My parents gave me a MacBook for Christmas with a 256GB SSD and a few days ago I notice I only have 40GB left on the SSD.

I tried researching this and according to this question (How can I figure out what's slowly eating my HD space?) I download DaisyDisk to discover why so much of my space was gone after only 4 months. This showed me that com.apple.bird was taking up 89GB!

So I researched this also and an answer to this question (What is com.apple.bird? Why does it grow so big?) suggested using a script to tell me what apps are using this 89GB. I actually got the script to work (pat on back for me!) and this tells me that WhatsApp is the problem.

Now I'm freaking out because my friends and I all use WhatsApp to talk about school, parties, life and I don’t know what to do. I use WhatsApp on my iPhone 5c mainly, but the answers to the question about com.apple.bird are really scary to me because it's not clear if i will lose everything if I delete what's in com.apple.bird? But, if I don’t delete it, I'll run out of space soon!

How do I fix this?

  • WhatsApp iCloud backup might be at fault. See this Apple Support page with some clues. – IconDaemon Apr 19 '17 at 12:54

If you don’t already, I want to suggest in the strongest terms possible that you have a Time Machine backup of your data. A portable 1TB hard drive is not expensive and you can plug it in and Time Machine will prompt you if you want to use it for backups. I would do that before proceeding with any answers provided (mine included).

As for that huge 89GB of data, this is actually safe to remove. However, please don’t do this manually. Instead, follow these steps:

  1. On your iPhone ensure you have iCloud activated
  2. Make sure your MacBook is connected to the internet
  3. On your MacBook, go to Apple > System Preferences
  4. Click on iCloud
  5. At the top where you have the iCloud Drive checkbox ticked, untick it
  6. A somewhat scary message will appear - click on the Delete from Mac button. Don’t worry, your documents will still be on iCloud (and that’s another reason why we made sure iCloud was activated on your iPhone at Step 1)
  7. Exit System Preferences
  8. Within about 5 minutes most of that 89GB in com.apple.bird will be freed up
  9. Once you’re satisfied that you’ve freed up all that space, repeat Steps 3 & 4
  10. At the top you can now tick the iCloud Drive checkbox again
  11. Exit System Preferences

Let me know if my steps aren’t clear or if you have any problems.

Remember: - Make sure you regularly backup your MacBook.


Although not addressing your bird issue directly, whenever these things happens to me I have to assume it is going to happen again in the future. That's why after WhatsApp and iMessages grew too large on my phone I decided to migrate my conversations to the Telegram service, which is basically the same thing but cloud based. That means people can send me 100's of MB of video and the size of the app remains the same — WhatsApp OTOH just grows with every video I receive.

Granted, your problem might just have been a caching bug and you're otherwise fine with the app size, but I hopefully never have to do housecleaning again and couldn't be happier with the switch.

Currently on my phone:

  • iMessage 512 MB
  • WhatsApp 189 MB
  • Facebook Messenger (clean install -- never used) 165 MB
  • Telegram 37 MB

Not affiliated with Telegram in any way

  • Why -1? Something wrong? – Andreas Apr 20 '17 at 14:58

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