What could have taken up so much hard drive space?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by enzo thecat, Dec 1, 2016.

  1. enzo thecat macrumors 6502

    enzo thecat

    Apr 7, 2010
    Midwest USA
    I just received my new MBP. Before I bought my new computer I checked my memory "usage" of my 2010 that I was replacing. It has 512GB SSD. Used space was 470gb. I had less than 50gb of free space. For the new machine, I copied every file over manually (with usb drives) including every song, movie, document, app etc. I also installed every program I had on the old computer with NEW installs of the latest and greatest version which require quite a bit more of memory.

    Somehow, on the new machine, I have used less than 100gb. I have looked throughout Finder on the 2010 looking for files that I might have left behind but I cant find anything. Where else do I look? Why such a discrepancy in file storage space? My trash file is emptied frequently so i didnt loose storage there. Any ideas?
  2. Clint_Barton macrumors 6502

    Oct 23, 2016
    did you backup your phone to itunes, that takes up a lot of space
  3. enzo thecat thread starter macrumors 6502

    enzo thecat

    Apr 7, 2010
    Midwest USA

    Yes! Did that for years before icloud subscription. Thank you!!!!!!

    Where do I find those file so I can delete them? I am still going to be using my 2010 so I'd like to delete them.
  4. Clint_Barton macrumors 6502

    Oct 23, 2016
    Library>Application support>MobileSync to see how much space.
    To find the actual backups, Itunes>Preferences>Devices
  5. duervo macrumors 68020


    Feb 5, 2011
    Local time machine snapshots would also explain the size diff.

    If you do backups to an external TM location at least daily, you should be ok to disable local time machine snapshots.

    If you want, do this:

    - Open terminal.app
    - Type this command, and then press enter:

    sudo tmutil disablelocal

    - Enter your password when prompted.

    If you change your mind, this command will put it back the way it was:

    sudo tmutil enablelocal

    You can find the man page for tmutil here, or by typing "man tmutil" from command-line:

  6. enzo thecat, Dec 1, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2016

    enzo thecat thread starter macrumors 6502

    enzo thecat

    Apr 7, 2010
    Midwest USA

    Yes, I absolutely back ups to external TM. Thanks
  7. tomviolence macrumors member

    Jan 16, 2012
    Writing this here for users of Adobe After Effects: empty Disk Cache.
  8. hiddenmarkov, Dec 1, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2016

    hiddenmarkov macrumors 6502a

    Mar 12, 2014
    To avoid that idevice backup space issue if desired google how to change the path to an external (assuming an external used). Don't have the link for the one I saw and used on the work computer sadly.

    Run a few CLI commands and voila...your idevice backups go to that external. Becomes a necessity imo when you have several devices. My case that's 2 phones, 2 ipads (used to be 3 but one EOL"d so don't sync up really anymore). these can kill the space on a smallish SSD fast.

    gets you a few benefits. You can see the directory more readily (make it folder off of the external root and done...vice apple seeming to hide this). So when you replace devices if after your migration restore you don't want the backup(s) just delete them after you have that fresh backup on the new device and its known good.

    edit: Another possible source of space use is TM remembers references to files to you may have deleted so system still thinks its there. Quick and easy fix for the future is to once in while turn off TM for a couple minutes, this clears this out. More than once I know I have wiped 100gb of files the system won't forget about. This...makes them forget and the 100gb magically frees up finally.
  9. Abazigal macrumors G3


    Jul 18, 2011
    You can try downloading the app "omnidisksweeper". It scans your hard drive and tells you what files are taking up space on your computer.
  10. mysteryGenius macrumors member


    Nov 24, 2016
    Basically loads of stuff in ~/Library.

    Application support, iTunes backup, CoreData Storage, Caches (particularly iTunes/Apple Music streamed stuff), etc etc...
  11. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    That is probably what it was then. If you use TM on a Mac portable it saves "local snapshots" to a hidden /.MobileBackups folder. You can just ignore it and as the drive approaches 80% full the OS will start to remove those items.

    More info at this link.


    If you run the command below in Terminal on your current machine it will show how much space is being used for local snapshots.

    sudo du -hs /.MobileBackups

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