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How to Clean Up Your Downloads, Music, and Movies Folders

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17 / 10 / 2017

How to Clean Up Your Downloads, Music, and Movies Folders

A few days ago we explained how to remove duplicate files from your Photos library, which tend to come out of nowhere and accumulate on your Mac. Our readers appreciated that article, so we feel you’ll be also interested in removing unnecessary clutter from other Mac folders. Here we’ll you show you how to remove useless files from your Movies, Music, and Downloads folders. Let’s get started!

Most macOS users don’t care about how many files are stored in their Downloads folder. By default, everything you download online goes to this folder, and if it’s not cleared regularly, your downloaded items pile up day after day. Sometimes, hundreds or even thousands of forgotten files can be found in the Downloads folder. Another cause of duplicate files is double-clicking an attachment of an email in the Mail app. Each time you double-click an attachment, a new copy is added to your Downloads folder. That’s how the accumulation process happens, so we recommend keeping the Downloads folder empty (Hint: go to your browser settings and change the download location).

How to clean up your Downloads folder

First, open your Downloads folder on the Finder’s left sidebar. If it’s not there, open Finder, click Go in the top menu bar, and select Downloads from the list. Start cleaning once the Downloads folder is opened.

  • Click the View menu and select As List

  • Сlick the Size button to see which files are taking up the most space;

  • Select all or certain files and move them to the Trash.

You can also sort the downloaded files by name, kind, or date added, but identifying the large ones first may be most convenient option.  

After following these easy steps, you may notice a boost in your Mac’s performance. Still, keep in mind that there are other methods to maintain your computer and avoid a duplicate files and folders mess. The next stop is the Music folder.

How to clean up your Music and Movies folders

Mac users often find their songs located in the iTunes music folder instead of their library.

  • Open iTunes > Preferences > Advanced and select a new location for your files;

  • Open File > Library > Organize Library and select Consolidate files.

This will copy only the music you see in the iTunes library to the new location. Next, delete the old iTunes music folder. Don’t worry, all the ratings, date added, play count, etc. will be saved.

There are other things (like iOS apps) that can bog down your iTunes. It may also display the Over Capacity message if you store all the music on your Mac instead of storing it in cloud as an Apple Music or iTunes Match subscriber. The good thing is macOS has a great built-in optimization tool. Open Spotlight and type Storage Management. You will see a list of possible actions:

Select Optimize Storage to save space by automatically removing watched movies and TV shows from iTunes.

Finally, another effective way to free up space on your Mac is to delete old and unnecessary music and movies. Open Finder > All My Files and select the media files you no longer need. Right-click them and click the Move to Trash option from the pop-up menu. Remember to empty the Trash on your Mac.

When you don’t feel like completely deleting a media file, you can compress or archive it. This way you’re saving space and leaving the file on your Mac. Follow these steps:

  • Select the large file or folder and right-click it;

  • Select Compress Items from the pop-up menu to create a zip file archive.

Now you know how to keep your Mac clean and powerful! Remove unneeded content with these simple steps and save precious space on your Mac.

Stay tuned for the latest blog updates!