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My Startup Disk is Full on Mac: What Should I Do?

Robby Fester,

It’s quite normal to encounter such a problem as a full startup disk. To tell you the truth, this is one of the most popular problems among Mac users. The latest Mac models come with only 128 GB of space, which means very soon you will notice that your startup drive is full. Therefore, if you’ve already purchased or plan to buy a PC, do not be stingy and buy an external hard drive or any secondary storage device. There, you could store all your photos, videos, music, movies, and other necessary files.

Now, let’s figure out what to do when Mac says startup disk is full. Today, we will present you several effective ways to free up space and make your Mac work better.

Do This When Your Mac Startup Disk is Full

Manual disk cleaning is a time-consuming process, so you can take advantage of new technology, precisely of different Mac cleaning tools. For example, MacFly Pro is a nice solution when you need to deal with a full Mac hard drive. This useful cleaning software boosts Mac’s performance by removing all unnecessary files including cache, duplicates, temporary files, language files, downloads, and unwanted applications. It also has a user-friendly design and guarantees full optimization of your Mac. So, if you don’t have time for manual cleaning, don’t forget about those helpful cleaners.

1. Empty the Trash

The first option that comes to mind is to empty the Trash. Usually, people forget to empty their Trash cans from time to time, which may lead to gigabytes of junk occupying space on a hard disk. To prevent this situation, remember to clear out your Trash several times a week.

Empty your Trash quickly and easily

To do this, go to the Finder, and then press Command-Shift-Delete.

2. Clean the Desktop and Downloads folder

The second step to do when your Mac startup disk is full is to clear out Downloads folder and your Desktop. They usually contain a large amount of data and quickly accumulate a lot of files that you should get rid of. First of all, how can you find your Downloads folder?

There are two ways: you can do it through the Finder of through your menu. In the first case, click on the Finder icon > find the Downloads folder on the left-hand Sidebar > if it’s not there click on the Go menu at the top of your screen and choose Downloads. In the latter case, click on the Finder > Go menu > choose Go to Folder > in the window that appears type in ~/Downloads.

Once you’ve found the Downloads folder, it’s time to clean it up. Here you also have two options: if you want to delete all the files in this folder press Command+A. Or you can choose your downloads one at a time and remove them by dragging into the Trash. This way you can keep those that you still need or that are important for your computer performance.

Keep your Downloads folder organized by Date Modified or Date Last Opened

A lot of people have messy and cluttered Desktops not even thinking that it can take up a significant amount of the startup disk space. To avoid this, you should clean icons and other unnecessary documents on your desktop on the regular basis. All you have to do is to drag them to the Trash. After that don’t forget to emty the Trash bin to get rid of the files completely.

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3. Check out Your Movies Folder

The movies folder is another great file storage that takes much space on the hard drive. To open it, you should go to Users/YourUserName and then tap on the Movies folder. After that, press Command-I and in the upper right corner of the window you will see how much space this particular folder occupies.

Movies folder is a great file storage

Of course, there are many media files you need, like for example, movies or videos that you downloaded but forgot to watch. Therefore, drag-and-drop to the Trash any files that you’re sure you don’t need anymore and do not forget to empty your Trash.

4. Clear up Pictures, Music, and Apps

Another way to clean your full hard disk on Mac is to clean up music, pictures, and applications. Folders with your images (iPhoto or Photoshop data), audiobooks, music, games, and mobile apps usually take up much space on a startup disk, just as that Movies folder. So firstly, try to sort all your media carefully by size so that you will see the greatest storage space eaters. Secondly, don’t hesitate and move files, especially mobile apps and games, that you haven’t even tried to the external drive or Trash. And also, try to prioritize correctly and not download everything that attracts you.

5. Remove Cache

Cache files are not actually harmful to your hard drive or Mac, but they accumulate so fast that you’ll soon face slowdowns and lags. To avoid any inconveniences, I recommend you to dispose of them. There are three different types of cache – user, system, and browser cache, and all of them should be cleaned from time to time.

To do this manually, you need to open the Finder app, hold down the Option key, and then tap “Go” in the menu bar. Next, you click on the hidden user Library folder to find the “Caches” folder. After that, you may sort the folders by size to detect the biggest folders.

Remember to delete temporary files from your Mac

If you find it difficult to delete cache files manually, download a free cleaning application that will care of your Mac.

6. Scan Your Mac

The last step to follow if you notice your Mac drive is full is to scan the system after you complete all the operations mentioned above. This will not only speed the PC up but also contribute to your macOS security.

To run a scanning, you may have a try of some cleaning tools like MacFly Pro. So that in the future you don’t ask about “What to do if your startup disk is full on Mac?”.