Optimised Storage in macOS Sierra and later* can save space by storing your content in iCloud and making it available on demand. When storage space is needed, files, photos, films, email attachments and other files that you rarely use are stored in iCloud automatically. Each file stays exactly where you last saved it, and will download when you open it. Files that you’ve used recently remain on your Mac, along with optimised versions of your photos.

* If you haven't yet upgraded to macOS Sierra or later, learn about other ways to free up storage space.

With Dropbox, you can easily send any large file, including including images and video files, to anyone you want—and the receiver won’t even need a Dropbox account to access the file. Create a shared link to send any file in your Dropbox, regardless of size or content, and share that download link via chat, text, or email with whomever you. Transfer files through e-mail. The simplest way to transfer computer files on iPhone is by sending. Turn on Finder integration. If you’re on OSX 10.10 or higher, get sync status directly from Finder by enabling Finder overlays in Settings. First, click the Apple logo in the top left corner of your Mac Desktop and select System Preferences, then select Extensions in the top-level menu (shown in the 3rd row from the top). Toggle on the OneDrive Finder Integration to enable Finder overlays.

Find out how much storage is available on your Mac

Choose Apple menu  > About This Mac and then click Storage. Each segment of the bar is an estimate of the storage space used by a category of files. Move your pointer over each segment for more detail.

Click the Manage button to open the Storage Management window, pictured below. This button is only available in macOS Sierra or later.

Manage storage on your Mac

The Storage Management window offers recommendations for optimising your storage. If some recommendations have already been turned on, you will see fewer recommendations.


Store in iCloud

Click the Store in iCloud button and then choose from these options:

  • Desktop and Documents. Store all files from these two locations in iCloud Drive. When storage space is needed, only the files you recently opened are kept on your Mac, so that you can easily work offline. Files stored only in iCloud show a download icon , which you can double-click to download the original file. Learn more about this feature.
  • Photos. Store all original, full-resolution photos and videos in iCloud Photos. When storage space is needed, only space-saving (optimised) versions of photos are kept on your Mac. To download the original photo or video, just open it.
  • Messages. Store all messages and attachments in iCloud. When storage space is needed, only the messages and attachments you recently opened are kept on your Mac. Learn more about Messages in iCloud.

Storing files in iCloud uses the storage space in your iCloud storage plan. If you reach or exceed your iCloud storage limit, you can either buy more iCloud storage or make more iCloud storage available. iCloud storage starts at 50 GB for $0.99 (USD) a month, and you can purchase additional storage directly from your Apple device. Learn more about prices in your region.

Optimise Storage

Click the Optimise button, then choose from these options.

  • Automatically remove watched films and TV programmes. When storage space is needed, films or TV programmes that you have purchased from the iTunes Store and have already watched will be removed from your Mac. Click the download icon next to a film or TV programme to download it again.
  • Download only recent attachments. Mail automatically downloads only the attachments that you have recently received. You can manually download any attachments at any time by opening the email or attachment, or saving the attachment to your Mac.
  • Don't automatically download attachments. Mail only downloads an attachment when you open the email or attachment, or save the attachment to your Mac.

Optimising storage for films, TV programmes and email attachments doesn't require iCloud storage space.

Empty Bin Automatically

Empty Bin Automatically permanently deletes files that have been in the Bin for more than 30 days.

Reduce Clutter

Reduce Clutter helps you to identify large files and files you may no longer need. Click the Review Files button and then choose any of the file categories in the sidebar, such as Applications, Documents, Music Creation or Bin.

You can delete the files in some categories directly from this window. Other categories show the total storage space used by the files in each app. You can then open the app and decide whether to delete files from within it.

Learn how to re-download apps, music, films, TV programmes and books.

Where to find the settings for each feature

The button for each recommendation in the Storage Management window affects one or more settings in other apps. You can also control these settings directly within each app.

  • If you're using macOS Catalina, choose Apple menu  > System Preferences, click Apple ID, then select iCloud in the sidebar: Store in iCloud turns on the Optimise Mac Storage setting on the right. Then click Options next to iCloud Drive: Store in iCloud turns on the Desktop & Documents Folders setting. To turn off iCloud Drive entirely, deselect iCloud Drive.
    In macOS Mojave or earlier, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click iCloud and then click Options next to iCloud Drive. Store in iCloud turns on the Desktop & Documents Folders and Optimise Mac Storage settings.
  • In Photos, choose Photos > Preferences and then click iCloud. Store in iCloud selects iCloud Photos and Optimise Mac Storage.
  • In Messages, choose Messages > Preferences, then click iMessage. Store in iCloud selects Enable Messages in iCloud.
  • If you're using macOS Catalina, open the Apple TV app, choose TV > Preferences from the menu bar and then click Files. Optimise Storage selects “Automatically delete watched films and TV programmes”.
    In macOS Mojave or earlier, open iTunes, choose iTunes > Preferences from the menu bar and then click Advanced. Optimise Storage selects “Automatically delete watched films and TV programmes”.
  • In Mail, choose Mail > Preferences from the menu bar and then click Accounts. In the Account Information section on the right, Optimise Storage sets the Download Attachments menu to either Recent or None.

