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So I’ve recently switched full-time to Mac from Windows for a multitude of reasons and most of them have been benevolent and I much prefer the file system in general the way Macintosh does it. But if there’s one thing I miss about Windows it’s being able to see your remaining disk space in a very intuitive colour spectrum barcode graphic.

See I’ve recently had to delete a large application to make room for files and if I had done this on Windows, the way to check the “proof in the pudding” of whether you’ve cleared some significant space in your hard disk would be to simply look at the C: Drive in Windows Explorer. On Mac, we use the Finder, which is a key distinction and perhaps something you might need training in order to make the Windows/Mac switch and the way I see storage of files on a Mac is like a planning room. Whereas Windows is like a filing cabinet. That is not to say that one is more appropriate or practical rather there are inherent differences in the way your files are stored.

What is the Mac way of monitoring how much disk space you have remaining? I feel like the current state of Apple wants all users to use the cloud for storage but dammit I’m all about the hard drive because it’s the only data you can truly keep.

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  • Are you eventually interested in an answer about "monitoring" in the strict sense, kind of, know whenever the Disk space is low, for example via email? Since, for that, there is Zabbix that is open source monitoring solution and does exactly also that and - without surprises - I see the Zabbix agent also supports macOS zabbix.com/documentation/current/en/manual/installation/… - but it's a bit overkill in a single-desktop scenario. Commented Jan 8 at 13:10
  • Are you trying to monitor disk space or merely check? I ask because monitoring involves active awareness, possibly notification, and more power draw. Checking is a passive thing you do on occasion, usually manually.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Commented Jan 9 at 13:46

4 Answers 4

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The system settings app has a graphical storage summary that’s what you need to look at first.

enter image description here

Choose Apple menu  > System Settings, click General in the sidebar, then click Storage on the right.

For other attached storage, select All Volumes…

enter image description here

Images from https://support.apple.com/guide/mac-help/storage-space-mac-syspf9b375b9/mac

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  • Okay, I like you’re answer a little bit better because the display of space is actually better than (the built-in) features of windows… to achieve this on a PC you would need to install a program that isn’t even made by Microsoft. That is why I’m choosing yours, the answer made by @tetsujin is also very helpful and it takes both of your answers to convince me that apple is actually better than MS in this aspect too.
    – Alfred
    Commented Jan 7 at 11:09
  • Thank you, I’ve edited show showing some nonsensical value from Apple web site, but the overall images will help others know what they get from this method. Daisy Disk is a great third party option, but native tools are ubiquitous and more in line with the direction you took the question @Alfred
    – bmike
    Commented Jan 7 at 21:33
  • @Alfred, in case that you are an iPhone user. it is very much the same like on those.
    – Carsten S
    Commented Jan 8 at 15:35
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You can get a broad idea of remaining space on your drive in any Finder window, if you enable the Status Bar from the view menu or Cmd ⌘ /

enter image description here

Whether this information shows at the top or bottom of the window follows some rather arcane rules - see MacOS Finder Status Bar

I thought of another way to get this info. You can make it display under your drive icons on the Desktop.
Click the Desktop, then Cmd ⌘ J & check 'Show item info'.
This isn't one that particularly suits my workflow - I'd also need my icons bigger & more widely-spaced to see all the info, but just for sake of completeness… enter image description here

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  • Love the "arcane rules" :)
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Jan 7 at 10:15
  • @SolarMike - yeah;) Gives me the impression it wasn't properly thought through at the design stage, a couple of decades ago & no-one's ever been back to fix it. I did like how the OP in that Q managed to literally 'catch' the sidebar as it retracts & drag it back into place. I'd never have figured that one out, but I can repro it.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jan 7 at 10:18
  • Thank you for your awnser and the further info about finder status bar… I just had to go with the solution provided by bmike because he, without any prompting, sort of read my mind and knew I was using a program that doesn’t even come built in to windows (I was assuming on Mac it may also need to be downloaded from a 3rd party) and as this shows you a data map of the entire file system, it’s the way you can see the data holistically and which programs are doing all the hogging, whereas your solution is more ideal for monitoring your current workspace, I’m sure I’ll make use of both so thank y
    – Alfred
    Commented Jan 7 at 11:14
  • Most welcome. bmike had the detail view answer in place long before I saw the question, so I was just adding another way of seeing the remaining space. You can see this all the time you're in Finder - it also displays the values for any additional drives you might have mounted. Whilst typing this I thought of another way to get this info, I'll add to the answer. Quite often there are several ways to achieve a similar objective. Some are better than Windows, some aren't. Many are just 'which you prefer'. Feel free to post more questions if you need to find more of this type of thing.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jan 7 at 13:27
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For a quick (text) view of how much disk space is used, you can also select the hard disk in which you are interested in the Finder and hit Cmd+I (or select “Get Info” in the menu).

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In addition to the built-in options, there are third-party tools which can show you info such as disk space in the right-hand side of the menubar, so you can always see at a glance.

One example is iStat Menus. which is highly configurable and can also show things like CPU and memory usage, network activity, battery status, power and temperature, and much more.  For disks, you can show the space left on selected disks (both local and remote), separately or grouped, in numbers or various charts, and also numbers/meters/graphs of disk reads/writes; plus it has a drop-down with even more info.  (It's not free, but fairly cheap.  I've no connection other than as a happy user.)

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