How to Manage Your Downloads on a Mac to Save Disk Space

More often than not, applications you use on a daily basis are not preinstalled on your Mac. These include specific applications, media files, and other documents. Therefore, users must source the instruments from the Apple Store or third-party platforms.

While these files and apps serve vital purposes, they often tend to have adverse effects on the storage space. People need to be careful to avoid clogging their Mac disk drives. This article will highlight how downloads affect your computer and provide individuals with practical steps on how to clear disk space on Mac.

How excessive downloads inflate storage space

The most common drawback of limited storage space is that people will be unable to store additional files on their MacBook. This drawback is self-explanatory and does not need further buttressing. Instead, we will examine how disk space impacts regular computer operations.

Memory shortage for caching

The term cache is very popular among internet users. They typically come across it from their web browsers. Surprisingly, very few people know what it means or how it works.

For those that do not know, a cache takes up storage to support certain processes. An essential attribute is that the data is hidden so that people cannot access it. The reason is that deleting it means telling your computer to forget these processes.

While the data may stay hidden, its effect on storage space does not. At the end of the day, it is still the disk space that will accommodate these temporary files.

Meanwhile, it is not just web browsers that utilize certain temporary processes for smooth operations. Caching applies to many applications like games, streaming platforms, and even system apps. As such, it is essential for your computer to have significant storage space at all times.

When people excessively download and store files on their Mac, they clog up available storage space. With limited memory on the drive, applications will not load as fast as they should. Considering that system apps also create cache files, even they will not function optimally.

This is why people often notice that their PCs become laggy and unresponsive when there is very little storage space left. It is because there is no available cache memory to support seamless operations.

Slow boot-up of Mac

Shutting down your Mac is similar to sleeping, and the computer “forgets” where different files are located on its drive. When you boot up your computer, it needs to remember where the different files and applications are stored. To achieve this aim, it scans the entire drive whenever it is turned on.

With your drive getting filled, it will take more time for your computer to scan the entire drive. This is why your computer screen may have come on, but the Mac is not responding to commands. It will get worse and lag even more if you try to launch an app while the scan is not complete.

Steps to manage your Mac disk space


People can still prevent many of the issues associated with a shortage of storage space. Below are some measures for efficiently managing Mac disk space:

Stream media files instead of downloading them

Media files (particularly movies) are the major culprits of chalking up storage space. New content is released on a regular basis, and people will almost never be able to get enough of them. Therefore, efforts to locally store these files will be futile.

HD movies are often in the range of 500 MB. Two movie movies, and you are down by 1 GB in storage space. More so, people who love movies will not keep just 2 movies on their PC.

Instead of outright downloading them, you can stream music and videos. Platforms like Netflix allow premium users to access content even when they are offline. This is a significant way to cut down on storage space.

Avoid installing unnecessary apps and choose efficient alternatives

While most people are so focused on media files, applications just gradually take up space. This is particular to individuals who are new to the macOS. Unlike Windows, Mac Apps are larger.

For example, Microsoft Office 365 App is a conglomerate of multiple applications and takes more than 4 GB of space. If your MacBook disk space is 256 GB, a significant storage capacity has been chopped off.

People can efficiently manage their disk space by installing efficient apps. Instead of Office 365, users can install an alternative that does not consume much space. In addition, they can choose to install only selected apps from the entire package to reduce the storage load.

Regularly delete obsolete downloads

More often than not, people tend to download digital items for specific purposes. The only problem is that people tend to keep these downloads after they have served their purpose.

A good example is downloading a newly released movie, watching it, and not deleting it afterward. There are also cases where people installed a particular app for a unique purpose that it has served but choose not to uninstall it. Individuals need to visit the “Downloads” folder and regularly clear out any obsolete files or apps.

Frequently clear out cache files

We earlier explained how Mac cache files work and stated that they are often hidden. However, the computer makes them available once the temporary process is complete.

People can visit specific apps to clear out the cache. They can also delete the cache generated by the macOS.


The disk space of a Mac is very important for seamless operations. As such, people need to optimize it to ensure that they can use their MacBook without experiencing lag. Using the tips outlined in this article is an excellent way to do so.