/private/var/folders is not getting empty after reboot. The folder is 200 GB! I tried safe mode too and it didn't change.

How can I thin out the folder(s)?

  • OK sorry... hidden is not a folder Dec 8, 2019 at 14:45
  • no because i read in a lot of articles that you should never manually delete these files Dec 8, 2019 at 15:08
  • Can I delete files or folders from /private/var/folders/? Could someone cast a vote ? I already did and that's it.
    – anki
    Dec 8, 2019 at 16:19
  • @ankii Look good now? We might need a better answer on the login script - that’s a brutal way to go, but props for it - might help some people that know they have software that abuses the /private/var and easier than repeatedly manually deleting and safe booting.
    – bmike
    Dec 8, 2019 at 16:47
  • @bmike yay! Their machine so broken, they need a script to do a task machine should do automatically. ;p
    – anki
    Dec 8, 2019 at 16:48

2 Answers 2


It's likely that unneeded files will be cleared if you perform a Safe Boot. And then restart normally.

However, a detailed account of cleaning out /var/folders can be found here,


which seems to indicate that not everything gets deleted on a Safe boot.

But unless you are desperate for storage space or experiencing some issues, I wouldn't recommend wholesale deletion of the entire contents.


This will likely be closed as a duplicate, but I wanted to explain a couple things: When safe boot doesn’t clean these out, you have two options.

  1. Delete it in terminal - knowing you will restart and it will either boot or you’ll have to reinstall the OS (likely keeping the user data in tact)
  2. Delete everything in an erase install, install the OS and migrate back the user data and apps and settings.

I say prepare for #2 and then try #1 and see if you can learn something in the process. Deleting the files won’t break the running OS - since the files don’t delete fully until you restart. 200 GB is not normal, something is really wrong on your Mac so erase install is the only easy cure for that.

There’s no end to the abuse some developers will heap upon private folders, so if you need to resort to deleting things here regularly, it’s generally not Apple causing the pain.

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