still contain code for both PowerPC and Intel platforms, even though your Mac has only one kind of processor. That’s done so that the software will be compatible with either type of Mac, however you only need one set of code. Xslimmer will trim your programs down to that set. Just drag the program into the window and hit Slim! Xslimmer can also remove all the additional languages included in the programs, which will take up a significant amount of space. I don’t even speak french, I certainly don’t need a french translation of Calculator…


Step 2. Your printer drivers take up the better part of 2GB. That’s ridiculous. I don’t know who decided that was ok, but it’s not. If you’re doing a fresh install of OS X, get choose not to install the ones you don’t need. If you’re not reinstalling, use Print Therapy. It’ll let you do some print driver heavy lifting. Get rid of all the drivers you don’t need and enjoy your new 1GB and change.


Step 3. Archive files you don’t use frequently. You probably don’t want to archive any programs, but if you have files you only keep “just incase” you need them, compress them! Finder has a built in utility to do this – just right click the file and choose “Compress.” This will create a .zip file. If you want to compress the files even more than .zip, you can use iDMG instead. This utility will make a .dmg file with the contents you select. Just remember to change the settings for the highest level of compression.


Step 4. If you have a lot of Garageband files laying around, compress them! Garageband has a fantastic feature where you can use AAC technology to shrink garageband files to a really small size. Just open the file and Go to “File>Save” in the menu bar. Check the “Compact Project” box and select the size. Smaller sizes are great for scratch or demo tracks you don’t care about the quality in. The larger bitrates will leave even the most scrutinizing audiophiles struggling to tell the difference between the compressed file and the old one.


Step 5. If you’ve taken all the above steps and STILL need to free up disk space, you can poke around your disk and see what’s taking up so much space. Disk Inventory X is a great way to do this. Just open it, tell it what disk to inspect, and it’ll create a graphical representation of your used space. This is an excellent way to see where your biggest files are and which files are taking up the most space. You’d be surprised how many outdated, garbled, temporary or otherwise unnecessary files are floating around in your system – especially if you’ve had it for a while. Hunt them down and delete them.


Additional Tips

  • That extra disk space not only gives you more room, but makes your computer run faster as well.
  • Keep a backup! Especially when you start playing around with advanced programs like Xslimmer, a backup is a must have.

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