Perplexed about my SSD storage

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by jingletido, Mar 20, 2016.

  1. jingletido macrumors newbie


    May 25, 2014
    I have 3 macs all running ElCapitan. Two are iMac desktops and one is a macbook air. They are all fairly new and all were purchased with 500 GB Flash drives (not fusion). All three computers are running the same programs and apps. Both the iMacs have lots of storage still available (about 250GB each). But the Mac Book Air is almost out of storage. I'm getting warnings on the Air that dropbox can't sync because I don't have enough space. There is only about 18 GB of storage available on the Air.
    But it doesn't make sense, because the macbook air doesn't have anything additionally installed or any files/programs more than what is on the two iMacs.
    Is there an explanation for this?
    Thank you!
  2. IowaLynn macrumors 65816


    Feb 22, 2015
    Connect to TimeMachine or turn TimeMachine backups off for the MBA is my first guess.

    Use an app to look at storage usage.
  3. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    Agree with post above to TURN OFF TM backups, probably eating up a lot of space.

    Also, this is better than Grand Perspective or ANY of the "visual-oriented" apps insofar as determining what folders and files are eating up your drive space:
    Diskwave, which can be found here:

    Just download it and open it.
    You'll see what to do next.
    TIP: in the preferences, TURN ON the option to show "normally invisible" files...
  4. jingletido thread starter macrumors newbie


    May 25, 2014
    Thank you all for your suggestions. I have Time Machine backing up to an external drive, so I don't understand how Time Machine would be eating up space on my internal SSD drive of the MacBook Air. Am I understanding correctly that Time Machine may still be utilizing storage space on my internal drive, even though the backups are going to another external drive?
  5. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Jan 1, 2008
    If Time Machine is unable to back up to the external drive, it will create a local copy of the data to be backed up - some protection is better than none at all. Rarely, Time Machine can get confused and not delete this data. Turning off Time Machine may help clean things up if this is the case.

    For more details, see:

  6. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    Sailing beyond the sunset
    This is how Time Machine uses your Air's internal drive:

    So the question is: when was your last TM backup from the Air to the external drive?

    Also, you can disable the TM snapshots. See here:

    EDIT: ninja'ed by Alrescha
  7. jingletido thread starter macrumors newbie


    May 25, 2014
    ahhh... understood. Thank you again very much!
    --- Post Merged, Mar 21, 2016 ---
    I always learn good stuff here. Thank you!
  8. pedrom Suspended

    Jan 30, 2016
    I don't get this. You could easily understand what was going on by going to  - about this mac - storage. What's the deal?
  9. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Because that Storage readout is almost always wrong and is worthless.


    OP> I agree with the others posts it is likely the Time Machine local snapshots using up some space.

    If you run the command below in Terminal it will show you how much space that hidden folder is using.

    sudo du -hs /.MobileBackups
  10. jingletido thread starter macrumors newbie


    May 25, 2014
    Again, I thank you for figuring out the problem. I got rid of those mobile backups and that freed up lots of storage. Problem solved. Thanks to all.

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