Your Mac is a powerful Apple machine with all the latest features. However, if you are an old Mac user, you might recently have faced a system storage issue.

According to Apple’s guide, your Mac system storage can vary from 5 – to 15 GB, depending on your model. Therefore, you have to check the system storage specs before buying a Mac.

If your Mac’s system storage is getting chock-full, you have to take quick action. Else, your Mac might start misbehaving.

So, this guide will provide you with simple methods to clear system storage on Mac.

How Do You Clear System Storage on a Mac?

There are multiple ways you can clear system storage on Mac. We’ll guide you step by step in each method. But there is something more before clearing the system storage.

Before we delve into the methods, let’s learn how to check system storage on your Mac.

Check System Storage

Assume you are using your Mac just like any other day. Suddenly, you see a message notifying you that your Mac’s system storage is almost full. You also get shocked by that message because seriously no idea what’s gone wrong.

Does that problem sound familiar? If you are not a tech geek, you might have to begin by checking the system storage.

Just follow these steps on your Mac:

  1. Click on the Apple logo.
  2. Go to About this Mac.
  3. Now click the Storage tab.
  4. Click on the Manage button.

After clicking the Manage button, you might have to wait a few seconds till your Mac calculates the overall storage space. Then you will see the System category with other storage categories as well.

Plus, Mac experts recommend checking the storage status of your Mac regularly.

What is Included in the System Category?

Besides, Apple doesn’t provide what’s included in the System category. However, some Apple tech-freaks provided a list of the following system files present in the System category.

  • Time Machine backups
  • Cache files
  • File Vault files
  • Old iOS backups
  • Unused disk images

After checking how much space, your Mac’s system storage has, let’s continue on how to reduce that storage.

How Do I Clear or Reduce System Storage on Mac?

The first method is the easiest one. It uses the utility software CleanMyMac X that cleans the Mac computers. Moreover, this means that manually finding those files is a bit complex. Therefore, follow these steps to automatically clear system storage:

  1. Open CleanMyMac X on your Mac.
  2. Go to the System Junk option.
  3. Click on the Scan button. The software will scan all the files saved on your Mac. This might include system cache files, backup files, and other duplicate files taking much of your Mac’s system storage.
  4. If you want to see a detailed report of the junk files on your Mac, click the Review Details button.
  5. Now you will see the categorical coverage of your system storage.
  6. Once you are done checking, press the Remove button to start the storage cleaning process. You will see the “Cleanup Complete” message at the end of the process.

Improve Storage Space by Using CleanMyMac X

While using this utility software, you can also create a virtual map of your Mac storage space.

How? You can optimize the storage of your Mac by using the Space Lens module. It will be easy for you to find and delete unnecessary system files.

As you have seen, how easy it is to clear system storage on your Mac. Plus, you can also optimize storage on your Mac using this software. However, some Mac users still recommend following the manual process.


Why it’s Better to Manually Clean Mac’s Internal Disk Space?

It’s because some of the third-party apps have reliability issues. Those apps will undoubtedly clear the unwanted system files, including iOS backups from your Mac. But, the risk factor is significant regarding data and information theft, security breach, and other confidential operating-system configurations.

Therefore, let’s move to the second method of manually deleting the system cache and log.

Manually Clear Cache & Log Files

First, let’s know what cache files are and what importance they have.

Cache Files

These are the temporary files saved by your Mac to use in the future. Moreover, the cache files improve the performance of your system when you run a program. Your Mac, any computer or smartphone, has a special kind of dedicated storage space to save cache.

Of course, you can delete these files. But to do that, you have to find where they are located on your Mac manually.

Log Files

A log is maintained whenever an event occurs on your system, say a transaction. So all the activities happening on your Mac on the system or application level are saved in these files in the form of logs.

As you have seen, both cache and log are unnecessary files eating up your Mac system storage. Therefore, it’s to your benefit to delete these files as quickly as possible.

