MacOS has a very simple disk summary tool that shows exactly where drive capacity is being use, sorted in a variety of file types. Looking at this summary panel is a helpful way to determine if your Mac is is low on drive space, to see what file type is consuming the space and to give you an idea how to free up space.
To access your Mac Disk Usage Summary, just choose the Apple menu item and select “About This Mac”.
Select the “Storage” tab to see the disk storage overview and capacity summary. As you can see, I had a USB disk connected to the Mac:
This will also quickly show what type of hard drive is included in the Mac, whether it’s a traditional hard drive, a “Flash Storage” drive (SSD), or a Fusion Drive.
The usage overview will show the freely available disk space,
but also show the total drive storage capacity, and six general categories of data in an easy
to scan graph:
• Audio – all music and audio files stored on the Mac, including the iTunes Song and Music libraries
• Movies – all movie files, whether user created from iMovie or downloaded from iTunes or elsewhere on the web
• Photos – all picture documents stored locally, including user imported photos from an iPhone or Camera, screen shots, or digitally created image files.
• Apps – all applications and executable files, including the /Applications directory and any other .app files stored around the Mac.
• Backups – all locally stored backup files from Time Machine or iPhone (this is often zero KB if you turned the feature off)
• Other – every other document and file type on the Mac, including archives, zip files, docs, txt, pdf, dmg and other images like iso, saved messages, quite literally everything else.
• (Free space) – the last item in the graph that is transparent, this is the freely available space shown in relation to used capacity.
While the storage summary panel provides a helpful overview of where the disk usage and capacity is consumed on any Mac, it is not an actionable screen that allows users to clean up their drives or file system.
If you’re constantly running into space issues, obtaining a large external drive to keep Mac backups and secondary storage on is not only good general maintenance policy, but it can also help to relieve the burden on a primary drive by offloading lesser used files and data.
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