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How to Clean Up Your Mac Part 2

In our last blog article, we broke into a few techniques to open up free space on your Mac. As a professional computer, we see the trend of Macs increasingly common in the wordplace. Here are a few more tips on cleaning up the hard drive space on your Mac.

Clean Up The Big Attachments in Mac Mail

There are multiple options for email software, but many users stick with the built in Mac Mail application. If you’ve been using your Mac for email for some time, chances are that email attachments are taking up a ton of space on your hard drive. Sometimes many gigabytes of space are needlessly tied up. First, you can change the mail settings to not download all attachments automatically to save space on future emails. If you’re using Gmail, you can set limits on how many messages are synced over IMAP by default to only show the last few thousand instead of everything. Go into Mail -> Preferences -> Accounts -> Account Information and change the drop-down for “Download attachments” to either “Recent” or “None”.

Changing these settings will prevent Mail from using up so much space in the future, but we need a solution for dealing with the large attachments already downloaded. If you would like to remove these attachments, you’re going to need to follow the process to manually delete them.

Open Mail and click the folder that you want to review. Use the Sort by Size option to find the biggest messages. Click on the message, and choose “Message->Remove Attachments” from the menu bar. This method allows you to keep the message on your computer, and the attachment on the mail server as long as you are using IMAP (the setting on any modern email like gmail or yahoo). You can then repeat this method for all of your largest emails. If you are using a POP server for email, this method will remove the attachments from the server as well, deleting them permanently. If you are using a more dated mail service, be sure that you don’t need the attachments before removing them.

Alternatively, you can delete the entire messages with attachments if you no longer need these, speeding up the process. If you have thousands or more emails stacked up from months or years of use, you will most likely need a software tool to sort though these emails in a much more efficient way. There are many that do this, and the best choice will usually be the program with the most agreeable user interface. CleanMyMac is a good solution, but you must navigate through free trial options and will need to purchase software to get full functionality.

Clean Up Downloads

Thisis so obvious that we almost don’t need to include it, but it’s something that everybody forgets to deal with—your Downloads folder is likely to be full of huge files that you don’t need, and it’s not something most people habitually review.

Open Finder and head into your Downloads folder (many will see the folder on the left side navigation pane) and start deleting everything you don’t need. You can sort by file size to quickly delete the biggest offenders, but don’t forget to look at the folders—remember that every time you open up an archive file, it automatically unzips into a folder. Those folders don’t immediately announce themselves and their size, but many contain huge files that soak up a ton of hard drive space.

Use the Built in Tools Mac Provides

The latest version of macOS has tools available that help to optimize storage.

Store Files in iCloud. This feature allows users to choose which folders are stored in iCloud and which folders are stored on the machine itself. By setting large folders like images to be stored on iCloud, you’ll automatically free up that space. This requires a fast internet connection as there is a regular need for large data transfer to the cloud.

Optimize Storage. This feature is less an optimization tool and more an additional file deletion tool. This tool allows you to delete iTunes movies and TV shows after you’ve watched them to keep them from cluttering your hard drive.

Empty Trash Automatically. This is a fairly simple option within the “About This Mac” storage tab.

Reduce Clutter. This will help you find the biggest files on your hard drive and delete them if needed.

By using all of the tools available, you are fully able to optimize storage on your Mac without buying any additional software. If you need help, give us a shout!

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