Cleaning Your Mac's Hard Drive

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In today’s digital world, hard drive space can get eaten up quickly. Videos, music, podcasts, games, applications, documents etc; they all start to add up and fill your hard drive before you even know it. However, there are a number of ways to recover space.


Cleaning Tips

  • Download the application AppZapper (or any similar app uninstaller) and go through your application folder, removing all unneeded and unused applications you can find.
  • Download the application Monolingual and remove all localization files not used for your language. This can free up to 2GB of space, a significant step to freeing space.
  • Open iPhoto and delete photos you no longer need. iPhoto has its own application trash so remember to empty that.
  • Open iTunes and delete all of the music and podcasts you no longer like or need.
  • Spend some time and go through your Documents, Movies, and Pictures folder, deleting any junk you no longer have any use for.
  • Clear out old email messages in Mail or other email program.
  • Go to ~/Library/Caches/, and delete anything you see from applications you no longer have installed. Repeat the process in ~/Library/Preferences/.
  • Go to ~/Library/Safari/, and delete the “Icons” folder. This stores all of the favicons on websites, which appear next to the URL. This can also speed up web browsing speed in Safari.
  • If you don’t use it, remove Mac OS 9. To remove it, drag the "System Folder" and the "Application (Mac OS 9)" folders to the trash from the root of your hard drive.
  • If you don’t need it, remove the Xcode installer, located in /Applications/Installers/.
  • Go to ~/Music/GarageBand/ and delete any GarageBand demo songs.
  • Remove unecessary iChat icons from ~/Pictures/iChat Icons/.

Once you have done everything on the list, you should have a nice, clean hard-drive, with plenty of free space. If you are still lacking on the free space, you could purchase an external hard-drive. Before you do, run some applications listed below as a final clean up spree to free up more space.

Useful Cleaning Applications

CleanMyMac 2

CleanMyMac 2 is an easy-to-use, yet sophisticated cleaning solution for OS X. CleanMyMac 2 not only cleans out system junk and app leftovers, but it also helps a user find and remove large and old files, remove hidden copies of modified files in the iPhoto Library, empty all Trashes and manage installed applications and extensions.


CleanGenius is an all-in-one Mac system clean utility combined with app uninstaller, duplicate finder, big files finder, memory free, login items management, disk space monitor and disk ejector. It cleans potentially unneeded files, removes the unwanted applications and related files.


iDefrag is an advanced Mac OS X disk defragmentation and optimization tool. While there is other software like this on the market, iDefrag is considered to be simpler to use. However, the demo won't defrag a drive more than 100MB in size.


WhatSize is a simple tool that allows the user to quickly measure the size in bytes of a given folder and all subfolders and files within it. The files and folders are automatically sorted by size, with the biggest sizes first.


MacJanitor runs Mac OS X maintenance scripts that don’t otherwise run when your system is asleep or shut down. Running these scripts cleans up System logs and temporary files created as part of the UNIX underpinnings of Mac OS X.




Monolingualis a program for removing unnecessary language resources from Mac OS X, in order to reclaim several hundred megabytes of disk space.




Macaroni is a preference pane that will automatically run the Mac OS X maintenance scripts without user intervention.