How to Free up drive space on an MacBook Air

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by roland.g, Jun 19, 2012.

  1. macrumors 603

    roland.g

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Location:
    One mile up and soaring
    #1
    There is a thread listed in the Mac Guides header of this forum about freeing up drive space.

    Complete Steps to Perform a Clean OS X Reinstall on Your MacBook Air

    However, it is outdated as it is based on a 2008 thread and doesn't cover the process regarding OS X 10.7 Lion at all, of which there is not even a remote disc to use.

    GGJstudios and I began discussing it in a thread I prematurely asked to be deleted. There are programs like Monolingual, and I've also used XSlimmer in the past though I'm not sure since that just attacks Binary/Universal duplicity, if there is any real use for it here. I'm also not sure if Monolingual just takes out the ability to boot to additional languages or if it also addresses the additional fonts that may be unnecessary.

    What I'd like to know is if you can do a clean install of Lion on a MBA from the recovery partition and eliminate items from the install to slim it down and save space like you could in Leopard and Snow Leopard. And if it is worth it. In those builds the savings was easily 6-8 GB. So for good reason on a space limited (128 GB) MBA, I'd like to free up what space I can.
     
  2. GGJstudios, Jun 19, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013

    macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    Freeing up drive space in Mac OS X

    I'm not aware of any option to eliminate languages and architectures during the Mac OS X install process, so you'd have to do that after installation.
    • Before you start deleting anything, backup your drive, using Time Machine or make a bootable clone with Carbon Copy Cloner. That way if you make a mistake, you can quickly recover.

    • Monolingual will remove languages and architectures that you don't need, but not fonts. As always, exercise caution when using such apps, as problems can arise if the wrong languages or architectures are removed.

    • Font Book (in your /Applications folder) can be used to manage fonts. Deleting fonts you don't use will free up some space and can improve launch times for some apps. Be careful you don't delete fonts the system needs.

    • You can delete the Alex voice to free up about 400MB. It is located here:
      /System/Library/Speech/Voices/Alex.SpeechVoice/

    • Deleting unused Garageband loops can free up around 100MB. They are located here:
      /Library/Audio/Apple Loops/Apple/Apple Loops for GarageBand/

    • Deleting unused printer drivers may save some additional space.

    • Install the Secrets preference pane and set "Web thumbnail previews" to "Disabled".

    • For Time Machine users on notebooks running Lion or later, space may be consumed by Time Machine local snapshots, which can be disabled. OS X: About Time Machine's "local snapshots" on portable Macs

    • Backups for your iPhone/iPad are stored in /Users/yourusername/Library/Application Support/MobileSync. You can review and delete these backups from iTunes > Preferences > Devices.

    • If you install apps and later decide to delete them, make sure you also delete any associated files and folders. In most cases, app removal software, including uninstall packages, will typically leave remnants behind. In some cases, what's left behind by such uninstall apps consumes more space than what was removed. To maximize space savings, the most effective method for complete app removal is manual deletion. You can use this method even if you have already removed apps, as long as you can remember the app names.


    • Of course, the greatest impact will be moving user files to external drives. For example, my iTunes library won't fit on my internal drive, so I have it split, with my favorite music on the internal, available when I travel, and the remainder on external drives.
      How to split a single iTunes library over two or more media locations

    • Disregard any guides or posts that recommend deleting cache files. As caches exist to improve performance, deleting them can negatively impact system performance while they are being rebuilt, and any space savings are temporary, as the cache files will automatically grow again.

    • Avoid apps such as MacKeeper, CleanMyMac and CCleaner. They aren't necessary and can do more harm than good.

    • If you're not absolutely certain that something is safe to delete, DON'T delete it! Ask first!
     
  3. thread starter macrumors 603

    roland.g

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    #3
    can I just delete the alex voice from the path?
    and the garageband loops?
     
  4. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #4
    Sure. Re-read my post, as I've added some things.
     
  5. macrumors regular

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    Location:
    Worcestershire
    #5
    Related to this, I am hoping when retina apps appear, that there will be a Monolingual style app to remove the @2x retina graphic files, as no doubt they will take up lots of space!
     
