I updated to macOS Sierra (16A319) and was checking my storage where I saw this extra division greyed out saying Purgeable.
What is the significance/meaning of Purgeable?
These are files that the system, or you, hasn't accessed in a long time and so are stored in iCloud. If you're running low on disk space, macOS can safely delete them, keeping a 'shortcut, on your system.
When you need the file again, the system will download it for you in he background. This site has a good overview of the feature if you want to read more.
As your Mac begins to run out of space, your oldest files are quietly and automatically stored online, leaving Download icons in their places on your Mac, so that you can retrieve them if you need them. (A new graph in the Disk Utility program shows how much space you stand to retrieve this way, marked Purgeable.)
Purgeable is a distinct concept from the "Store infrequently used files on iCloud" functionality. From Mac Help (available from the Help menu, search for "purgeable"):
“purgeable space” — or space that macOS can free up when needed by removing files from your computer. You can’t manually remove the files that are designated purgeable, but macOS removes them as space is required.
"Purgeable: Contains locally stored files and documents that can be removed when space is needed, and then downloaded or generated again when the files are needed again by you or your Mac."
Effectively the OS has various caches, temp files, copies of things it downloaded, etc. that are being keeping around out of view of normal users, but they can be deleted if space is needed.
If you turn on the optimized storage feature (that stores infrequently used files from Documents and Desktop folders to iCloud), they may or may not be counted with along with the system purgeable files. But even without turning on that feature, there are other purgeable files present.
There's a post here:
that makes the case that this also includes local time machine data, which makes sense given the size I see tagged as "purgeable".
Run this: (from Terminal)
diskutil secureErase freespace 0 /dev/disk1s1
/dev/disk1s1 is replaced with the volume that you wish to get your space back from. Run:
df -h / Filesystem Size Used Avail Capacity iused ifree %iused Mounted on /dev/disk1s1 466Gi 370Gi 64Gi 86% xxxxx xxxxxxxxx 0% /
And look at the first filesystem part.
In my case, I had 64GB 'purgeable', after running this command I had 2.8GB.
I wasn't able to install XCode before because I was 'out of space' - I lothe this 'feature' of OS-X because the OS reports the space as not free, even though you can create a file and remove it (what this command does).
Still can't get back the last 2.6 GB (Not to be confused with the GiBytes reported by
df -h so don't worry that the numbers don't match)
Don't forget your Trash Bin! I first saw "Purgeable" when I threw about 20gb of files in the trash (which was the same as the purgeable amount).
You can also view "Purgeable" from the Disk Utility menu, FYI