How to Use Apple’s Optimized Storage

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Your Built-in Mac Optimized Storage is a Great Tool to Know About

Find Optimized Storage

  • Go to the Apple () menu
  • Select About This Mac
  • Select the Storage tab

Here we find a high level view of your used and free storage space; and your Mac breaks out used space by category (files, apps, documents, and photos, etc.).

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When you choose the Manage button Apple gives you options for improving your storage. Note: Apple has a heavy preference for “Store in iCloud.” However, iCloud is only free for a very small amount of storage. You will otherwise have to pay and it is not the cheapest storage option on the block.

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Paid iCloud storage starts at 50GB for $0.99 (USD) a month. Most users need much more than that if they have storage issues on their hard drive.

Optimize Apple-Related Storage

If you choose the Optimize button, your Mac will recommend some of the following tasks:

  • Automatically remove watched iTunes movies and TV shows. This frees up a lot of space if you have many shows or movies on your har drive.
  • Download only recent attachments. This prevents huge mail files (such as PDFs and videos) from living on your hard drive—often without you even realizing it!

Managing your Apple-related storage is something that you can do easily without committing to iCloud plans.

If You Need More Powerful Cleaning Tools…

clean up mac

I use Clean My Mac 3 to do a high level cleanup of my machine. I installed the free trial version and ran that within minutes of download.

A basic Clean My Mac 3 scan runs through the following items: system junk, photo junk, mail attachments, iTunes junk, and trash bins. It cleans up each of these areas creating more space on your hard drive and speeding up your Mac. It also identifies files on your hard drive that are particularly large and/or old, allowing you to make cleaning decisions on these individual items.

My first scan with Clean My Mac 3 cleared up over 10 GB of space. It also identified nearly 12 GB of large and old files for me to review. And at its conclusion, it succinctly reported its actions, without asking me to investigate complex technical issues like my PC software had done back in the day.

clean up mac

Second, I ran a free trial version of Gemini 2. This program identifies files that are duplicates, or nearly duplicates, and helps you make decisions about eliminating them.

After downloading Gemini 2, you are directed to a simple screen prompting you to select a folder for review. You may drag and drop or click and select any folder on your hard drive, or any folder currently running via external hard drive or cloud drive. Once you select a folder, Gemini 2 will review the folder structure and then begin a scan — searching for files that are either identical or very similar.

All of my scans completed quickly, in about 30 to 90 seconds. Gemini 2 then let me know it had automatically identified duplicate files or folders. I was able to select Smart Cleanup or Review Results. I always chose to Review Results, in order to get a better idea of how the program worked and to ensure my files truly were duplicate

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About the Author
Kylie Larson is a content wrangler, helping both small businesses and large organizations get their message up and out. When she's not writing and organizing online, you'll find her walking the dog, with a camera in hand, riding the Chicago blue line, and in the midst of a home renovation project that never ends. Connect with her at

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