I've been suffering with this for weeks. I'm running Yosemite on a 15" MBP. I am told daily that I have no more disk space and no matter what I end up deleting I'm left with 1GB minutes later.

About This Mac Storage (and Daisy Disk) say I have 247GB in Other.

Disk Inventory doesn't recognize that and just says I'm using 37GB of my SSD.

I can't remember the terminal command I used from another thread but it showed mobile backups and another folder taking up well over 100GB of my space but no one told me how to either clear those to free the space or how to prevent it from reoccurring.

Important to note I used crashplan for awhile and removed it about 3 months ago.

I desperately need my hard drive back!

  • If you open crash plan, is it set up to receive backups from other devices or just copy your data out? Unlikely the second would drain space and the former would surely cause you this exact pain. – bmike Jul 4 '18 at 16:03

For others with similar problems, you don't need a special utility to find out where all your GB have gone on a Mac.

First, turn on invisible files. On newer Macs, you can do that with Command Shift Period. On older Macs, you do need a quick defaults terminal command.

Once you've done that, open your hard drive, and put it in to List View

Then go to the View menu and choose Show View Options Check Calculate all Sizes

Now wait. It can take a while because there are lots of sizes to add up, but eventually it will show you the sizes of every folder. You can use the disclosure triangles to open more and more folders and drill down to where all of your data is being used. I also usually sorts by the Size column so the big stuff is right at the top.

As a professional Mac consultant, this is the method I use to find people's data, I don't bother with any 3rd party utilities for this.

  • This sounds like a good tool - a tool worth remembering. As I read it, I couldn't help but wonder if you also have a method for tracking these sizes over time? – Seamus Jun 1 '18 at 18:52
  • I do not. You can see what each large piece of data is, so you can pretty much infer whether its normal, valid space, or something unusual that shouldn't be taking up the space it is. – l008com Jun 1 '18 at 19:30

You could try du -h in the Terminal app. This will show you info about how full is your filesystems.

Then sudo du -h -s / will show you size of each directory in / so you can figure out which one is bigger than you would expect. But this might take a couple of minutes to run on the full disk.

  • The first command says, "36G ." but the second gave me the root directory only. " / 231G" – user1509151 Jan 29 '15 at 16:17
  • Indeed I meant sudo du -h -s /* – Kev Jan 29 '15 at 18:15

I see that you already used some space discovery utilities like Daisy Disk and Disk Inventory (X?). Therefore I find it difficult to throw in another tool to try.

Generally there are two ways of finding out where your hard drive space went: manual and automatic.

"Automatic" are tools like you used including Daisy Disk, Disk Inventory X and WhatSize among others.

"Manual" would be that you go through your folders manually either in Finder right-clicking (or Ctrl-clicking) them and select "Get Info" or using Terminal (if you are not afraid of the command line) and see which folders are using up the largest space. Once found, you go into the folder and do the same again.

For Terminal, you can use the following commands:
cd /
du -chxd 1
cd large_folder_here

Repeat the last two commands until you found the items of interest.
cd / will change into the root folder of Mac OS X (the best place to start looking really)
du -chxd 1 will list down folders with their respective size. The "-chxd 1" options I provided will provide a size total at the end (-c), list sizes in human readable format (-h), limit the search to your system drive (-x), so that external or network drives are not searched and finally will only list the contents of the current directory (-d 1), which makes the amount of data better to wield. Totally optional, but recommended, after finding a directory to go into, change into it, then clear the output screen of Terminal (Cmd-K). That way you do not accidentally go through folders you already looked through, saving you some time.

To remove a file or a folder, type in:
rm -R folder_to_delete
rm file_to_delete

If you are not the owner of a file/folder, you will run into an error when deleting a file. To overwrite this, you can prepend sudo to the remove command earlier.

IMPORTANT: Please make sure that you know what file you are removing. Removing system files inadvertently leaves you to re-install the OS again, which may be cumbersome and lengthy.

  • This was at the end of the terminal command you gave me: '499M ./usr 12K ./Volumes 36G . 36G total' – user1509151 Jan 29 '15 at 16:13
  • Taking from that, none of your listed folders amount anything larger than 35 GB. This basically confirms Disk Inventory X's statement then, which means that any ordinary files stored on your machine do not take up a lot of disk space. Though I have seen that a merely small folder of 80 MB filled an entire hard drive of several GB. Lacking the knowledge of how crash plan works, do you know any specific folders crash plan is using? If you know a folder, you could try to either remove those files or clear their attributes. The latter can be done with "xattr -c -r ." while INSIDE that directory. – Phoenix Jan 30 '15 at 16:48
  • Also, you stated that you removed crash plan at some point. Depending on how you removed it, there may be left-overs of supporting files including background processes. Additionally of freeing up the space, I would look for crash plan files inside the following folders: "/Library/LaunchAgents", "/Library/LaunchDaemons", "~/Library/LaunchAgents" (to stop those processes from running in the future) as well as "/Library/Application Support", "~/Library/Application Support" and "~/Library/Containers" for supporting files. – Phoenix Jan 30 '15 at 17:03

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