One day when you launch your Mac, you discover a message saying that “Your startup disk is almost full”. Why does the system produce this warning and what are possible consequences?
How to deal with the “Startup Disk Full” error
Let’s first clarify the meaning of startup disk. It is simply the hard drive that your OS contains. So when the pop-up appears usually that means the lack of space on that disk, which is an alarming news.
Why does your Mac complain about the full disk? What really happens when Mac disk full error occurs? And when do we have the disc full error on Mac devices? By generating the message about the startup disk full error, mac informs you about two things:
- Soon you may completely run out of disk space.
- A disk is full or almost full so its performance slows down
Actually, Mac devices constantly convert the available space on the startup disk into the virtual memory used for daily operations. Multiple programs create their backups forming a constant backup process Mac. The computer works fine as long as the free disk space is higher than 10% of total startup disk space. When less than 10% is left, the performance begins to slow down. And the lesser the free space, the poorer the performance.
Checking disk space on Mac device
To solve the problem, you should find out what occupies the space on your startup drive. Note that the following advice applies to most Mac devices, thus they may serve both as a MacBook guide or as a guide for desktop users.
For this to be done:
- Click the Apple Icon
- Select About This Mac
- Click Storage (or More Info > Storage on the older Macs)
Here you can see how much space is left and what’s taking up the disk space. If it appears that the machine is running out of free disk space, it’s high time to delete part of the stuff or buy a new hard drive.
If you are lucky, your disk is full of movies and photos, as well as audio files. Lucky because such files are easy to delete or move somewhere else (for instance to the external drive or to the cloud) so your device can work at full speed again.
And you are not so lucky if your startup drive is occupied with another kind of data, which is much more difficult to delete. However, you will cope with this problem too. For that purpose, we have a couple of hints for some important types of data that require special treatment.
The common thing about most data types that we will discuss is that they are products of your Mac’s routine operations. The point is that your machine constantly produces junk. Not because it intends to slow down its own performance, but because its functioning depends on the creation of different types of temporary files, caches, and backups. And all that stuff, after performing its role, remains on the hard disk taking up its valuable space. However, there is a good news about all those by-products: they are not so difficult to remove. Such a removal can be done either manually, that is, using the capability of the OS, or with the help of a specialized cleaner program, like, for example, the multi-purpose MacFly Pro. The latter option is more advanced but let us look at the types of junk, that you may want to delete.
Everybody likes iTunes, but iTunes themselves like to create backups. Because every time you update iTunes, a new update produces a backup of the whole iTunes library. Thus, in order to generate one file that you really need, iTunes produces lots of by-product stuff.
To delete this type of junk (i.e. the iTunes Backups), you have to do the following steps:
- Head along the path Finder > Go > Go to Folder
- Type in ~/Music/iTunes/Previous iTunes Libraries
- Sort files by date and delete them all less one or two of the most recent backups
Clean the Trash
Since the unneeded files eventually arrive in the Trash, why don’t we just take out Trash and press “empty”? Sometimes the most obvious and simple solution at the same time is the best one.
But, unfortunately, besides the general Trash, every app (the Mail app and others) has its own Trash folder. And to get rid of them we should empty them all. That step in the procedure of the disk clean-up will surely produce a considerable free space.
Deleting App Caches
Application cache files are special. They are created to speed up processes of their corresponding applications. And when those processes are over, cache files are no longer needed. They are not difficult to delete, just follow these steps:
- Finder > Go > Go to Folder
- Type in ~/Library/Caches
- Get into each folder (or only to those occupying the most space) and delete the files inside
- Do the same for /Library/Caches (without ~)
Deleting Browser Caches
The purpose of the browser caches is similar to those created by applications. The browser creates them every time it visits a new page to speed up the further visit. As during your surfing, you look through an enormous number of pages, so enormous is the number of browser caches.
Despite each browser’s peculiarities, to delete browser caches you may follow these general steps:
- Open the browser
- Open history tab and tap Clear browsing data
- Select files that you wish to remove: Cookies, Cached images and files and site data
- Select in the top menu how far back you wish to delete
- Press the clear button
Deleting the Language Packs
Usually, apps have their own language packs (often referred to as “localization files”) that allow the user to change the language in the application. The option itself is necessary, but actually, most people only need one or two languages supported. And the rest just take up space.
The following steps will guide to delete language packs:
- Head to Applications
- Right-click (or ctrl-click) on app and select Show Package Contents
- Click Contents
- Click Resources
- Delete the languages (ending in .Iproj) that you don’t need
- Repeat the procedure for other apps
The above five steps are helpful advice to free most of your hard drive and in so doing to fix the disk full error. Note again that it is even more convenient and definitely safer to use for that purpose specialized programs like the above-mentioned MacFly Pro.