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Today I got a warning that my disk was running out of space, and up popped the System Information Recommendations window. It claims my Documents folder is 170GB in size as you can see here:

Notice the supposed size of my Documents folder!

But checking via Finder, the folder is only 8GB in size:

Finder clearly shows it's only 8GB in size

Not sure what's going on here. In case it's relevant, my Documents folder is also synced to my Google Drive via Google Backup & Sync. Does Google maybe store "versions" hidden somewhere or something on my drive? I've enabled invisible items and nothing significant showed up in the Documents folder, so I'm stumped. Not sure if the 170GB number is even real or not.

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Documents in the System Information pane doesn't mean files in the Documents directory.

It means files that are not other, already defined media types - ie. not photos, books, movies, etc. This would normally encompass the sort of files you'd put in your Documents folder, but they don't have to be kept in there to be part of that total.

If you actually click into Documents on that System Info screen, and then hit the File Browser button up top you'll be able to see what directories are using up the space.

Personally, I do see it's finding a large (40Gb) amount of space used in Library, which is often where things like Google cache data. Apple also caches a lot in Library.

  • Oh! Jeeeeez I never thought to click any of those headings. I see now yeah it's literally "Documents" not the "Documents" directory. Thanks for clearing that up for me! In my case the vast majority is my photo libraries and virtual machine images. Not much I can do about those. Anyway mystery solved thanks again! – Jonathan van Clute Jun 2 at 2:23

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