I have an iMac running High Sierra 10.13.6. My internal Drive is about full and I've been looking for ways to clear up some space. My internal drive has a 250 GB capacity and I have around 15 GB of free space. The largest folder on my System is the Library folder listed at 134 GB which appears under my user account. This seems extremely large to me. Inside this Library folder is the Mobile Documents folder at over 91 GB. The largest item in my Mobile Documents directory is a folder named MyBook, which is the name of my external drive. Everything else seems of reasonable size. My question is 2-fold. Why is my 'Library Folder' so Large and is there anything I can do to decrease the size of the Mobile Documents folder.

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    ~/Library/Mobile Documents is your iCloud sync directory. Delete what's in there and you wipe out your iCloud on your next sync. Which iMac do you have? I don't remember any since 2012 coming with only 250GB of storage?
    – Allan
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 0:48
  • mine is 2010. it has an internal hdd but it stopped working years ago.
    – Natsfan
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 0:57
  • i've updated my question to include the fact that largest item in Mobile Documents is a folder with the name of my external hard drive. it takes up 43 GB. Any help from this info.
    – Natsfan
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 1:02
  • Upgrade the drive. On that model it's super easy. See: apple.stackexchange.com/a/267433/119271
    – Allan
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 1:06
  • i may be getting a used 2015 model iMac for xmas and don't want to put more money into this one just yet!
    – Natsfan
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 1:25

1 Answer 1


~/Library/Mobile Documents is the aliased location for iCloud Drive. You can access this from the sidebar or Go > iCloud Drive ⌘⇧-I. If you have a folder in there with the name of your external drive, my guess is that it has been copied by mistake or perhaps a 3rd party backup? I can't think of any built in system that would do that.

For other files, you can see exactly what is taking up space for Mobile Documents in the iCloud System preference. Once in that preference pane click on Manage... bottom right. This will show you all of the programs that are storing data and you can delete them as you see fix. Keep in mind that some programs require a certain amount of data that you can't delete.

If you don't want a program to store data this way, go back to the main iCloud pane and click the Options... button to the right of iCloud Drive There you can check/uncheck the programs that are allowed to save data to iCloud. Also take note of the Optimise Mac Storage checkbox, you'll want this turned off.

Mobile Documents Also stores photos that have been shared to you from other people with iCloud Photo Sharing, you might want to check this option in the iCloud preferences too.

  • For some reason, I had myBook, my external drive, in my cloud drive. i removed those items from my external drive and now I have about 50 GB of free space. thanks for your answer.
    – Natsfan
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 15:18
  • Looks like it can also contain files from iPhone apps that use iCloud. Commented May 9, 2020 at 18:12

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