I'm using a Macbook Air and until today I had two partitions on it (not counting the restore partition). I had my OSX partition and an Ubuntu partition.

As I don't use Ubuntu anymore, I decided to remove the partition and resize my OS X partition to use the whole SSD again. However, this didn't go as planned.

After backing up my Ubuntu files to an external HDD I restarted my mac with Cmnd + R to go into restoration mode. There I erased the Ubuntu partition in the hope that would allow me to resize my OS X partition. Unfortunately, I don't see any extra space showing up inside the partition manager so I can't enlarge the OS X partition...

While searching Google I came across someone with the same problem. It was suggested to empty the trash and also searching your harddisk for .sparseimage files and removing them, however I found none.

Does anyone have any other suggestions I can try? I desperately want my space reclaimed :(

Edit: Some screenshots to clarify my situation:

Disk Utility with SSD selected

enter image description here

Disk Utility with OS X partition selected:

enter image description here

As you can see, the SSD has a total size of 120 GB. However, the sizes of the two partitions on it don't add up to this number (by far). So I must have some free space somewhere, but I have no idea how to get to it...

  • Erasing a partition should erase all files. It might be useful if you could post a screenshot of what Disk Utility shows when you select the disk. Mar 13, 2013 at 12:07
  • Added it at the bottom of my post. I need at least 10 reputation for an image, so made it a link instead.
    – lunanoko
    Mar 13, 2013 at 12:18
  • The screen shot is odd; several things are dimmed. How big is the SSD? Looks like 128, in which case the 121 GB for the main partition seems correct. However, the display is totally borked, and it looks like the recovery partition is bigger. Try erasing again and see what happens. Mar 13, 2013 at 12:51
  • I edited my original post with a screenshot and explanation :)
    – lunanoko
    Mar 13, 2013 at 13:04
  • Try erasing the OS X partition and see if the space is recovered. Mar 13, 2013 at 13:06

3 Answers 3


You will not be able to reclaim this space to your OS X partition unfortunately. That is because the Recovery HD partition is in between your OS X and (formerly) Ubuntu partitions. You have two options:

  • In the partitions tab, click the "+" and add a new partition. OS X will see this new partition as a separate drive, but it should be fully useable. However, it certainly complicates things vs. having a nice big single drive to work with.

  • Backup your Macintosh HD and wipe the entire hard drive (booting from another volume, such as Internet Recovery or Gparted on a disc). Then reinstall OS X, allowing it to properly recreate your partitions. This is more cumbersome but recommended.

When I partitioned my Mac for Ubuntu (using rEFIt) a while back, I ended up doing the second option to make my Mac "normal" again.

  • Allright, thanks for your explanation. Even though I'll have to take the long road, at least its clear to me now WHY I have to do it. Thanks! :)
    – lunanoko
    Mar 13, 2013 at 19:16

If you're asking what I think you are, simply click and drag the bottom right hand corner of the blue 'Macintosh HD' partition downwards to reclaim the space you've free'd by removing the Ubuntu partition. You don't need to reinstall OS X.


The easiest way is to create a new partition from your startup partition. You will notice that the new partition also gets the space of the free partition you want to get hold of. Then delete the new partition. And viola! you get the space of the whole physical drive again. all in one partition!

  • …not if the Recovery partition is in the way...
    – Tetsujin
    Jul 11, 2015 at 22:49

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