How Do I Delete My Mac System Files Or Clear Some?

Discussion in 'macOS High Sierra (10.13)' started by smittywit, Mar 2, 2018.

  1. smittywit, Mar 2, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2018

    smittywit macrumors newbie

    Mar 2, 2018
    Screen Shot 2018-03-02 at 12.00.20 PM.png
    Okay. I have a MAJOR issue here. Can someone please explain to me in steps how to solve this problem? This has been BUGGING me for days. My System is using too much stoarge
  2. techwarrior macrumors 65816


    Jul 30, 2009
    Do you have Time Machine enabled? When was the last backup? I seem to recall System stores pending backups until successfully archived.
  3. smittywit thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 2, 2018
    Screen Shot 2018-03-02 at 1.21.02 PM.png

    Hey, thanks for the reply. I've never used Time Machine and when I do click it, the image you see above is what I'm asked.
  4. fisherking macrumors 604


    Jul 16, 2010
    ny somewhere
    first, what are you using for backup? that's the single most important thing... and if you click on your hard drive, does it show the same amount of available space?
  5. techwarrior macrumors 65816


    Jul 30, 2009
    By all means, get a USB drive and start backing up. If nothing else, you may need to buy a larger disk and restore your apps, settings and docs from backup.

    Again, not 100% certain, but I recall seeing an article stating large System use may relate to backups.
  6. smittywit thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 2, 2018
    Screen Shot 2018-03-02 at 2.42.48 PM.png Somebody made me do something to the terminal and I got this far. Check this out guys and tell me if this means anything?? Look above.
  7. BLUEDOG314 macrumors 6502


    Dec 12, 2015
    looks like 603GB are used by user home folders. Poke around in there by hitting CMD+Shift+G then typing /Users and hit enter. Highlight any user home folders and then hit CMD+I. If there is only one user, go into it, select all folders and hit CMD+I. This will give directory sizes. Note that hidden folders are not going to show, so for example the user Library folder which contains things like mobile device backups. To get in your user Library hit CMD+Shift+G again and do ~/Library and hit enter.
  8. smittywit thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 2, 2018
    SOLVED !!!!!
    Screen Shot 2018-03-02 at 12.00.20 PM.png
    Screen Shot 2018-03-02 at 8.45.00 PM.png

    Okay so before, my System took 600+ GB. But when I did the CMD+Shift+G and went into that hidden Libray. I found out that MAIL and MESSAGES Held over 150-200+ GB !!! The CMD + I to look up the directory sizes was also an extreme help! I produce music so my music takes up about 250 GB, which is fine because now I know exactly what's being used and I'm currently deleting unwanted files as we speak. I'm leaving this here for those that might be confused. THANK YOU EVERYONE!!! ESPECIALLY BLUEDOG314
  9. IowaLynn macrumors 65816


    Feb 22, 2015
    Carbon Copy Cloner will of course make bootable backup, also let you unselect folders, so you can dig down and see what is happening.

    Great to have before trashing files.
    Also, for making file archive of all versions of files.
  10. smittywit, Mar 3, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2018

    smittywit thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 2, 2018
    I will definitely be checking that out soon. Thank you for the extra information. At this point, I definitely need to do backups
    --- Post Merged, Mar 3, 2018 ---
    While talking in this thread I was in another thread asking for help as well, and Thanks to Weaselboy making me run the terminal, that allowed the others such as BLUEDOG314 to figure out and pitch into what the problem was. So I'm going to explain it here and on the other thread so future people won't be lost in the dark. I really hope this helps:

    Okay so is for those THAT DON'T USE TIME MACHINE !!!! Cause I didn't at the time of this issue, read the following and this might help.

    My initial problem was that the System was taking too much space. OVER 600 GB!! View attachment 753133

    I was told to go my MAC finder, click on Applications, scroll down to the Utilities Folder and open TERMINAL that's inside. I was met with this:
    View attachment 753134
    I then popped in the code:
    sudo du -d 1 -x -c -g /

    And the Terminal ask for you to type your login password. Okay look, UNDERSTAND YOU CANT SEE THE PASSWORD JUST TYPE IT. Once you type it YOU MUST WAIT FOR A FEW MINUTES. Mine looked something like. View attachment 753135

    I'm not the programmer or anything, but basically, if you look at Users there's a number that says 603. From what I learned that big number is where the System storage is taking place. I COULD BE WRONG IN EXPLAINING THAT. But that's where my problem was at. This is what the

    Where ever your problem is, go to that folder and used COMMAND + I to look up the FILE SIZES and the abnormally large files sizes is typically where that unreported System storage is being used. The box looks like this and the file size amount is in the top right corner.

    View attachment 753138

    That's my advice, but I now, I shall completely tell how I fixed MY PROBLEM.

    I went to my USERS FOLDER and Click on my home name that says Smitty. Yours will be different of course.

    View attachment 753139

    Clicking into that I highlighted all the folders and checked their folder which was COMMAND + I

    View attachment 753141

    I looked and Deleted stuff that was unwanted. But here is the thing. THERE'S A SECRET FOLDER!!!! I was told to type in COMMAND+Shift+G and Search: ~/Library

    View attachment 753142

    THIS IS WHERE THE PROBLEM WAS AT. There was folders such as MAIL. MESSAGES. GOOGLE. SAFARI. These folders held an incredible bulk of the system storage. Now be very careful of what you Delete there because it's a reason why it's a Secret Folder. But I knew to delete those folders because that was ONLINE BASED THINGS. I guess your computer saves information over time when you use Imessage & The Internet. Once I did that I wen't from having 32 GB of free data to 200 GB.

    View attachment 753144

    Now the reason why I still have so much System taking up storage is because I do Music and now I know my music takes up about 250 - 300 GB. You're situation may be different, but I really hope I helped out or at least gave you an idea.
  11. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Download and use OmniDiskSweeper. It will provide a sorted list of what's consuming your space.
    While du does what you want, its easier to use OmniDiskSweeper as you can drill down on the folders that are consuming a lot of space.
  12. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    My suggestions.

    2. Remove any TM local backups
    3. Turn off "hibernation mode" if it's on
    4. Remove the "sleep image" if it exists

    5. START using CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper for backups.

    6. DISABLE Spotlight and remove the indexing.

    7. DO NOT let iCloud "manage" your disk space. Instead, "manage it" YOURSELF.

    8. Determine if you have any "runaway processes" going on, that might continuously consume disk space.

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11 March 2, 2018