You know the feeling when you go to take a picture on your phone, and a message pops up saying you don’t have any free space to store it? We sure do, and we don’t like it!
Running out of storage is aggravating whether it’s your phone, tablet, or computer. On your phone or tablet, it’s easy to remove data to clear space. But on a computer, it may seem more complicated.
So once and for all, we’ll discuss how to free up storage on your computer. This way, you’ll never have this problem again. Continue reading to learn about freeing up computer storage space.
How to Free Up Storage on a Mac
To free up storage space on your Mac, you need to identify how much space is still available. If you have macOS Venture or later, follow these steps to check storage usage:
- Apple Menu
- System Settings
- All Volumes
You can hover your mouse over a color to see how much space each category uses. The light grey area shows free storage space.
If you’re using an earlier macOS version, like Monterey, Big Sur, or Catalina, you can click on the Apple menu in the top left corner and select About This Mac. Next, click Storage, then Manage, and you will see how much storage space is in use and how much is free.
Are you still having trouble identifying how much storage space you’re using? Learn how to check MacBook storage using this in-depth guide.
Once you know much space is in use, you can optimize the available storage space.
Optimize Storage Space
For Apple users, one of the best ways to optimize storage space is by using iCloud. You can set up iCloud to automatically make more space available on your computer when you need it. When storing something in iCloud, you can remove it from your Mac’s hard drive.
Apple offers 5GB of iCloud storage to all users for free. Additional storage begins at $0.99 a month for 50GB.
However, you don’t have to use iCloud if you prefer not to. You can also use an external hard drive. Connect the device to your Mac, and move files to the device. Then you can delete them from your Mac’s internal hard drive.
Of course, you can also remove files you no longer need. For instance, you can:
- Delete media you’re not using, such as music, movies, and podcasts
- Erase Junk Mail in the Mail app
- Identify and remove shared files
- Remove users if there are multiple users not in use
- Uninstall apps you no longer use
When you’re finished, empty the Trash in the lower right corner to permanently delete all the files you’ve removed.
How to Free Up Storage on a PC
The process to free up PC storage differs slightly from its Mac counterpart. This is because the Recycle Bin operates differently on a PC than the Trash on a Mac.
As with Apple’s Trash, when you delete files on a PC, they don’t automatically delete. Instead, they are marked for deletion and go into the Recycle Bin. This way, if you need to restore any files you’ve mistakenly deleted, you can do so.
However, Windows 10 allocates 10% of your disk space for deleted files. This can quickly add up and use precious storage better suited for more important files.
To empty the Recycle Bin, search for Recycle Bin. Then click Empty Recycle Bin on the Recycle Bin Tools tab. This is one of the fastest ways to free up space on a PC.
If you still need more space, check to see how much storage is in use. To do this, follow these steps:
You can see the space being used and how much is free. If you click Show More Categories, you can get deeper insights into what is using space. To remove files, click Cleanup Recommendations.
You can select files you want to remove, such as:
- Files already in the cloud
- Temporary files
- Unused apps
- Unused files
After selecting all the files, click Clean Up.
While you can manually delete files on your PC, you can also use Storage Sense. Storage Sense automatically deletes unnecessary files. If you follow the steps above, you will see the toggle that turns on Storage Sense.
As with Apple users, PC users can also put files on an external hard drive to free up internal space.
What Is Taking Up So Much Space?
If you constantly need to free up storage on your computer, you’re probably wondering why you’re always short on space, to begin with. Common culprits include:
- Multiple users
- Photos and videos
- Temporary files
You can check how much space each app takes to see which ones to remove. On a PC, follow these steps:
- Apps & Features
Then, filter by size using Sort By to see which apps use the most space.
For Apple users, follow the directions above. Then, when you click Manage, you can see how much space each app uses.
If there are apps you aren’t using that are taking up a lot of space, uninstall and remove them. For example, games tend to be data-heavy, so these are easy apps to remove to create more storage availability.
Multiple users can use a significant amount of space. This is because each user stores their own files. Thus, removing a user who no longer uses the computer is a great way to free up storage space.
Photos and videos can also take up a lot of space. It’s best to store these files elsewhere, in the cloud or on an external hard drive, to free up your computer storage.
Get More Storage
Following these steps makes it quick and easy to free up storage space on your Mac or PC. Set aside an hour to go through the files and applications on your computer so you can delete what you’re no longer using and store essential files elsewhere. You will be happy you did so when you see how much space you’ve freed up.
If you enjoyed this computer storage guide and want to learn more about computer storage or other related content, check out the Tech section above.