Startup drive mysteriously filling up

dpfenninger

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 23, 2005
139
61
Recently, I have been getting iCloud error messages saying that I don't have enough local storage to keep full copies of my Photos library, despite having well over 200 GB showing free on my startup disk (a 1.15 TB BYO Fusion drive) according to the About This Mac storage window. I then noticed that when looking in Disk Utility and when doing a Get Info on the disk in Finder, that there was significantly less space showing on the disk, and it seems to be shrinking for no apparent reason.

Last night, I was having issues upon reboot as well...with the Finder and all startup items seemingly freezing up. I noticed once I was able to get to the desktop that Spotlight seemed to be re-indexing, so I added my startup drive to be excluded in Spotlight prefs, thinking that maybe the Spotlight database had ballooned out of control, causing the drive space to shrink and the slowdowns that I experienced. But so far, that space isn't reclaimed, so I wonder if there is something else that's filling up my drive in the background.

Any ideas? Any help is greatly appreciated!
 

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dpfenninger

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 23, 2005
139
61
Your disk is full. 1.09 TB out of 1.15 TB.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202867
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT206996

You need to get your "used" number down to ~80% of your disk capacity.
Yes, but I guess my question is...why the discrepancy between what About This Mac is telling me and what Disk Utility and Finder are saying (see screenshot). Also, I’m not sure what is suddenly using up that space, as I had been hovering around the same amount of space free for months and was not even close to full.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,938
6,981
OP --
Do you use Time Machine?
Are "local backups" and "local snapshots" (or whatever it's called) clogging up your drive?
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
30,610
10,400
California
Yes, but I guess my question is...why the discrepancy between what About This Mac is telling me and what Disk Utility and Finder are saying (see screenshot). Also, I’m not sure what is suddenly using up that space, as I had been hovering around the same amount of space free for months and was not even close to full.
https://www.macobserver.com/tips/how-to/macos-purgeable-storage-hard-drive/

It is because of the way those two views report on the "purgable" space used. Here is an article that explains a bit.
 

dpfenninger

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 23, 2005
139
61
https://www.macobserver.com/tips/how-to/macos-purgeable-storage-hard-drive/

It is because of the way those two views report on the "purgable" space used. Here is an article that explains a bit.
Thanks for the link. Ok, this is starting to make sense to me. So basically About This Mac is wrong...I looked at the Get Info window on the drive in Finder, and is saying 277.88 GB available (208.03 GB purgeable). The difference between those two numbers, 69.85 GB, is exactly what is showing as free in Disk Utility.

So bottom line, the "purgeable" stuff (mainly my Photos library) simply shows as free space in About This Mac despite that it is still physically taking up space on my drive. This seems deceptive to me. Why not simply report the actual space taken/free, and then give folks the suggestion/option to purge via iCloud, instead of leading them to think free space is more spacious then it actually is?
 

dpfenninger

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 23, 2005
139
61
And what if you need to upgrade your iCloud storage space to accommodate all this purgeable data? The more I'm processing this, the more Microsoft-y it all feels to me. Wonder how Steve would feel about this. Seems Apple is getting increasingly complex and not user-centric in how it handles these sorts of things. Just my $0.02.

In any event, looks like I'm going to be looking into adding a bigger SSD to my system...don't want to keep my Photos library solely in the cloud. I have a monthly data cap with my internet provider and don't want that to become an issue anytime I have to access a larger video.
 

HDFan

macrumors 68020
Jun 30, 2007
2,406
672
I'm going to be looking into adding a bigger SSD to my system...don't want to keep my Photos library solely in the cloud.
For irreplaceable things like photos you need 3 backups. An SSD is a waste of money if you are just using it for backups.
 

dpfenninger

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 23, 2005
139
61
For irreplaceable things like photos you need 3 backups. An SSD is a waste of money if you are just using it for backups.
No, the bigger SSD will be my main system drive. I also have two external HDDs, one as a Time Machine backup and the other to do a full system clone. I also have Backblaze backups of my system drive and external storage/video drives. So I'm covered. :) I just meant I don't want to have my photos/videos solely in the cloud and have to redownload them every time I want access.
 
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nissan.gtp

macrumors 6502
Aug 22, 2007
377
4
Virginia
My wife's MacBook pro had the same problem. A ton of purgable space that the system wouldn't free up. She couldn't back up her phone since there wasn't enough free space. After doing a lot of things to clean up, I downloaded CleanMyMac X. It has a tool to reclaim the purgable space. Ran it, and bingo, plenty of room.

YMMV, and good luck !

https://setapp.com/apps/cleanmymac
 
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