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I have a problem with disk space - all programs report that I used up 470GB out of 512GB, but all my files take about 245GB. Storage tab in "About this Mac" reports this space as "other". Where is the missing space?

This is a Mid 2014 MBP with built-in SSD running OS X 10.11.6.

I tried already without success:

  • Repair disk permissions
  • restarting :)
  • Cleaning Spotlight cache
  • Removing small files that resulted in many inodes
  • Checking SDD health (is ok)

Grand Perspecive shows this space in gray and describes it as "Miscellanous used space" - what is this? Result of analysis with GrandPerspecite

Daisy Disk and Path Finder reports 470GB used, whereas the sum of all folders is 245.3GB:

Screenshot of Daisy disk and Pathfinder report

And here is the output of df -h:

$ df -h
Filesystem      Size   Used  Avail Capacity   iused    ifree %iused  Mounted on
/dev/disk1     465Gi  438Gi   26Gi    95% 114982849  6860861   94%   /
devfs          334Ki  334Ki    0Bi   100%      1156        0  100%   /dev
map -hosts       0Bi    0Bi    0Bi   100%         0        0  100%   /net
map auto_home    0Bi    0Bi    0Bi   100%         0        0  100%   /home
/dev/disk3     931Gi  605Gi  326Gi    66% 158652305 85363725   65%   /Volumes/Toshiba Backup

Maybe a related question: Missing hard disk space

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    Do you use Time Machine? If yes the missing space might be taken up in part by Mobile Backups in: /.MobileBackups – user3439894 Nov 21 '16 at 14:48
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    No, I cannot find such a file. Moreover, I disabled them with sudo tmutil disablelocal. – Piotr Nov 21 '16 at 16:47
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Ok, I found it. Some time ago, I replaced my backup drive and the latest old backup from the previous drive seems to still reside on my disk. The old backup image was hiding under /Volumes/name-of-old-drive/. I could delete it safely with: sudo tmutil delete /Volumes/name-of-old-drive/Backups.backupdb/name-of-my-mac/YYYY-MM-DD-HHMMSS.

To make sure that you do not delete any current backup, I recommend to temporary eject the currently used backup drive.

That was not easy to find, so I hope some other people will find this answer if experiencing similar problems.

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The sum of folders in DaisyDisk does not match the total disk figure because there are hidden folders which require admin password to be scanned. Use the "Scan as Admin" command in DaisyDisk and you will see everything, and all numbers will match. See Daisy Disk: Scanning As Administrator

(If you are using the Mac App Store version of DaisyDisk, get the stand-alone version from the DaisyDisk website)

My guess is that the difference is due to the hidden ./MobileBackups folder which holds temporary snapshots of Time Machine (it's a feature of macOS) which get automatically flushed when you sync your Macbook with your permanent Time Machine storage. See Apple: About Time Machine local snapshots

  • Thanks for the tip. I have already bought a full version from App Store. As far as I understand, to get the full version from the webpage, I would need to pay again, right? EDIT: never mind, I found in FAQ, that I don't have to pay :) Thanks – Piotr Nov 23 '16 at 17:53

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