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You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > macOS > MBP Internal Storage Clean Up

MBP Internal Storage Clean Up
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ghporter
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Jun 30, 2023, 09:13 PM
 
The 500 GB internal storage on my 13” 2015 MBP is somehow fuller than I feel comfortable with. Having that internal storage upgraded to a larger capacity device is outside of my budget constraints.

So I need to clean up what’s on that storage, but I don’t know where to start. The MacOS tools for seeing what takes up how much space haven’t been very helpful; they show how much space my user folders take up, and so on, but summing user folders, applications and so on doesn’t add up to how much Finder says is used.

I’d appreciate suggestions for apps that show all the storage’s contents, show duplicate files, and so on. And I’d like any advice on a process for dumping stuff I don’t need, such as where to start, what to leave alone, and so on.

I have an external drive with a Time Machine partition, and another partition called Files for offloading stuff from the machine. I haven’t really worked on moving stuff to Files in any organized way, but it should have at least 500 GB free space.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
reader50
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Jun 30, 2023, 10:21 PM
 
You're unable to see into some folders due to user permissions. OmniDiskSweeper will do what you need. But to see everything, you need to run it from the root account, or while booted from something else. If you can't boot from a USB drive, do this:

Go to /System/Library/CoreServices/Applications/Directory Utility.app

Click the lock icon in bottom left, authenticate. You'll need to authenticate as an admin user - I don't think this will work if you try as a regular user account.

Go to Edit -> Enable Root User (Set a password in the following dialog)

Go to the Login screen. Choose the "Other" option, enter username "root" plus the pass you just set.

Run OmniDiskSweeper on your internal drive. It will give complete results this time.

When you're done with the root account, log out. Optionally you can return to Directory Utility. In the Edit menu, there will be an option to Disable Root User.
     
ghporter  (op)
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Jul 1, 2023, 09:58 AM
 
Thanks. Omni is one of the apps I’ve seen mentioned, but there are tons of other apps whose web sites, and “reviews” are confusing and often make my spidey-senses tingle. It’s like “I’d like a sip of water,” and getting a fire hose opened up on me.

I’ll give it a shot over the weekend.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Thorzdad
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Jul 3, 2023, 06:53 AM
 
If you use Messages on the MBP, it will save every single attachment and image you ever received or sent. It’s crazy how much space all that stuff takes-up, especially if you’ve been using Messages for years. There a folder deep in the system that houses all of the pics. It’s one of those “billions of folders inside a folder” deals.
     
andi*pandi
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Jul 3, 2023, 10:16 AM
 
IIRC there is a setting to delete older stuff, or you can go thru and delete certain attachments...
     
ghporter  (op)
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Jul 3, 2023, 03:11 PM
 
Messages was one of the apps I already knew about as a disk hog. I use iMazing to back up my iOS/iPadOS devices, which lets me capture and export any messages I want to - and then lets me delete everything afterward. I haven’t gone into too much detail on the Messages disk usage on my MBP yet, but that’s an area I really need to dive into.

I used OmniDiskSweeper as reader50 suggested, and was able to empty out more than 10% of my storage space. LOTS of apps keep caches that can be huge. TurboTax for example had something like 20GB of cache dedicated to forms. And while I have deleted every previous year’s version when installing the new one, there were “crumbs” from versions back to 2017. ODS helped point out a lot of such stuff.

I also learned that there are a lot of “Mac cleaner” apps out there, and while some of them may be good, I have a bad feeling about most “cleaner” apps. One such app’s site talked about getting rid of TurboTax “the easy way” - with their app, of course - and manually, so I went the manual route and dumped a lot of pref and resource files. While those deletions didn’t give me back tons of space, they really highlighted how little stuff adds up over time.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
reader50
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Jul 3, 2023, 04:22 PM
 
I wouldn't touch "Mac Cleaner" apps. They suggest spyware to me. And they don't do anything you cannot do yourself. Those apps trigger system cleanup scripts (which run weekly anyway), offer to empty the Trash in each user account (which delete stuff after 30 days usually), and do a full scan of your HD. Perhaps uploading the scan to who-knows. Then offer to delete caches and (maybe) prefs for apps that are not presently installed.

There are duplicate-file scan apps, which are legit. Mostly used for weeding out duplicate photos. Don't use them on small file sizes - too many false matches. And not worth your time to sort through.
     
   
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