  6. thread starter macrumors 603

    roland.g

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    #6
    Thanks.
     
  7. macneubie, Jun 30, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2012

    macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    #7
    What about other voices in /System/Library/Speech/Voices/ folder?

    In Lion, I saw the folder containing iLife sound clips (approx 100+MB) in the /Library/Audio/Apple Loops folder and deleted it, as I trashed iPhoto, GarageBand & iMovie.

    How to go about deleting unused printer drivers?

    Thanks for the advice.
     
  8. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #8
    /Library/Printers/
     
  9. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    #9
    From my printer folder, only Canon and Epson exists, and they don't really take up much space there....
     
  10. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    #10
    How do I actually format on a new Macbook Air?

    I know there is the disk utility, do I choose the actual physical drive and erase? Will that get rid of the startup files needed or will this be OK?
     
  11. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    #11
    stumbled upon Mac version of CCleaner which is quite good in cleaning out the accumulated gunk in the system.
     
  12. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #12
    You don't need "cleaner" or "maintenance" apps like CCleaner to keep your Mac running well, and some of these apps can do more harm than good. Some remove files/folders or unused languages or architectures, which does nothing more than free up some drive space, with the risk of deleting something important in the process.

    These apps will not make your Mac run faster or more efficiently, since having stuff stored on a drive does not impact performance, unless you're running out of drive space. Some of these apps delete caches, which can hurt performance, rather than help it, since more system resources are used and performance suffers while each cache is being rebuilt.

    Many of these tasks should only be done selectively to troubleshoot specific problems, not en masse as routine maintenance.

    Mac OS X does a good job of taking care of itself, without the need for 3rd party software. Among other things, it has its own maintenance scripts that run silently in the background on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, without user intervention.

    With very few exceptions, you don't need to defrag on Mac OS X, except possibly when partitioning a drive.

    About disk optimization with Mac OS X
     
  13. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    #13
    not really optimizing/defragging the SSD, but more to clean up those temporary internet files within Safari, which I cleaned up 700+ MB space for the first time since ML.
     
  14. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #14
    You can get rid of those in Safari by clicking Safari > Empty Cache
    In Safari 6, that option is on the Develop menu.
     
  15. macrumors newbie

    Rinn

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    Odessa, Ukraine
    #15
    Currently you have to go to Safari -> Preferences -> Advance and enable developer menu, after you can go to Developer -> Empty Cashes
     
  16. macrumors 6502a

    DesertEagle

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    #16
  17. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
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    UK
    #17
    Is it OK to delete GarageBand and iPhoto completely??
    I never use them - I use iMovie now and then, but not the others. Would removing the above two interfere with iMovie in any way?
     
  18. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #18
    Thanks for this thread. I had posted a question to the guide's original thread, but it's been dormant since 2008.

    My question was, how much space can you squeeze out of a clean Mountain Lion install? The guide was written for Leopard and savings of 10-20GB+ were discussed. However if I recall correctly, Snow Leopard dramatically shrank the footprint of OSX. Are there still large savings to be made, or are we really looking at a few GB?

    Thanks!
     
  19. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #19
    You should be fine deleting them.
    See post #2.
     
  20. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #20
    Thanks. Sorry if this is being pedantic. The original guide says that deleting printer drivers will save 3.4GB. Post #2 just says "some additional space" which makes it sound like nowhere near that much. Just curious if that's a difference between Leopard and Mountain Lion.

    I'm not that worried about saving a couple of GB, but 10-20 is a different matter.

    Thanks for all your help.
     
  21. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #21
    It completely depends on how many printer drivers you have installed, which may be a different amount than other users. Just delete any drivers you don't use and/or think you'll never need.
     
  22. macrumors P6

    Weaselboy

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    #22
    That is what it is. Starting with Snow Leopard OS X only installs print drivers for attached printers, where Leopard used to install a whole slew of drivers even if you did own those printers.
     
  23. macrumors regular

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    Apr 8, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #23
    Great. Thanks for the clarity.
     
  24. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2011
    #24
    Great thread thanks.
     

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