Solution: Reclaim storage back from "System"

dai-leung

macrumors regular
Aug 21, 2017
123
30
Sincere thanks! You are correct! Those posts (experience users having hundreds of GBs consumed by snapshots and were seeking help) were mostly in 2017-2018 and they did not say what OS they were using. Now safe to assume not Mojave.

I am grateful to all of you who have helped me. We are fortunate that MacRumors have so many experts who are using their expertise, knowledge and time to answer questions and solve problems for people who do not know what to do and who have no other way to get help.
 
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bigdog5142

macrumors 6502a
Jul 13, 2008
625
204
MI
Maybe you guys can help me. I have deleted all of my snapshots, but according to DaisyDisk, I still have 232.3GB in hidden space on my 2016 MBP running Mojave.

In “About My Mac” it is saying that system is using 345.25GB of space on my 500GB SSD. I only have about 60B of free space.

Apple engineers have taken a look at this and told me that this is normal. My AppleCare tech didn’t necessarily agree and suggested that I reinstall a fresh OS and use Migration Assistant to get my files where they need to be.

I’d LOVE to figure something out before nuking my system and trying to get it back to normal. Would anyone here possibly have any ideas? TIA.
 

DuncanGarp

macrumors regular
Sep 6, 2018
194
205
After upgrading to High Sierra the "System" storage was 260GB (About This Mac -> Storage). I also used DaisyDisk to confirm that there were "200GB of hidden system files" that can't be shown or deleted.

Turned to our good friend Google and I found that Time Machine local backups were the reason and 'sudo tmutil disablelocal' command was supposed to help, if only "disablelocal" verb had not been removed from High Sierra. So back to square one.

Did some digging a.k.a. opened the manual for tmutil. I found that there were two useful verbs "listlocalsnapshots" and "deletelocalsnapshots". Used the first one to get the exact date stamps required for the second one and deleted all local snapshots manually.

Result: "System" went from 260GB to 60GB.

Step by step I went as following:
Code:
sudo tmutil listlocalsnapshots /
This resulted:
Code:
com.apple.TimeMachine.2017-09-27-005259
com.apple.TimeMachine.2017-09-27-104645
com.apple.TimeMachine.2017-09-27-114218
com.apple.TimeMachine.2017-09-27-124220
I took these four date stamps and followed the next command with each as following:
Code:
tmutil deletelocalsnapshots 2017-09-27-005259
So in the end if i double checked with
Code:
sudo tmutil listlocalsnapshots /
there were no snapshots and after checking "About This Mac -> Storage" I was happy :)

Hope this helps!
This tip indeed helped me free up about 37gb or so on my internal SSD (APFS format) on Mojave.

I still see 1 more local snapshot existing. I wonder if I could delete this as well or is it critical.

Thanks!
 
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dai-leung

macrumors regular
Aug 21, 2017
123
30
I have a 2018 8th gen MacBook Pro (Mojave OS), SSD internal disk with Time Machine snapshots enabled. Is there any problem if I use a external spinning HD to do Time machine backup?
[doublepost=1559172693][/doublepost]
This tip indeed helped me free up about 37gb or so on my internal SSD (APFS format) on Mojave.

I still see 1 more local snapshot existing. I wonder if I could delete this as well or is it critical.

Thanks!
I am not a computer person. I am confused. According to Apple, each snapshot will be deleted after 24 hours. This is not true?
 

k_gr

macrumors newbie
Jun 21, 2019
1
0
JJ wrote:
"I'm thinking about trying these solutions:
Reinstalling macOS without formatting or erasing data. I don't really think this will change anything if it's a filesystem-related issue, but it is worth a try in my opinion;
Cloning the SSD, formatting, restoring the clone."


THIS is "your answer".
YES!!! This was my answer!!!
110 GB richer...

Thank you!!!!
 

macjeez

macrumors newbie
Aug 16, 2019
1
0
This was my issue... the Carbon Copy Cloner snapshots
I had read through this and a few other threads here on MR searching for answers
None of the suggestions were working for me
My available space was falling gradually and I ignored it until it started getting critical and dropping at an alarming rate
I ended up with 5GB available on a 1TB drive before I was able to reverse it

I found the snapshots in CCC, listing both the Time Machine snapshots and the CCC snapshots
However I could not delete them as suggested in the CCC documentation
It would tell me it was unable to delete (even selected individually) and to restart the system and try again
Apparently I didn't have enough free space to even delete them

I ended up setting the retention policies to 0 and running a clone and that deleted them
Then I turned snapshots off

I reclaimed 490 GB of space
In order to delete all snapshots I set "Delete the oldest snapshots when free space is less than" to size of disk
 

gorbag42

macrumors newbie
Apr 26, 2011
26
18
NY State
One more reason why I don't use TM and will never use it.
I prefer CarbonCopyCloner -- a real backup program that doesn't muck and create invisible files on your main drive...
Well, today I just went through this process to clean up the snapshot files CCC makes... so YMMV. Note in preferences (on CCC) you can turn off snapshotting. I hadn't noticed until I needed to free up a few 100s of G.
 
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