Startup disk full? MacOS Sierra's Storage Management and optimization can save you


What to know about MacOS Sierra

MacOS Sierra 10.12 is here, and with it comes a bunch of new features like Siri support, a revamped Photos app and better syncing between your iPhone and your Mac. But arguably the most useful addition is Sierra's storage management system. It just saved me about 15GB of hard drive space.

"Your startup disk is almost full"

Don't be like me: Don't choose the 128GB storage option for your laptop. You'll run out of space immediately, and no matter how many times you purge your screenshots and delete unwanted apps, you'll constantly get that dreaded notification: "Your startup disk is almost full." 

Storage Management on MacOS Sierra

MacOS Sierra comes with a new tool called Storage Management. To pull it up, hit command-space on your keyboard and type in "Storage Management." It opens the System Information app, which scans your hard drive for items you're probably not using right now. It offers to store files and photos in iCloud, keeping recently open things accessible on your Mac. It can also empty trash automatically, which is helpful — you'll never need to remember to do it yourself.


Optimize Storage on MacOS Sierra

Here's the key feature: It takes movies, TV episodes and other iTunes downloads, then "removes" the stuff you're done with. Also, if your Mail app has gigabytes of photo-laden emails stored, Optimize Storage will keep recent attachments only.

Reduce Clutter on MacOS Sierra

One feature I haven't messed with is "reduce clutter," which spots old files and offers to delete them. I don't know when I'll need to humiliate my college friend with a video of him rapping terribly from 2007, so I'm probably better off just moving it to an external hard drive for now.

One last Storage Management tip

Storage Management can spot large files so you can delete them manually.


All in all, I saved about 15GB of hard-drive space — no more annoying alerts! There are another 18 gigs Sierra has deemed "purgeable," which means if I let it, it could clear it off my hard drive and I'd probably never notice.