My Mid 2012 MacBook Pro 13" says I suddenly ran out of Storage space.

My Mac barely has any data and my upgrade to Sierra was a clean install. Nothing was ported from previous backups.

If you see the image below, the "System" section in the left column says that it is consuming 466.82 GB. What I don't understand is why does my Mac require so much space? As far as I know, it should never increase 50 GB of space. Any help is appreciated.

image here

up vote 20 down vote accepted

Download OmniDiskSweeper and analyze your hard drive.

OmniDiskSweeper will show you the files on your drive, in descending order by size, and letting you decide what to do with them. Delete away, but exercise caution.

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OmniDiskSweeper will show detail of space usage: Select System and start cleaning.

It could be the Time Machine backup file that takes almost all the free space.

  • 1
    I was very skeptical of this program at first - but it highlighted an obvious culprit to my storage. Mac OS counts Adobe Cache files as "system" files but this app highlighted them no problem. When After Effects was updated - instead of deleting old cache files - it just created a new cache folder for the updated version. I freed up 50gigs without a problem. – JustinKaz Apr 17 at 15:42
  • 3
    @JustinKaz command line tool :du lists folder and file size at current directory,and when used recursively,it will analyze all folder and files on the hard drive,after sorting the result could have the same result as this program show.Omni is more like a GUI version of du. – FrontENG Apr 17 at 23:41

I fixed it on mine, it was to do with the BELLMIN' Time Machine Queue Backup files (i.e. files that meant to go onto the Time Machine but haven't been moved yet due to the TM not reachable or away from home etc).

Do the following (no need to buy or download any additional tools):

  1. Go to Terminal

  2. List all TM objects by doing the following

    sudo tmutil listlocalsnapshots /
    
  3. It will come back with few items:

    com.apple.TimeMachine.2018-04-01-122047
    com.apple.TimeMachine.2018-04-01-183626
    
  4. Remove these by doing:

    sudo tmutil deletelocalsnapshots 2018-04-01-122047
    sudo tmutil deletelocalsnapshots 2018-04-01-183626
    

Where the date is taken from the output from step-3 above.

Leave it for a while to catch it's breath. You can check the disk space by executing the df -m command and notice the % of your Free Space, doing more df -m every few seconds will show an increase, once done it would stabilise.

  • 1
    It's worth noting that while local snapshots do consume physical disk space and High Sierra includes them in the System count, they are marked as ‘purgeable’ and you should never need to perform this manually, since macOS takes care of it automatically based on available disk space. – grg Apr 2 at 11:06
  • so "sudo purge" do the same thing to free up the space? – gpanda Jun 5 at 6:23
  • Just to add an additional data point, my issue was snapshots also, but created by Carbon Copy Cloner and not Time Machine. I suspect that the non-Time Machine-ishness of it was what caused my Daisy Disk to not recognize the purge-ability of it. More info from CCC here: bombich.com/kb/ccc5/leveraging-snapshots-on-apfs-volumes – Lanny Bose Jul 16 at 19:57

Your system may need to reindex the file system to correctly show disk usage amounts. Indexing is handled by Spotlight. Using system preferences>spotlight, add your drive to the list of folders not to index for privacy reasons. Reboot and then remove that entry. Your computer will be slow during the reindex process, but after it should show the appropriate amounts.

As for figuring out where your disk is being weighed down, I like to use Grand Perspective. http://grandperspectiv.sourceforge.net/ It gives a visual graph of the files you have and how large they are.

  • Didn't help at all on my end. – herve Nov 30 '17 at 17:49
  • After restart 11GB increased. – Hoseyn Heydari Dec 15 '17 at 6:26
  • Didn't help on my end. I've reindexed spotlight, cleared old TM machine backups, reformatted and restored the computer, disabled TM, ran OmniDiskSweeper, and I still can't figure out how system is taking up 55gb (I've slowly chipped away .5GB at a time) – James Mar 27 at 2:01

I had a similar problem with my "system" storage. Apple Support helped me discover that my FireVault was turned on and the encryption process had gone awry. To check this, click on the Apple icon --> System Preferences --> FileVault. If the greyed-out box says "Turn Off FileVault..." then your FileVault is on. To turn it off and decrypt your disk, you will need to click the padlock in the bottom left and enter your password.

protected by Mark Sep 2 at 21:54

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