2018 128GB 8GB ram MBA - HD usage

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by icloudUser, May 20, 2019.

  1. icloudUser, May 20, 2019
    Last edited: May 20, 2019

    icloudUser macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 20, 2019
    #1
    Hello,
    I need help to understand the HD usage and how macOs manages it (or not):
    I have a MBA with base 128gb storage.

    Breakdown of the usage:
    59 gb free
    51 gbs- used for system (crazy!!)?
    photos 5.6 gb (icloud photos and optimize storage is enabled)
    Documents ~1gb
    Mail ~1gb
    Music - always streamed from apple music / itunes
    Apps <500MB
    imessage ~200MB
    No purchased Movies are downloaded.
    under 500MB of files in the downloads directory
    TM backups are done onto an external HDD. Not sure there are local snapshots


    Its a 2 month old machine and up until a month back i used to have between 85 to 88 gbs of free HD space. It runs on latest macOS 10.14.5 updated last week.

    So, whats up with the usage here? can you guys help me troubleshoot this? I cant understand why the system is taking 51gbs?
    I can post pics with more info if you need in couple of hours.
    Thanks.
    edited to add more info on usage.
     
  2. Ghost31 macrumors 68020

    Ghost31

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2015
    #2
    How did you figure out all your usages and crap? Just by going to "about this Mac"? Because that really doesn't give the best idea as to how your storage is being used up. Have you ever tried this program called "daisy disk"? I first heard about it when I watched the movie unfriended. Then I started experiencing storage issues on my base model air so I downloaded it and wow. That program is a life saver. There's a free trial if you wanna give it a go. Most of my storage was taken up by screen savers and "photos" making thumbnails and stuff
     
  3. lambertjohn macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2012
    #3
    Go buy yourself a Samsung T5 external SSD and don't worry about it. They're less than $100 for 500GB.
     
  4. icloudUser thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 20, 2019
    #4
    Thanks! yep I got those via about my mac and manage storage option. Ok, I will use Daisy disk and see how it goes. Hopefully this is not going to be constant headache of being on top of macos.

    Funnily enough I also downloaded a movie (from itunes) and the usage went bananas after. Of course the movie is gone and deleted but the system usage went berserk.
     
  5. mollyc macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2016
    #5
    Are you backing up a phone or ipad to your computer? I bought a 256 version just because I didn't want to worry about running out of room. I am using my MBA as basically an iPad, with the ability to occasionally edit a photo or two, but my main computer is my iMac, and all my backups and major files go there or on my NAS. But even with not using my MBA as a workhorse, I figured the 256 offered me a bit more wiggle room.
     
  6. icloudUser thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 20, 2019
    #6
    Carrying a ext ssd around will be a pain. I use my MBA as a replacement for the Ipad and settle with it in my comfort zones lol.
    Also, it seems like if i had gone for a 256 /512 gb model i would still be in this situation with the system usage going mad. Thats too bad!! Why cant the macOs do the storage management better? I only have used <10gb out 128 (or the 121 it shows as the max usable capacity)
    --- Post Merged, May 20, 2019 ---
    Nope, all my backups of the phone are via WIFI i.e. not using a mac to do it.
    Hopefully the 256 model will save you from this mess but dont count on it!! This seems to be the way macOs handles (or not) the system storage so no amount of space is going to enough for it unfortunately.
     
  7. mollyc macrumors 68000

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    Aug 18, 2016
    #7
    I'm showing 20GB for system storage, which I think is right.
     
  8. icloudUser thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 20, 2019
    #8
    I would be ok with that kind of system usage.

    After the first boot up I had around 90 GB free out of 128 so 38gb already out of hands, and now the system usage stands at 51 gbs - this is mad.
     
  9. mollyc macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2016
    #9
    Is it still really new? I've had mine for two weeks now, but with any Mac right out of the gate there is Spotlight Indexing going on in the background. So I'm wondering if you've only had yours a few days that perhaps the indexing is showing a high system storage and then after that task has completed that your storage will go back to normal.
     
  10. trsblader macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 20, 2011
    #10
    Local backups are created and deleted as macOS deems necessary. Check out this iMore section (near the bottom) to determine if this is what's taking up the space, and if so, how to reclaim some of that space. The entire article is worth reading before jumping into it and deleting all the snapshots.
     
  11. icloudUser thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 20, 2019
    #11
    Have had it for slightly over two months now. I love spotlight but my own data is ~10gb (as listed in my original post) so not sure how indexing would handle that. The indexes will consume space all right but surely the size of indexes cant be larger than the size of data itself?!
     
  12. Ghost31 macrumors 68020

    Ghost31

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2015
    #12
    It’s...not indexing. That seems like the go to response whenever someone wants to suggest a solution lol

    There are coaches of photos and other things that take up gigabytes worth of space. Maybe I’ll show you a screenshot of mine later when I get a chance. Are you using iCloud for your photos and music and all that? Using just the photos app on Mac made duplicates of pretty much everything because it was syncing with the cloud AND trying to make thumbnails for me to click on. I think that alone took up 20gb.