Empty Bin Automatically: From the Finder, choose Finder > Preferences, then click Advanced. Empty Bin Automatically selects “Remove items from the Bin after 30 days”.

Other ways that macOS automatically helps to save space

With macOS Sierra or later, your Mac automatically takes these additional steps to save storage space:

  • Detects duplicate downloads in Safari, keeping only the most recent version of the download
  • Reminds you to delete used app installers
  • Removes old fonts, languages and dictionaries that aren't being used
  • Clears caches, logs and other unnecessary data when storage space is needed

How to free up storage space manually

Even without using the Optimised Storage features of Sierra or later, you can take other steps to make more storage space available:

  • Music, films and other media can use a lot of storage space. Learn how to delete music, films and TV programmes from your device.
  • Delete other files that you no longer need by moving them to the Bin, then emptying the Bin. The Downloads folder is good place to look for files that you may no longer need.
  • Move files to an external storage device.
  • Compress files.
  • Delete unneeded email: In the Mail app, choose Mailbox > Erase Junk Mail. If you no longer need the email in your Deleted Items mailbox, choose Mailbox > Erase Deleted Items.
DownloadHow

Learn more

  • The Storage pane of About This Mac is the best way to determine the amount of storage space available on your Mac. Disk Utility and other apps may show storage categories, such as Not Mounted, VM, Recovery, Other Volumes, Free or Purgeable. Don't rely on these categories to understand how to free up storage space or how much storage space is available for your data.
  • When you duplicate a file on an APFS-formatted volume, that file doesn't use additional storage space on the volume. Deleting a duplicate file only frees up the space required by any data that you might have added to the duplicate. If you no longer need any copies of the file, you can recover all of the storage space by deleting both the duplicate and the original file.
  • If you're using a pro app and Optimise Mac Storage, learn how to make sure that your projects are always on your Mac and able to access their files.

Files you download from the Internet are often compressed or zipped so that they take up less space and arrive much faster than files that haven’t been compressed. You can easily identify compressed files by their extensions, such as .zip (a common standard used in OS X and Windows) and .sit. Before you can use these files, you must learn how to unzip files on mac computers for proper access – luckily the process isn’t that complicated!

How to unzip files on mac computers

Unzipping a file on a mac computer is user-friendly and intuitive. To unzip files on a mac, simply follow the steps below:

  1. Double click the zipped file.
  2. The file will automatically be decompressed by Archive Utility into the same folder the compressed file is in.
  3. Access the extracted files by clicking the appropriate icons.

Alternatively, if the method above does not work, you can right-click on the .zip package, and select Open With > Archive Utility (default).

Apple and third party software

Apple used to include a program called StuffIt Expander to decompress zipped files, but doesn’t now that OS X lets you unzip files (but not .sit files). However, StuffIt from SmithMicro Software still comes in handy for opening other types of compressed files, notably the .sit or .sitx compressed types. Go to www.stuffit-expander.com or www.stuffit.com/mac/index.html to download a free version of the software or to splurge for the Deluxe version. In addition to compressing files, StuffIt Deluxe lets you encrypt and back up files.

Meanwhile, you can archive or create your own .zip files through OS X, which is useful if you’re e-mailing a number of meaty files to a friend. Right-click (or Ctrl-click) files you want to compress inside Finder and choose Compress Filename. The newly compressed files carry the .zip extension. The archive is created in the same location as the original file and is named originalfilename.zip. You can also choose File→Compress. If you compress a lot of files at once, the archive takes the name Archive.zip.

By default, compressed files are opened with the Archive Utility. It appears in the Dock (in Leopard) while the files are being unsqueezed, unless you choose to open them with Stuffit Expander or some other program.

How to zip files on a mac

On the flip side, you can also archive or create your own .zip files through OS X, which is useful if you’re e-mailing a number of meaty files to a client or friend. Follow the step-by-step instructions below to easily zip files on a mac:

  1. Right-click or Ctrl-click the multiple files you want to compress (whether on the desktop or inside the Finder).
  2. Select Compress Filename from the pop-up menu.
  3. The files are now compressed in a .zip extension and the archive is created in the same location as the original file name, except with the .zip appended to its name.

Zip Files For Mac

On some Apple computers, you can also compress a file by simply choosing File→Compress. If you compress a lot of files at once, the archive takes the name Archive.zip.