I am looking to understand the disk space cleanup tool on a Macbook with Big Sur. I was trying to clean up the unnecessary space from my mac and found out that the Photos is using a space of approximately 2GB. I looked up the Photos app but I could not find anything there.

I read the answers to this question:Deleted photos from MacBook but storage space not reclaimed but none of it helped.

Here are the relevant screenshots. S1 Storage

Photos app Photos App

What would allow me to release this 2 GB?

  • You are correct my process for using finder to look at folders with 20 GB won’t help here. Do you use Finder or iCloud to store any image files loosely?
    – bmike
    Jun 12, 2021 at 11:25
  • I airdropped all the images in my iPhone to my mac once.
    – bigbang
    Jun 12, 2021 at 11:49
  • I'm not understanding the problem, I guess. If you don't want to use Photos.app (and why in the world would you), delete the empty library file and you're done. Jun 12, 2021 at 14:51

1 Answer 1


Open Terminal App and issue the following command:

du -h ~/Pictures/Photos\ Library.photoslibrary

That should list what's taking up the space. There's a whole tree of folders inside the "Photos Library.photoslibrary" directory. All sorts of metadata, databases, etc.

If you have nothing to retain, you can just delete the "Photos Library.photoslibrary" directory and if you relaunch the Photos app it will recreate it in a default state. There must be left over metadata after you deleted all the photos.

PS: You may need to restart the mac to see the effect in the storage app.

  • 1
    Wow, thank you so much! This worked very well. Although, I did not delete the "Photos Library.photoslibrary", I checked the package contents and the library apparently keeps the original photos in a folder "originals" intact even after deleting which was taking up the space. I cleaned that folder and it worked!
    – bigbang
    Jun 13, 2021 at 7:28

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