    Within 5 minutes of downloading daisy disk I freed up probably 30gb. Incredibly useful app I’ll never delete
     
  13. icloudUser thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 20, 2019
    #13
    Yep I.m dead sure :) that the mac is configured to use icloud photo library and no music from my library is added/downloaded. There is no other way for me lol. My photo lib is ~100gb in iCloud.

    If I compare it to iOS on my Iphone (where i have the same settings - optimize storage & use Icloud photo lib) the photos take <3gb whereas my photo lib in Icloud is ~100GB- so I am happy with that. Low res version of my photos are available on my Iphone thereby saving space on it.
    So from what you say macOS could behave differently here where in it needs to create thumbails etc but again why it is so different (in terms of space usage) from Ios. I understand they are diff OSes :)

    I hope using Diasy disk as you suggest, and deleting the local snapshots will sort me out for now.
    Thanks a lot.
     
  14. icloudUser thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 20, 2019
    #14
    I used Daisy disk and windirstat like utility on the MBA disk.

    I had configured the screensaver to play photos from a large album so macOS downloaded 25gb of photos in its cache :-|

    I see Itunes artwork cache ~3gb - no music is downloaded as it is only streamed.

    The windirstat like utility shows my photo lib is 19gb and about mac shows photos using 4.56 gb :-|

    marvelous.
     
  15. lambertjohn macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2012
    #15
    "Carrying a ext ssd around will be a pain. I use my MBA as a replacement for the Ipad and settle with it in my comfort zones lol."

    Ha ha, the Samsung T5 external SSD is the size of a pack of matches and weighs even less.
     
  16. auxbuss macrumors regular

    auxbuss

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2014
    Location:
    UK
    #16
    I suspect it's Timemachine local snapshots. You can see them via: tmutil listlocalsnapshots /

    I run TM once a week and delete the local snapshot afterwards. There's no mechanism to switch them off permanently, afaik, which is bonkers.

    In addition to deleting local snapshots, I'd also boot into safe mode. That often clears up a bunch of heaven-only-knows-what and results in freeing some space.

    I've had the 8/128 base model since November, and my stats are a fairly constant 23Gb used/96Gb available.

    (If you want to troubleshoot further, then I'd recommend using the console command ncdu which is available via homebrew; but try the above first.)
     
  17. icloudUser thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 20, 2019
    #17
    I deleted a few local snapshots and it only helped to reduce a a gig or so. That said will need to keep an eye on it for sure.
    The About mac-->storage view shows 4.5gb used by photos and when I use something like http://www.derlien.com/ on the mac HDD it shows photo lib is ~20GB . This is baffling!
    So the about mac section lies to the user :-|
     
  18. MacLawyer macrumors demi-god

    MacLawyer

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    Aug 1, 2009
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    #18
    You’ll be OK with the base model but you will have to shell out for iCloud or some similar cloud solution for media and data storage.
     
  19. auxbuss macrumors regular

    auxbuss

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    Feb 18, 2014
    Location:
    UK
    #19
    Just delete them all. They're not needed.
    --- Post Merged, May 23, 2019 ---
    I have the base model and haven't needed to pay for additional online storage.

    I do have a NAS (attached to the router) for archiving and Timemachine (backups), though; but I've had that alongside my MBP 16/512 for years.
     
  20. icloudUser thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 20, 2019
    #20
    I thought so but to me the base model versus others in terms of storage is irrelevant as the storage mgmt in macos will spare no one. It just means that someone who has 256 g or more will hit the problem a few days or a week later.

    I do have a paid subscription for icloud storage and with that i thought it will be easy on local storage but not on macOs it seems (not as well it is done on the iOS platform)

    Also, it doesn't help that apple has nothing between 200GB and 2TB storage plans!
    Thanks
     
  21. mollyc macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2016
    #21
    I feel like you must have a setting gone awry somewhere. I don't use Time Machine on this computer, nor do I use iCloud for document or photo storage - just messages/contacts/keychain. I don't use iPhoto. My system storage has gone down to below 20GB since the last time I checked.
     
  22. icloudUser thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 20, 2019
    #22
    So do you mean your used storage is <20gb? or you have <20 gb available/free. I guess its the former.
    Yes it must be some setting. I will check again. AFAIK, there is only setting in System Preference to optimize mac storage for photos.

    I like Icloud photos because its so handy use it across devices, and on my iphone it works perfectly with only 3GB used by my photo lib whereas the actual size is 130 gb in the icloud.
     
  23. mollyc macrumors 68000

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    Aug 18, 2016
    #23
    Screen Shot 2019-05-23 at 8.23.23 AM.png

    I am a photographer using multiple cameras and rarely my iPhone, so I don't want to use iCloud for my photos. I also have a NAS at home for documents between computers. I have never even opened Photos.
     
  24. MacLawyer macrumors demi-god

    MacLawyer

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    Aug 1, 2009
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    #24
    NAS is even better. :cool:
     
  25. TokMok3 macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 22, 2015
    #25

    128GB is not enough in this days, not even 256Gb is not enough. 500GB is ok.
     

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36 May 20, 2019