I am running out of storage space on my 2011 MacBook Air. I was thinking I should clean up before I contemplate adding more storage.

I notice though, that while I have ~30 GB in ~/Documents, ~2 in ~/Movies, ~10 ~/Pictures, I also have ~70 GB in the ~/Library folder.

What can I safely delete (if anything), and what is the best method to delete from this folder?

Here is the result of the cd ~/Library; du -sm * | sort -rn | head -16 script:

46559   Developer
26874   Application Support
23941   Mail
4822    Containers
2030    MobileDevice
1524    Logs
1430    Caches
1371    iTunes
1032    Mobile Documents
229     Safari
65      Dragon Profile.ddictateprofile
40      Keychains
35      Preferences
33      Internet Plug-Ins
29      Mail Downloads
26      Autosave Information
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    Can you open Terminal, enter cd ~/Library; du -sm * | sort -rn | head -16 and add the result to your answer (by editing it)? This will give us an idea about which part of your Library folder eats the most space. – nohillside Oct 29 '14 at 18:36
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    wow - 50 GB in Dev... I've 3. But I don't really dev; I'll leave that to @patrix , my answer can probably go, as can the other 2 so far posted. – Tetsujin Oct 29 '14 at 18:47
  • Looks like I need to see what's happening in the dev folders and clean my mail box. @Patrix. Thanks for the focus. If you write the script as an answer, I can probably accept it – ICL1901 Oct 29 '14 at 18:50
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    Thanks to you all. Working through the dev folder is showing that in it's Xcode derived data folder, there is a slew of old project files. Projects long deleted. I will report this as a radar issue. – ICL1901 Oct 29 '14 at 19:02
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    cheaper than buying a new drive :) – ICL1901 Oct 29 '14 at 22:35

To see which folders inside ~/Library use most of the space, run something like

cd ~/Library; du -sm * | sort -rn | head -16

in Terminal which gives you the 16 folders using the most space.

Specific cleanup actions afterwards depend on the folders found.


This question is a bit old now, but I figured I'd add my experience for googling.

While developing BLE applications on 10.11.x versions of Mac OS, I often found that I had to clear BLE data from ~/Library in order to return to a pre-connected/paired state on server (not client) devices.

I began experimenting with ~/Library to reduce bloat on a system where HDD space was running low. Having planned on performing a fresh install anyway, I further experimented by rming the entire ~/Library directory and rebooting. I didn't expect that the system would return to an operational state.

Upon boot I had to log back into iCloud, set up Slack, set preferences on keyboard, trackpad, terminal, browser, programs, etc..

The system survived and is still running great. After all settings were back in place, a df -h showed that I reclaimed about 16GB.

I understand that this could be a hugely risky move depending on what applications are installed and your level of comfort with losing data/time. In my case the user account was not valued and the machine was pending complete format. However, with it being a somewhat loaded dev machine, I was surprised to find that the system was surprisingly tolerant of the complete removal of ~/Library.


~/Library is where all your apps store their prefs, how you want them to work for you.

It would generally be unwise to start playing in there without being certain of what you are doing....

That said, some apps can store large cache files in there, others may be folders for apps you long-since deleted - those would be safe candidates.

70GB is a pretty big lib, btw, mine is only 30GB & I'm a heavy user.

I'd still be very, very careful in there, but maybe try something like Grand Perspective to see what the largest users are. (There's another similar tool I can't right now remember the name of. If someone remembers & drops it in comments, that would be very nice)

Another way to hone down the largest users would be...

  • Open the ~/Library folder, set to List View
  • Hit Cmd/J for View Options & set to 'Calculate all sizes' [this may take a while]
  • Back in the ~/Lib folder, set to sort by Size from the column headers.
  • Application Support is usually the largest by quite some margin, so
  • Cmd/double click that & repeat the process...

If you’ve deleted applications/programs, and they have leftovers in the Library/Application Support/ folder, then it is probably safe to clean out that program’s Library/Application Support/ subfolder. If, for example, I wanted to remove Firefox’s old data after uninstalling, I would go to Finder’s search box and type firefox. Make sure the search is set to This Mac, then click the plus button underneath the search box to add System Files and are included. You’ll get a mix of small files and directories as a result (ideally). The folders are what you want to focus on. Clicking on a folder should show its path at the bottom of the finder window. If a Firefox folder is in USER/Library/Application Support/ I just delete the folder. Deleting the folder will also delete its content, so you may see your total number of search results drop as a consequence.

That being said, be careful. If in doubt, don’t delete it without referring to that programs documentation.

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    If you’ve deleted applications/programs, and they have leftovers in the Library/Application Support folder, then it is probably safe to clean out that program’s Library/Application Support subfolder – Patrick McMahon Oct 29 '14 at 19:12

From what is in /System/Library/User Template/Library, here is what ~/Library contains when you create a brand new user. Almost all entries are empty directories. Therefore, you can safely delete everything in ~/Library. Of course you'll lose all preferences you may have set, etc.

Library/Application Support
Library/Audio/MIDI Drivers
Library/FontCollections/Fixed Width.collection
Library/iMovie/Sound Effects
Library/Input Methods
Library/Input Methods/.localized
Library/Internet Plug-Ins
Library/Keyboard Layouts
Library/Screen Savers

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