macOS Sierra, available today, includes a built-in storage optimization feature that's designed to free up storage space on a Mac by storing rarely used files in iCloud, regularly emptying the trash, removing unnecessary files, and more.

It's a handy feature that can give you a good amount of additional storage space with a set of tools that you normally had to download a third-party storage optimization app to use. Here's how to take advantage of Sierra's Optimize Storage feature:

  1. Click on the Apple logo at the top of the menubar and select "About This Mac" from the list of options.
  2. Choose the "Storage" tab at the top to see an overview of how much storage you're using on your Mac.

    optimizestoragemanage

  3. Click on "Manage" to open up the optimization options.

When you open up Optimize Storage, there's a breakdown of where your files are stored and a list of recommended actions you can take to free up space, all of which is new.

appsizeoptimizestorage
File storage on the Mac is broken down into the following categories: Applications, Documents, GarageBand, iBooks, iCloud Drive, iOS Files, iTunes, Mail, Photos, and Trash. Files can be organized by date, size, and type, so it's easy to see what's taking up a lot of space. Clicking on any file in a list will let you open the folder it's located in on the Mac, so it can be deleted.

In the "Recommendations" section of the Optimize Storage feature, there are a list of actions Apple thinks you should take to preserve space. For me, these recommendations suggested storing my files in iCloud, optimizing photo sizes, keeping only recent email attachments and removing iTunes movies and shows I've watched, emptying the trash automatically, and reducing clutter by finding files that don't need to be stored on my Mac. Depending on your usage habits, recommendations may vary.

optimizestoragerecommendations
The "Store in iCloud" feature is linked to another new macOS Sierra function, which makes all documents stored on the desktop or in the Documents folder available across all devices. This can take up a lot of iCloud storage space (more than 50GB in my case) so it should be used with caution.

storeallfilesinicloud
"Optimize Storage" offers preferences for automatically removing watched iTunes movies and TV shows (they're still available via iCloud) and downloading only recent attachments in Mail, features Apple said would save me a few hundred megabytes of space.

"Reduce Clutter" is a review of all documents on the Mac sorted by size, while "Empty Trash Automatically" is self-explanatory. An unmentioned feature makes sure there's space for all documents stored in iCloud Drive before downloading them onto a Mac. If there's not, older files will be kept in iCloud, while only the most recent files will be stored on the Mac itself.

icloudoptions
A quick run through all of the storage optimization features netted me more than 40GB of space, but your mileage may vary based on how often you delete older files and empty the trash. It's fast, easy to use, and has some good storage saving tips that weren't previously available, so it's definitely worth checking out Optimize Storage after you install Sierra.

Top Rated Comments

Paradoxally Avatar
65 months ago
Such a feature is laughable when you only are provided 5 GB of iCloud storage.
It's a dollar a month for 10x that capacity. Don't be cheap.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kcamfork Avatar
65 months ago
Such a feature is laughable when you only are provided 5 GB of iCloud storage.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CaptOblivious Avatar
65 months ago
Such a feature is laughable when you only are provided 5 GB of iCloud storage.
*for free
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cube Avatar
65 months ago
I don't want iCloud. I need a 3TB SSD.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MacsRgr8 Avatar
65 months ago
Cool this.

But, can someone explain what this "Purgeable Storage" is...?
I understand what it means literally, but what does macOS Sierra believe is "Purgeable"?
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
8281 Avatar
65 months ago
It's a dollar a month for 10x that capacity. Don't be cheap.
Presumably this person owns an apple device, and is therefore not cheap.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

apple california streaming event

Apple Event Announced: 'California Streaming' on September 14 With iPhone 13, Apple Watch Series 7 Expected

Tuesday September 7, 2021 9:03 am PDT by
Apple today announced that it will be holding a special event on Tuesday, September 14 at 10:00 a.m. The event will take place at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. As with WWDC and last year's fall events, this new event will be held digitally with no members of the media invited to attend in person. Apple will likely provide pre-taped segments for...
Apple Prefer Lightning Over USB C Feature

iPhone Sticking With Lightning Port Over USB-C for 'Foreseeable Future'

Tuesday March 2, 2021 9:32 am PST by
Apple will retain the Lightning connector on the iPhone for the "foreseeable future," with no intention of switching to USB-C, according to reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In spite of much of the industry moving toward USB-C, Apple will not be using it to replace the Lightning connector on the iPhone 13, or indeed on any iPhone model for the time being. In a note seen by MacRumors yesterday,...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
original iphone

Phil Schiller Says iPhone Was 'Earth-Shattering' Ten Years Ago and Remains 'Unmatched' Today

Monday January 9, 2017 7:15 am PST by
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller sat down with tech journalist Steven Levy for a wide-ranging interview about the smartphone's past, present, and future. The report first reflects upon the iPhone's lack of support for third-party apps in its first year. The argument inside Apple was split between whether the iPhone should be a closed...
iOS 15 icon on phone

Apple Seeds Sixth Betas of iOS and iPadOS 15 to Developers

Tuesday August 17, 2021 10:05 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the sixth betas of iOS and iPadOS 15 to developers for testing purposes, with the updates coming one week after Apple released the fifth betas. Registered developers can download the profile for the iOS and iPadOS betas from the Apple Developer Center, and once the profile is installed, beta updates will be available over the air. iOS 15 is a major update that...
maroon5memories

Apple Collaborates With Maroon 5 to Add 'Memories' Song to Photos App

Wednesday September 25, 2019 12:02 pm PDT by
Apple has teamed up with Maroon 5 to add the group's new song "Memories" to the Memories feature in the Photos app, allowing it to be used for photo slide show creations, reports Billboard. "Memories" will be available as a soundtrack option for a limited time and it is available to iPhone and iPad users running the latest iOS 13 and iPadOS software. Memories in the Photos app are created ...
it home ecommerce app iphone 13

iPhone 13 to Launch on September 17, AirPods 3 on September 30, Claims Report

Wednesday August 25, 2021 2:42 am PDT by
Apple may be planning to launch the iPhone 13 on Friday, September 17 and third-generation AirPods on Thursday, September 30, according to an image of an e-commerce app discovered by Chinese language site IT Home. The screenshot, originally posted by Weibo account @PandaIsBald, suggests all four iPhone 13 models will go on sale on September 17, followed by the AirPods 3 on September 30....
MacBook Pro Coating

Apple Launches Quality Program for MacBook Pro Anti-Reflective Coating Issues

Saturday October 17, 2015 7:58 am PDT by
Apple has issued an internal notice about a new Quality Program that addresses anti-reflective coating issues on MacBook and MacBook Pro models with Retina displays, as confirmed by multiple sources. These issues include the anti-reflective coating on displays wearing off or delaminating under certain circumstances. Apple will replace Retina displays on affected MacBook or MacBook Pro models ...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Full iPhone 13 Feature Breakdown: Everything Rumors Say We Can Expect

Tuesday August 31, 2021 7:50 am PDT by
With the launch of Apple's iPhone 13 lineup believed to be just a few weeks away, we have compiled all of the coherent rumors from our coverage over the past year to build a full picture of the features and upgrades coming to the company's new smartphones. For clarity, only explicit improvements, upgrades, and new features compared to the iPhone 12 lineup are listed. It is worth noting that...
iphone 12 colors 2021

iPhone 12 Colors: Deciding on The Right Color

Thursday November 5, 2020 8:35 am PST by
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro arrived in October 2020 in a range of color options, with entirely new hues available on both devices, as well as some popular classics. The 12 and 12 Pro have different color choices, so if you have your heart set on a particular shade, you might not be able to get your preferred model in that color. iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 The iPhone 12 mini and iPhone...