How to Clean Up Startup Disk and Why It Is Important

Storage capacity on MacBooks is probably the most underwhelming part of the machine, especially in base models. Owning a 128GB drive computer should really come with a space management 101 as, to be honest, it fills up much quicker than you would expect. Alright, you got it, the drive fills up in a blink of an eye, but what’s so bad about it?

Apple has included the ‘disk is almost full’ warning for a reason, as Mac OS does require free disk space to operate. In fact, you are better off keeping at least 15% of the disk capacity available at all times if you don’t want to start experiencing occasional hick-ups and errors. It should come as no surprise, that pushing your drive’s limits is not advisable, but if you already did cross the line and things have gone south with your MacBook – there is still a way out. Let’s start with the basics.

How to Remove Files from Startup Disk on Mac and Make More Memory Available Quickly

The easiest, fastest, and most obvious action that takes no additional utility, and can be done on your own – emptying the Trash bin. You can skip this one if you are keeping your bin empty on regular basis, however, for an average user, the process of removing a file is usually concluded after it was dragged to Trash. If you are one of those users – stick around.

Empty Trash Bin

Unsurprisingly, files that are sitting in the Trash may still take actual kilobytes, megabytes, and – what we are looking for – gigabytes of potentially free space on your drive until fully removed.

Open up Trash to take one last look at the deleted files. Make sure you didn’t have a change of heart and you don’t want any of them recovered. Once feeling confident that you will not need any of the trashed files, Control-click the Trash icon on your dock and choose Empty Trash. The files will be gone for good and you will now have additional free space at hand.

Clear Downloads

Need more free space? Revisit your Downloads folder. Really, just do it. The number of files stored in there is often largely underestimated. Navigate to Downloads and sort all files by Date, choose Last Opened, Added, Modified, or Created – whichever works best for you – and get to cleaning. Changing the items display mode to list also helps seeing the actual dates and sizes, so do that too. On a side note, if you are using Apple Mail, you can also clean Mail Downloads folder, which often takes a significant amount of space.

clear downloads on mac

Be relentless. Wipe the items that you know you won’t need, as otherwise, your Mac will eventually resemble a library housing archives of antique files. Unless that is what you are going for, of course. Regardless, it is not the best use of a Mac – get an external drive instead.

Clearing Trash and Downloads should grant you some free space. It’s good for starters, but you should not stop there. If you are looking to get this over with quickly, then install MacFly Pro, start your free trial and read on.

Bonus tip: You can run Mac’s built-in Storage management utility to get an overview of what takes the most space on your Mac. To open the utility, go to Apple Menu > About This Mac > Storage

mac flash storage

Clear Startup Disk Using MacFly Pro

First off, you are obviously not obligated to use MacFly Pro. There are apps out there – and some are even free – that know how to delete files on startup disk. Mac has some options going for it. However, MacFly Pro was engineered by people who have a soft spot for everything Apple, with the intention of taking fast and simple Mac cleaning to a whole new level. It is a pro tool that comes with a free trial. Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, let’s get to the big-boy disk cleaning.

  1. Startup MacFly Pro
  2. Select System and hit Scan
  3. Wait for the scan to complete and hit Clean Now
  4. Repeat the same steps for Leftovers
remove system files

After dealing with leftover and system files, move to Manager tab to free up some more space.

  1. Select Duplicates and hit Scan
  2. Choose your Home folder and Start Scanning
  3. Wait until MacFly Pro is done scanning to Review files
  4. Select the duplicate files you want to remove and hit Clean
remove duplicates mac

Bonus tip: If you want to take it 1 step further, you can also safely uninstall rarely used Apps using MacFly Pro

A deep system cleanup of this kind will allow for substantial bump up in free space on your startup disk. Moreover, MacFly Pro comes with an Smart Assistant, that will monitor your Mac after you are done cleaning to make sure all your systems are buzzing. What’s not to love?