system space keeps on getting larger and larger

roadkill401

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 11, 2015
434
82
I don't understand APFS as it seems to eat up drive space and never give it back.

I copied a large project to my drive that used up most of the drive space I had. it left me with 28gb free on my 500gb SSD drive. After working on the files I deleted them and emptied the trash, but my free space just doesn't want return. what has happened instead is now my system shows at being 290gb in size.

I don't understand what the system space really means. I thought it was the files in the operating system. A clean install takes around 7 to 13gb of space.. but 290gb is a bit more than I can figure.

How do I get my drive space back?
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
18,261
6,129
Do you use iCloud?
If so, do you have the "disk management" feature turned on?
Do you use Time Machine?
Have you checked to see if space isn't being eaten up by "local backups"?
 

roadkill401

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 11, 2015
434
82
No. I don't have icloud turned on as I refuse to give Apple any more money. I don't use TimeMachine.

I think that the OS doesn't delete files, even if you empty the recycling bin. As soon as you add files to the OS it won't let them go, but the OS also complains that you are running out of drive space.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
18,261
6,129
Download DiskWave from here:
It's small in size and free.

Open DiskWave and go to the preferences.
Put a checkmark in "show invisible files".
Close preferences.

The DiskWave window shows you all your drives in plain English (no ridiculous graphical formats).
Click on any drive.
Now, you'll see what's ON the drive, listed in order of "largest to smallest".
You can easily locate what's eating up your space.

What is it?
 

roadkill401

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 11, 2015
434
82
it's a wonderful little app, and when you add up all the files (In the GB size), it adds up to about 152gb total. Yet in the About my Mac / Storage it seems to think there is about 338gb used. This is the same as what DiskUtility is showing. So somewhere I have about 180gb if ghost files that can't be seen, can't be found, but are taking up drive storage space.. or perhaps it's just another piece of absolute crap programming from Apple.


Screen Shot 2020-01-19 at 1.08.01 PM.png
 

velocityg4

macrumors 601
Dec 19, 2004
4,720
1,289
Georgia
Open Activity Monitor and check your swap file in the Memory tab. I've seen that go out of control. When a program with a memory leak starts creating a swap file which fills the boot drive.
 

dsemf

macrumors 6502
Jul 26, 2014
353
76
What does the following terminal command show?
Code:
tmutil listlocalsnapshots /
It will not show you the actual usage, but it might help. If you click on the data volume in Disk Utility, the Available section may indicate the amount that is purgeable.

If you have Carbon Copy Cloner, it can display the snapshots and their size.

DS
 

Honza1

macrumors 6502
Nov 30, 2013
472
161
US
Just look up all of those many, many, many, many threads here with similar titles.

Example: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/how-do-i-clear-the-system-storage.2216526/

TL;DR : you should not have to care and watch this number. System will release the space if needed or after some time... There is logic behind this behavior.

***

Someone should make better, more authoritative and detailed explanation as sticky somewhere. It will make it easier to help.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Gregg2