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Old 05-08-2021, 06:24 PM   #1
OtinG
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My Mojave macOS storage space seems way too big

While testing out various external storage drives on my MacBook Pro 2014, I noticed that my system says Mojave is taking up 115GB of my 256GB internal SSD. That seems way too high. I looked up Big Sur and Apple states, “If upgrading from macOS Sierra or later, macOS Big Sur requires 35.5GB of available storage to upgrade.” But I’m not sure how much it actually take up after installation.

I don’t remember which macOS version was on my MacBook Pro when I bought it in 2014, probably Mavericks, but I know I’ve updated it at least once.

Until recently, I had no trouble keeping at least 100GB of my SSD freed up. If I keep at least 100GB freed up, processing goes a lot faster. It slows down when I get below 100GB. Currently I’m having trouble keeping it at 84GB free, and that is after I moved a bunch of data to a new external SSD drive I bought. I’m not sure when I went from greater than 100GB free to only 84GB, but it was fairly recent. There have been a couple new updates lately, and the last one pretty much toasted Safari. It now takes forever for Safari to even open.

If anyone here is running Mojave, or even a newer version, please check to see how much space it takes up. I guess macOS can get bloated after 6+ years and many updates, but 115GB seems way more than it should take even when bloated.

BTW, I checked the amount by Opening the Apple menu, selecting About This Mac, then clicking the Storage tab in the toolbar to see how much disk space I have available. Finally I held the mouse cursor over the greyed portion and it showed 115GB for the macOS.
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Old 05-08-2021, 07:19 PM   #2
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My MBP running Big Sur (upgraded from Catalina and Mojave) reports System as about 16GB.

I'm pretty sure it calculates that amount from stuff in "~/Library" too which can get filled with stuff from 3rd party applications, in particular the caches folder.
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Old 05-08-2021, 07:32 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salamanderjuice View Post
My MBP running Big Sur (upgraded from Catalina and Mojave) reports System as about 16GB.

I'm pretty sure it calculates that amount from stuff in "~/Library" too which can get filled with stuff from 3rd party applications, in particular the caches folder.
Yep that sounds much closer to what I would expect, somewhere between 15GB and 35GB. I don’t think I’ve installed any apps lately, but I’ll check the cache anyway. There might be some duplicate files too.
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Old 05-09-2021, 10:59 AM   #4
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Did a lot of research and saw where Adobe caches can total up to tens of GBs in size. So I went into Library and did as recommended.

To Clear Adobe Caches:
  1. Library>Application Support>Adobe>Common>Media Cache (Delete everything in this folder)
  2. Library>Application Support>Adobe>Common>Media Cache Files (Delete everything in this folder)

Saw a few Youtube videos where people did this and they cleared out 20+GB of caches. I did it, deleted over 11,000 cache files, but saw less than 1 GB difference.

This is really frustrating. I thought for sure that Adobe, the king od bloat, would have been the issue.

I ran the free version of CleanMyMac X and it identified over 20 GB of caches to delete in Adobe's CreativeCloud, but I didn't want to pay them $39 to do so. So I'll keep searching for the culprit...

-------------------------------------

ETA: According to the rescan by CleanMyMac X, the two main culprits are:
  • 9.17 GB Adobe Camera Raw 2
  • 5.78 GB Adobe Camera Raw
  • 2.09 GB Google Earth

But that still doesn't explain why my system is at 124.68 GB. Even if I paid CleanMyMac X to delete the 20.25 GB of caches it found, System would still be over 100 GB!

Last edited by OtinG; 05-09-2021 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 05-09-2021, 12:57 PM   #5
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Well, slowly making progress. As seen in the pre and post cleanup images attached, I've managed to reduce the System by about 10 GB and the over all used space by about 30 GB. So I'm now back down to where it used to be at around 115 GB available. I had to do a lot of cache deleting, mostly with Adobe CreativeCloud, and I moved several cache and backup folders to the Samsung T5 2 TB external SSD drive that always stays connected to my MacBook Pro.

Steps Taken So Far
  • Deleted Adobe Media Cache and Adobe Media Cache Files folders in Library
  • Purged Adobe Lightroom cache via the Lightroom app
  • Purged Adobe Camera Raw cache via the Adobe Camera Raw app
  • Purged Adobe Photoshop cache via the Photoshop app
  • Moved Lightroom cache folder to external Samsung T5 2TB SSD drive
  • Moved Lightroom backup folder to external Samsung T5 2TB SSD drive
  • Moved Adobe Camera Raw cache folder to external Samsung T5 2TB SSD drive
  • Moved Photoshop scratch disk folder to external Samsung T5 2TB SSD drive

There is still way too much bloat in System though, so I’m going to keep looking for it and purge it as much as possible. BTW, the CleanMyMac X app scan shows tat I cleaned up almost all the cache bloat it found, and a lot of the other bloat as well. I'm glad I didn't pay to use it as I managed to do almost as much as it would have, and for free. I think I probably have a lot of bloat from apps that were installed by other apps and apps I don't even use. Back to the hunt...

....
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Last edited by OtinG; 05-09-2021 at 01:02 PM.
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Old 05-09-2021, 03:40 PM   #6
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OmniDiskSweeper can give you an idea where big files are. It doesn't support files that are compressed by APFS correctly yet so totals may not be 100% with what other tools report. The Application Support folder in "~/Library" can be big too but may be stuff you actually need although sometimes programs don't clean up very well after themselves after being uninstalled. Obviously don't delete stuff you're unsure of!

EDIT: Catalina also changed the definition of what's in System to just core System files and puts the rest in an "Other" category. Do they give an easy way to clean "Other"? No. Sigh.

Last edited by salamanderjuice; 05-09-2021 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 05-09-2021, 04:48 PM   #7
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CleanMyMac X also shows the bigger files, but since I do a lot of photography and graphics, it showed mostly photoshop files, which I don't want to delete. So finding the bigger files wasn't much of a help. Finding all the garbage caches would be.

The more I look at Mojave and High Sierra, the more I think my System in both are so big because Apple lumped way more stuff into them back then. My System on my Mac mini has over 100 GB too. The more modern macOS versions, as you said, have moved a lot of stuff out of System into Other and perhaps more locations too.
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Old 05-09-2021, 05:03 PM   #8
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OmniDiskSweeper doesn't just show bigger files. It starts at root and shows what's the biggest folder at each directory level and you can keep following the path of what's using storage even if it's a folder of 10,000 1MB images that just sorting files by size wouldn't show. It also shows hidden files. It's also free.
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Old 05-09-2021, 05:14 PM   #9
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I think I’ve got my MacBook Pro internal drive back down to a manageable point now, so I’m not going to dig much deeper into deleting the bloat for now.

I moved the Adobe bloat over to my external SSD drive where it has plenty of room to bloat even more! I also moved most of my recent photo and video files to the external SSD. Most of my photos are archived on backup drives already. I only keep a select few on my MacBook Pro. I also keep the last few projects and current project on it.

At any rate, everything seems to be running fine and back up to normal speed. Plus I’ve got plenty of room to add more files when necessary.
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