Follow these steps to delete log and cache, and files manually:

  1. First, click the Go tab on the menu bar.
  2. From the drop-down list, click on Go to folder.
  3. Type: ~/Library/Caches in the text box and press the Go button. A window will appear having Mac’s caches folder.
  4. Go to each sub-folder and press CMD+I to check the details of each. You can also switch to List view from the Finder window.
  5. Select all files and right-click to open additional commands.
  6. Select Move to Bin to delete cache files.
  7. To delete the log system files, repeat the same process. For example, the command would be ~/Library/Logs.

The manual process also seems easy to execute. But that’s not the case.

What to Do if I Accidentally Remove any Important Files?

You have to stay vigilant while deleting the unwanted files from the System category. If you accidentally remove an important file, don’t worry.

Since you sent the temporary files to Bin, you can still restore them.

How to Restore Deleted Mac System Files or Folders?

Follow these steps to recover accidentally deleted system files:

  1. Open the Trash Bin.
  2. Find and select the required deleted file or folder.
  3. Right-click and select the Put-Back option to restore files and folders you accidentally deleted.

After manually deleting the unnecessary cache and log from your Mac, let’s move to the second method to clear system storage.

Manually Delete Time Machine Backups

The Time Machine backups cover the most significant portion of the Mac storage space if you don’t know. However, these backups are supposed to be deleted automatically by the Mac operating system. This happens when your system detects that your Mac is running low on disk space.

But sometimes, a couple of internal features might work abnormally. Therefore, you are left with only one option: manually remove time machine backups.

Let’s learn how to reduce system storage on your Mac by deleting the backup files created by Time Machine.

Note: This process will delete the local copies of the Time Machine backups. If you think that you might need them shortly, it’s recommended not to delete these backup files.

Steps to Delete Time Machine Backups

  1. On the menu bar, click the Go tab.
  2. Select Utilities.
  3. Now launch Terminal.
  4. Type or paste this command in the Terminal: tmutil listlocalsnapshotdates and press Return. The Terminal screen will show a list of stored Time Machine backups saved by date on your Mac.
  5. Now, type or paste this command: tmutil deletelocalsnapshots XXXX. The XXXX represents the date of the Time Machine snapshots you want to remove.
  6. Type the date of the snapshot you want to remove, followed by the text string.
  7. Now, remove the Time Machine snapshots as per your requirement.

No doubt, this method is a tiring one. You have to repeat the process for as many backups you want to delete from Time Machine.

After deleting the Time Machine snapshots, recheck your Mac storage. This time, you might see a significant difference in the figures of the disk space. When you delete system storage, always focus on the Time Machine backup.

However, once you delete a Time Machine backup, you won’t get it back. Therefore, this method is considered the last option to save Mac storage from collapsing.

Trim Time Machine Snapshots

It’s an alternate method if you want to keep all backups created by Time Machine. However, you can’t do that manually.

That’s why you have to use the CleanMyMac X utility software again.

  1. Launch the software.
  2. On the left panel, go to the Maintenance tab. You will find multiple options with check-boxes for each.
  3. Check the Time Machine Snapshots Thinning option.
  4. Click on the Run button.

Guess what?

The size of Time Machine snapshots has been reduced without getting deleted. Therefore, you have more disk space than before without losing any backup.

Now, recheck the Mac system storage.

  1. Go to the Apple menu.
  2. Click on About this Mac.
  3. Click on the Storage tab.
  4. See the change yourself.

Of course, you will have too much disk space after clearing system data.

If you want to go for other methods, check for old iTunes library backups.

The iTunes library associated with your Apple account has its backup storage. However, if you don’t clean up your Mac regularly, the old iTunes backups will stash on your Mac’s storage.


It’s better to go for the manual method if you want to delete system storage on Mac safely. Moreover, you have the complete authority to delete the files from the storage.

On the other hand, a Mac storage cleaning tool might delete essential files without letting you know. This will lead you to a bigger problem.

Therefore, the above methods are easy to implement, and you can create more space for Mac on your own.