I'm confused regarding what options I have to be able to keep working on my work computer.

Photoshop says "No"

macOS says "No"

Outlook says "No"

According to DiskSweeper, this is how my 500GB disk space is used:

Folder usage and sizes

Besides from things that cannot be backed up (applications, library, system...) most of the data is my working files.

In my workflow as a designer, I often open old projects for insight or to reuse previous assets.

If I made a hard drive copy and then deleted it from my laptop, I'd have to plug the hard drive in every time I need to consult an old project or do a search, and I'd have to know exactly what I recently modified each time I want to do a backup.

If I made a Cloud copy and then deleted from my laptop, I'd often have to download very large files just to get previews of large files or videos (for example Backblaze doesn't offer file thumbnails).

If I used Time Machine, then got rid of the files on my HD, some of the oldest versions would disappear after a while when Time Machine runs out of space or notices I deleted them from my HD.

Are there other options out there that are not too complicated, and would allow me to have a full copy of my work as accessible as possible, but not hosted on my computer's HD?

  • 1
    A good first step is to start up in Safe Mode by restarting the Mac and holding down the Shift key until the login window appears. Part of the Safe Mode boot deletes font caches, kernel cache, and other system cache files, some of which can grow to monstrous sizes. A second step would be to offload old projects onto an external disk. Note: Time Machine can also backup external drives in addition to the internal drive. If you haven't been using Time Machine at all, get a big external drive and set it running!
    – IconDaemon
    Apr 9, 2019 at 18:23
  • 1
    tbh, I'd get a bigger HD. There's no other way to magic up a whole lot more space. Fiddling around saving a couple of meg here & there is going to become your full time occupation otherwise.
    – Tetsujin
    Apr 9, 2019 at 18:49
  • @Tetsujin you mean internal? Would I buy it online then bring it to Apple to get it installed? Apr 9, 2019 at 18:59
  • Adding your list above I get 395.2 GB used. You still have over 100 GB of free space. So making room is good but not urgent!
    – Natsfan
    Apr 9, 2019 at 19:07
  • @jmh Well, I agree, but I just freed 80GB of After Effects cache... These Adobe apps caches grow huge whenever a video project is happening. Then all the other apps start bugging (see the outlook screenshot...) Apr 9, 2019 at 19:14

2 Answers 2


First step would be to go through your files and get rid of things you no longer need. An app like GrandPerspective can make it easy to locate files that are taking up a lot of space.

If you’ve cleaned your drive of all unwanted files and you still don’t have enough space, then you should consider replacing your internal drive with a larger capacity drive. Just make sure to get one big enough that you won’t fill it up for quite a while.

If you don’t want to replace your internal drive, then the next best option is an external drive. As for the caveats you mention, you could just leave the drive mounted all the time. That way the files are always available to you when you need them. And for keeping track of files that need to be backed up, just get a good backup app, like ChronoSync. They are designed to keep track of modified files and back them up on whatever schedule you designate.


Also, you probably should read this information about the ideosyncracies of APFS.

I'm not sure I like it, but it's good to know.

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