I am using a Macbook Air 2020 with a 250 GB SSD running Catalina and I keep running out of hard drive space, despite having about 60 GB available on iCloud.

There's about a 35 GB difference, which I attribute to apps and system files which only stay on the laptop. Already running "Optimize my Mac" and old files and photo clearly go through a retrieval process when I try to open them.

Is there another setting that would keep 20-40 GB of headroom on the SSD drive vs. getting close to topping out?

I use Clean My Mac X to eliminate 3-6 GB of junk at a time. Can see the discrepancies below in my iCloud and Finder Storage totals. Thanks.

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2 Answers 2


All you need to do is right click on a folder in icloud using finder, takes a second. Right click on the folder and select "remove download".

This is a simple control to manage iCloud storage locally.


I would probably focus on using webmail and archiving your 50 GB of emails. Apple already optimizes iCloud, but you’ve not given it enough room for the files you are storing.

Once Mail is free, start moving the 50 GB of local documents into iCloud so that the rules for what is stored locally and what exists in the cloud have a chance to balance your local storage.

Everything should fit fine, but you just need to do a two step migration. Before you start, be sure you make one archival backup. Maybe time machine to a new drive that you disconnect for 3 months and be sure you reach balance. You can have more than one drive with Time Machine with independent backups.

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