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What is Startup Disk Full on Mac OS?

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18 / 09 / 2017

What is Startup Disk Full on Mac OS?

No matter how much you treasure your Mac and treat it like gold, one day the “Startup disk is almost full” message may appear. No worries, you’re not alone. The lack of hard drive space is often a result of neglecting basic storage management. Today, we’ll show you how to free up precious disk space on your Mac, saving the cost of a new storage drive.

When there’s little storage space left, Mac users can choose one of two options. They can either manually remove unwanted data or run some third-party apps for hard drive cleanup. But first, it is recommended to check how much space is available on your Mac. You’ll need to:

  1. Open Finder and click the Go menu at the top of your taskbar.

  2. Choose Computer from the drop-down menu.

  1. Single click your hard drive icon (usually named Macintosh HD).

  2. Use the Command + I combination to display your startup drive info.

Now you can see your hard drive’s total capacity and the used and available disk space. If the latter is less than 50 GB, it’s high time you use one of these easy ways to free up space.

Empty Your Trash

Sounds obvious enough, but many users forget to remove useless files stored in the trash bin. To do that, open Finder, click the Finder menu at the top of your taskbar, and click Empty Trash. You can also hold the Control button and click the Trash icon. Then select the Empty Trash option.

This easy method may recover precious megabytes or even gigabytes of free space (depending on how often you empty your Trash folder).

Clear the Downloads Folder

Sometimes even experienced users neglect removing downloaded apps and files left in the Downloads folder. It’s quite easy to drag the downloaded files you no longer need to the Trash bin and empty it. Clearing the Downloads folder also recovers free space on your hard drive.

Uninstall Applications You No Longer Use

If you no longer need an application, then open the Applications folder and drag the application’s icon to the trash. However, drag-and-drop trashing doesn’t remove all of the application’s components from your system. The deleted application’s logs and preferences are still stored in the Library folder. Also, some apps leave system files behind, taking up a lot of space on your hard drive. So we recommend trying MacKeeper’s easy Smart Uninstaller feature to remove leftover application files.

Remove Cache Files

Temporary Internet Files, or cache, are temporary system files aimed at speeding up certain application tasks. Problems begin when these files build up, hogging large amounts of space. It is safe to remove them, and it can also free up extra space on your hard drive.

If you are experienced enough, clearing cache manually shouldn’t be a big deal. Navigate to Finder and hold down the Option (Alt) key. Click the Go menu at the top of your taskbar to see the hidden Library folder. Open it and look for a Caches folder. You can choose which folder or folders to clear.

Note: Usually, deleting cache files should not cause any issues. To make sure, try to move the cache file folder to your desktop. Relaunch the application and see if any issue occurs. If no error messages appear, feel free to completely remove this file.  

MacKeeper’s Fast Cleanup does exactly the same, saving your time and energy. Which would you choose, removing files manually or using the Fast Cleanup tool?

Duplicate Files

Every user may have duplicate files on the hard drive. Copies of the same documents, images, or media files may take up gigabytes of precious space, causing headaches for the user. Sure, one can manually search and remove these files, but it’s time-consuming. If you value your time, try MacKeeper’s handy Duplicate Finder tool.

Note:  It is recommended to check the list of duplicates twice before removing files. In some cases you may need two copies of important documents or files.

More Tips For MacOS Sierra Users

Fortunately, Apple introduced a few extremely useful features with the macOS Sierra release. To open them, click the Finder icon and use Command + Comma key combination.

Let’s take a look at the new window. Click on the gear-like icon and check the list of available options. You’ll need to checkmark the Remove items from the Trash after 30 days field.

Optimizing storage space is a piece of cake for macOS Sierra users. Click the Apple logo and choose the About this Mac option. Then hit the Storage tab and press Manage. Your Mac will scan the startup drive and offer four solutions:

  1. Store all files and photos in iCloud and keep only recently opened files and photos on this Mac when storage space is needed.

  2. Automatically remove iTunes movies and TV shows you’ve already watched.

  3. Empty Trash automatically (we’ve already selected this option in Finder’s preferences)

  4. Reduce clutter by sorting through documents and content stored on your Mac.


All the tips mentioned should help to free up space on your hard drive and get rid of annoying “Startup disk is almost full” messages. Do you know other workarounds?  Feel free to share them in the comment section!