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I've got a MacBook air with a 128 gigabyte SSD, and it reminded me again this morning that I'm almost out of storage space.

What caches are safe to delete, and what other places are good to reclaim space from?

Here's what I've tried so far...

I've been cleaning it up by apps that I don't use, deleting TV episodes1 that I've watched, and by streaming music so I can delete all of my local music. Even with those steps, I've only got about a gigabyte left.

Storage Screenshots

I've used DaisyDisk to analyze my Mac's files and have deleted things I didn't need, such as temporary files created by Xcode2, and browser caches.

I've got two parts to this question.

  1. I'm not sure what else is safe to delete.
  2. About This Mac seems to be reporting things that I can't find.

I have 16 gigabytes or so of Mail caches, according to DaisyDisk, but I don't know what will happen if I delete them. I suspect Mail will handle the missing data gracefully, but I'm afraid that it will just try to download everything again.

I don't know what other caches are commonly bloated and safe to delete.

About This Mac says I have nine gigabytes of photos. Where is that coming from? My Pictures directory weighs in at only 1.11 gigabytes.

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Dropbox and Google Drive are only syncing about 300-400 megabytes of data. (I've limited them to only sync crucial folders.) I can technically remove them, but that won't really solve the problem.

The largest apps on my Mac are Xcode which is 5.2 GB, iMovie, 2.95 GB, iPhoto, 1.7 GB, and Android Studio, 1.41 GB. I don't really need iMovie or iPhoto, but the developer tools are the reason I have the machine in the first place.

With all that in mind, what's the best way to reclaim space on this machine and figure out where all of my space went? What caches are safe to delete, and which will actually make a difference?

1. I happen to have the latest three Dr. Who episodes downloaded, but I usually don't have more than one of those around at a time.

2. For the technical readers, I'm talking about derived data that Xcode generates for each project.

  • 1
    You can safely delete all apps that you do not use frequently, but can re download if needed. – Ruskes Sep 14 '14 at 16:54
  • you can also safely delete any "Derived Data", but it will just keep being rebuilt if you are still working on (and compiling) those projects. Caches also follow this rule. – Brad Allred Sep 14 '14 at 17:11
  • What about Mail caches? – Moshe Sep 14 '14 at 17:20
  • From your mail program, you can usually decide which foldes to sync and cache locally - and have others only be stored remotely. This will save you some space! – jksoegaard Nov 27 '18 at 22:40

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