I have a 128 GB hard drive on my macbook pro retina 13". My mac storage hard drive keeps decreasing for no reason, even when I do not download anything. This still happens even when I don't use any other application and when I use Chrome in incognito (so nothing is being stored in cache).

Here is how the pattern looks like when I did not download anything at all, did not use any other application except for chrome and only used Chrome in incognito. first day: first day

More days later: enter image description here

As you can see from the images, I did not download anything, even if I did it was probably a Word document or a PDF file. And it still increased 10 GB on the Apps. Just wondering why this happens and how can I prevent it from happening? If this is all a glitch, then how much GB do i actually have left for storage? Finally, why does the total number of GB used from apps, photos, movies, backups, and audio do not add up to the remaining GB left? Like in the last picture it says I have about 52 GB free and the total used up is around 110 GB. Since I have a 128 GB storage, shouldn't it be 10 GB left?

Also I have no anti virus running. I don't even have Dropbox and Google Drive. Also, I turned off photo sync from my iPhone. Once again, no apps are running except for Chrome, iMessage, and Skype.

Update: every time I restart my mac the disk space comes back and then it gradually increases again.

  • Please add within your question if you have an anti-virus or anti-malware installed.
    – dan
    May 24, 2016 at 11:45
  • I added some information in the last sentence
    – IFH
    May 24, 2016 at 20:01
  • I updated my answer now that I know it is not Dropbox or Google Drive. Please download either of the antivirus apps that I suggest in my answer and tell me what happens when you run a full system scan. Go to my answer: apple.stackexchange.com/a/239405/180636
    – owlswipe
    May 24, 2016 at 22:33
  • Please let us know what is happening now and what else you tried so we can assist you further if you need it.
    – owlswipe
    May 28, 2016 at 12:46

3 Answers 3


Could be anything. App updates, new apps, a virus that downloads stuff for you, automatically installed software, or a host of other things.

If you did have an application on your Mac like Dropbox or Google Drive, (either of which could automatically be downloading stuff onto your computer) it could be that, but you do not.

Here's what you should do: download an antivirus app (like BitDefender or Avast). Run a full system scan in whichever you download and make sure no viruses come up, as some malicious software could be doing this.

Then try downloading Grand Perspective, which shows you everything that's taking up space on your mac. Run it through your entire hard drive. See what comes up, and save your scan; then try scanning again when your available space decreases again.

Please report everything you find out in a comment below so I can further assist you!

  • it may be you can extend your answer with Apps references? Anyways - get your up-vote from me. Good input!
    – Farside
    May 24, 2016 at 14:18

Every time you browse the web you are dowloading contents: HTML (text), images, video…

Every time MacOS check for new updates, it is also downloading contents: content description, anticipated software updates…

Here are a few recommandations for this kind of hidden disk scrounger:

  1. Install and run Malwarebytes.

  2. If your first disk state is 15 days sooner, run the following command:

    /usr/bin/sudo find / -mtime -15 -size +20M -ls | sort -r -n -k 7

    and let it run for half an hour to get a sorted list in decreasing order.

  • Sure, that can happen. But 10 GB of that within 2 weeks? Plus I only browse the web in incognito, shouldn't that mitigate the amount also.
    – IFH
    May 24, 2016 at 10:13
  • Are you suggesting df -h? Because it fluctuates sometimes too.
    – IFH
    May 24, 2016 at 20:00

Simply plugging your iPhone (if you have one) into your mac to charge, apply an update, synchronize them, etc. will lead your computer to do an automatic backup (if you have this feature turned on) which will quickly take up disk storage without you realizing it. To see if you have this automatic feature turned on, try opening iTunes and plugging in your iPhone, then check at the top of iTunes if it says "backing up" at some point during the synchronization process. If it does, then this is most likely your problem and monitoring your although useful backups may solve your problem. Hope this helps!

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