From caches to duplicates, your Mac tends to accumulate files you may not know about. Among them are temporary files. These are the kind of files that contain data generated by applications. Such files are later accessed and used by the process (application) that created them.

For the most part, these files are nothing to worry about. After all, as the name states, they are temporary and are taken care of automatically. However under certain circumstances you just have to erase them manually.

Emptying Temp Folder and Removing Temp Files

Unlike caches, temporary files aren’t meant to stay. Usually, the process that has stored temporary data on your Mac will automatically delete it too upon exit. That may not be the case for every app, but then temp files are often taken out by the system during a restart or shutdown cycle.

shut down mac

This brings us to the first and easiest way to clear out temporary files — restart your Mac. Rebooting your system will prompt it to clear most of the temporary files from your drive. If you are among the people who give preference to ‘Sleep’ over ‘Shutdown’, you may be surprised how much free space a simple ‘Restart' can reward you with. Still not enough free storage? — Try manually getting rid of the temp files.

How to Find Temporary Files Folder

Finding temporary files on Mac is not all that easy. MacOS generates a unique directory within the /private/var/ folder. This means that your temp folder exact location will be different from anyone else’s. It, however, does not mean you can’t find it. Using Terminal, which can be found in Finder>Applications>Utilities, type echo $TMPDIR to show the temp folder name, or open $TMPDIR to open that folder in Finder.

mac temp folder

Several other temporary directories can be found in addition to the main one:

Quit the running apps and safely remove the contents of the folders to make more room on your drive. In addition, it’s advisable to remove temporary internet files on your Mac as well.

How to Delete Temporary Internet Files in Safari

Doing a browser cleanup every once in a while will get it to run faster, yet it may come with a few complications. Here is what you need to know before you wipe your internet files:

Still want to get rid of the temporary data? Open Safari, click Safari in the menu bar and choose Clear History. Holding the option key on your keyboard will allow you to clear history and keep website data, if that’s what you need.

Using Temp File Cleaner for Mac

OS X has its way with temporary files and runs timed scripts to remove them from your computer. That usually happens upon shutting the system down, which needs to be done at least once a month. In the meantime, you can take advantage of utility apps for Mac to empty storage and remove temp files.

Using cleaner apps on Mac also makes things safer in case you are not comfortable tinkering with the /private/ folder. The folder is not easily accessible for a reason and deleting files within the folder can directly impact how macOS operates. Applications like MacFly Pro ensure that only unnecessary files are deleted with no harm to the system.

Another benefit is the ability to remove caches and logs along with the temp files. Doing so with a single app not only frees up space on your Mac, but saves hours of your time.

To clear temp files in MacFly Pro select System in the Cleanup section and hit Scan. Give MacFly Pro a minute to scan your Mac, then you can review the files and choose the once you want to remove.

temporary files macfly pro

All things considered, OS X does a decent job at handling temporary files on its own. When temp files start stacking up and taking more space than they should, simply reboot your Mac or clean them up using MacFly Pro. Alternatively, you can always go through temporary directories yourself and remove the files manually.