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How to Clean My Mac Hard Drive

By Lois Green, Friday, March 17, 2017

This post has been updated in March 28, 2018

Lack of storage on hard drive is the culprit of a slow Mac. Therefore, to optimize your Mac's performance, it is essential for you to develop the habit of cleaning up Mac hard drive regularly, especially for those who have a smaller HDD Mac. In this post, we’ll show you how to see what’s taking up space on your Mac hard drive and how to clean Mac more effectively and easily. The tips are applicable to Mac OS Sierra, Mac OS X El Capitan, OS X Yosemite, Mountain Lion and another old version of Mac OS X.

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What's Taking Up Space on Mac Hard Drive

Before the clean-up, let's see what's taking up space of your Mac's hard drive so that you will know what to clean to get a faster Mac. Here is how you can check your hard drive storage on Mac:

  • Click the Apple icon at the top-left corner of your screen.

  • Choose "About This Mac."

  • Select Storage.

Mac Hard Drive Storage

You’ll see that there are six kinds of data that are eating up your storage: photos, movies, apps, audios, backups and other. You probably have no doubt about the first five kinds of data but get confused about what this "Other" storage category is. And sometimes it is the "Other" data that takes up most of the space on your hard drive.

In fact, this mysterious "Other" category includes all data that can't be identified as photos, movies, apps, audios, backups. They could be:

  • Documents such as PDF, doc, PSD;

  • Archives and disk images, including zips, dmg, iso, etc;

  • Various types of personal and user data;

  • System and applications files, such as user library items, user caches and system caches;

  • Fonts, app accessories, application plugins, and app extensions;

Now that we have know what's taking up the space of the Mac hard drive, we can search for the unwanted files and delete them to clean up space. However, this is much more troublesome than it sounds. It means that we have to go through folder by folder to find the unwanted files. Moreover, for system/application/users files in "Other" catagory, we don't even know the exact locations of these files.

That's why developers create different Mac cleaners to make cleaning easier and more effective for Mac users. Dr. Cleaner, the program that will be introduced below, is top-ranked among its kind.

Use Practical Tool to Clean Your Mac Hard Drive Effectively

FonePaw MacMaster is the best Mac cleaner that you can download from the following button. It allows users to free clean up your Mac for 500 GB space, so that you can try to optimize Mac before the purchasing. 


You can use the program to:

  • Identify system files that can be safely removed from hard drive;

  • Scan out junk files and delete the data in the trash;

  • Sort out big and old files by size, date at once, making it easier for you the identify useless files;

  • Remove iTunes backups completely, especially the unneeded backup files.

Step 1. Monitor System Status

On the main window of MacMaster, you'll see "System Status" option in the left column. Click it to check your Mac status with CPU usage, disk usage, etc. 

Launch the Program

Step 2. Get Rid of System Junk

Then you can click "System Junk" to preview and delete system data that you need no more, including app cache, system logs, system cache, user logs, so that you don't have to look through every single files on your Mac. And the program allows you to organize the files by the combination of size/date/kind, which will help you identify the unwanted files more quickly and fix how to clean MacBook or iMac problem easily. 

Clean Junk Files on Mac

Step 3. Delete Unneeded Files

Then you can click Photo Cache, Mail Trash, ITunes Junk, Trash Bin to display all the files that you may not need and their locations, such as Mail attachments, iTunes backups. Just preview and select certain one to clean up. Please pay attention to iTunes Backups, if some backups are still in use, don't delete them casually.

Clean iTunes Backups

Step 4. Remove Large & Old Files

Comparing to finding big/old files manually, MacMaster will locate those files that are obsolete or too large more quickly. Just click "Large & Old Files" and choose the contents to remove. The files are catagorized by "> 100 MB", "5 MB to 100 MB", "> 1 Year" and "> 30Days".

Clean Old and Large Files

As you can see, FonePaw MacMaster can help you speed up Mac and clean all things that are eating up the space of your Mac hard drive, including not only caches and media files, but also data that you may not know. Most of its features are used in one click. Why not get it on your iMac/MacBook and try it yourself?

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