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
58 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
58 months ago
Such a feature is laughable when you only are provided 5 GB of iCloud storage.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CaptOblivious Avatar
58 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
58 months ago
I don't want iCloud. I need a 3TB SSD.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MacsRgr8 Avatar
58 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
58 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

jon prosser imac 2021colors

Prosser: 2021 iMac to Come in Five Colors, Apple Silicon Mac Pro to Resemble 'Stacked' Mac Minis

Wednesday February 24, 2021 7:26 am PST by
Hit-and-miss leaker Jon Prosser has today alleged that the upcoming 2021 iMac models will offer five color options, mirroring the colors of the fourth-generation iPad Air, and revealed a number of additional details about the Mac Pro with Apple Silicon. In a new video on YouTube channel FrontPageTech, Prosser explained that the redesigned iMacs will come featuring options for Silver, Space ...
First Look Big Sur Feature2

Apple Releases macOS Big Sur 11.2.2 to Prevent MacBooks From Being Damaged by Third-Party Non-Compliant Docks

Thursday February 25, 2021 10:07 am PST by
Apple today released macOS Big Sur 11.2.2, the fourth update to the macOS Big Sur operating system that launched in November. macOS Big Sur 11.2.2 comes two weeks after the release of macOS Big Sur 11.2.1, a bug fix update. The new ‌‌‌‌macOS Big Sur‌‌‌ 11.2.2‌ update can be downloaded for free on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System Preferences....
microsoft edge ios android

Bill Gates Says His Preference for Android Over iPhone is Due to Pre-Installed Software

Friday February 26, 2021 3:35 am PST by
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates this week participated in his first meeting on Clubhouse, the increasingly popular invite-only conversation app, where he fielded a range of questions as part of an ongoing book tour. Gates was interviewed by journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin, and given that the Clubhouse app is currently only available on iOS, naturally one of the questions that came up was...
flat mbp 14 inch feature yellow

Redesigned 14-Inch MacBook Pro Expected to Feature Brighter Mini-LED Display With Slimmer Bezels and More

Thursday February 25, 2021 7:48 am PST by
Apple plans to unveil new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with Mini-LED-backlit displays in the second half of this year, according to industry sources cited by Taiwanese supply chain publication DigiTimes. The report claims that Radiant Opto-Electronics will be the exclusive supplier of the Mini-LED backlight units, while Quanta Computer is said to be tasked with final assembly of the...
m1 mac mini

M1 Mac Users Report Excessive SSD Wear

Tuesday February 23, 2021 7:07 am PST by
Over the past week, some M1 Mac users have been reporting alarming SSD health readings, suggesting that these devices are writing extraordinary amounts of data to their drives (via iMore). Across Twitter and the MacRumors forums, users are reporting that M1 Macs are experiencing extremely high drive writes over a short space of time. In what appear to be the most severe cases, M1 Macs are sai...
steam apple logo

Valve Ordered to Give Apple Information on 436 Steam Games As Part of Epic Games Legal Case

Thursday February 25, 2021 1:50 am PST by
Valve, the makers behind popular game distribution platform Steam, will be forced to hand over aggregate historical sales, price, and other information on 436 games hosted on the store to Apple, as part of the Apple vs. Epic Games antitrust case. As reported in a paywalled report by Law360, during a virtual discovery hearing on Wednesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas S. Hixson ordered that...
2021 mbp sd slot feature2

Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models With HDMI Port and SD Card Reader to Launch Later This Year

Monday February 22, 2021 8:52 pm PST by
Apple plans to release two new MacBook Pro models equipped with an HDMI port and SD card reader in the second half of 2021, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who outlined his expectations in a research note obtained by MacRumors. The return of an SD card reader was first reported by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman last month. "We predict that Apple's two new MacBook Pro models in 2H21 will have...
apple store macarthur center

Apple Store at MacArthur Center in Virginia Permanently Closing Following Years of Safety Issues at Shopping Mall

Thursday February 25, 2021 4:45 pm PST by
Apple today indicated that its retail store at the MacArthur Center shopping mall in Norfolk, Virginia will be permanently closing after over 14 years of business, although an exact closure date has yet to be announced by the company. Apple has assured that it will be offering all employees at the store other positions within Apple, and said that it looks forward to continuing to serve...
qualcomm snapdragon x60 5g

iPhone 13 Lineup Expected to Use Qualcomm's Snapdragon X60 Modem With Several 5G Improvements

Wednesday February 24, 2021 8:10 am PST by
Apple's next-generation iPhone 13 lineup will use Qualcomm's Snapdragon X60 5G modem, with Samsung to handle manufacturing of the chip, according to DigiTimes. Built on a 5nm process, the X60 packs higher power efficiency into a smaller footprint compared to the 7nm-based Snapdragon X55 modem used in iPhone 12 models, which could contribute to longer battery life. With the X60 modem, iPhone...
anker magsafe powercore battery pack

Anker Releases MagSafe-Compatible Battery Pack for iPhone 12 Lineup

Tuesday February 23, 2021 7:49 am PST by
Following rumors that Apple is working on a MagSafe battery pack for iPhone 12 models, popular accessory maker Anker has beaten Apple to the punch with the release of its PowerCore Magnetic 5K Wireless Power Bank. First previewed at CES 2021, the PowerCore battery pack magnetically attaches to the back of any iPhone 12 model and provides 5W of wireless charging. With a 5,000 mAh capacity,...