icloud drive icon iosIn macOS, Apple includes a feature that can optimize the storage on your Mac by reducing the amount of space that data takes up on your Mac's internal drive. It does this by offloading certain files, data, and documents to iCloud and iCloud Drive when space on your Mac is running low.

If you have a lot of ‌iCloud‌ storage space and a high-speed internet connection, Optimize Mac Storage is a convenient way to recoup space on your Mac's system drive. If you're running low on ‌iCloud‌ storage or your internet connection is poor, however, then having it enabled can invite performance slowdowns and lead to a poor user experience.

Fortunately, Optimize Mac Storage is an entirely optional feature, and you can enable or disable it to fit your personal needs. The steps below show you how it's done.

  1. Apple symbol () in the far-left corner of the menu bar at the top of the screen, then click System Preferences....
    sys prefs

  2. Click the Apple ID preference pane.
    sys prefs

  3. Select iCloud in the sidebar, then click the checkbox next to Optimize Mac Storage at the bottom of the window to enable/disable it.
    1optimize mac storage 2

Note that disabling Optimize Mac Storage may force your Mac to download data from ‌iCloud‌, which could take a while. Similarly, enabling the feature will require your Mac to upload data to the cloud to free up storage on your Mac, which may take some time, depending on the amount of data and your internet speed.

Related Stories

Instagram Feature 2

How to Hide Like and View Counts on Instagram Posts

Wednesday May 26, 2021 8:05 am PDT by
Instagram has added new options on the platform that allow users to hide the number of like and view counts of other people's posts, as well as the same counts on their own posts. The new options have been introduced to "depressurize people's experience" on the platform, the Facebook-owned social media company said. Instagram has been testing out the options in several countries since 2019,...
big sur battery feature blue

How to Check Your Mac's Battery Cycles

Wednesday May 12, 2021 9:22 am PDT by
Apple's latest MacBooks offer some of the most impressive battery life seen on any notebook, with the company's adoption of Apple silicon taking power efficiency to a whole new level. But like all rechargeable batteries, the actual lifespan of a battery is dictated by the number of charge cycles it's been through. Keep reading to learn how to check the battery cycle count on your MacBook. ...
apple card 1

How to Share Your Apple Card With Family

Tuesday May 25, 2021 4:48 pm PDT by
‌Apple Card‌ Family allows families and friends to share a single ‌Apple Card‌ with users above 13 years old, and includes the ability to set a spending limit. The process for sharing an ‌Apple Card‌ with a friend or teenager is enabled on iPhones running iOS 14.6 or later and requires that you are in the same iCloud Family as the person you wish to share the card with. The...
photos icon

How to Optimize Photos to Take Up Less Storage Space on iPhone and iPad

Tuesday March 30, 2021 9:10 am PDT by
The photos that you keep on your iPhone or iPad naturally take up storage space on your device, which can fill up quickly depending on the available storage capacity and how much content you have. If you see a message that your device's storage is full, it's worth checking out a system option called Optimize Storage, which is designed to work with iCloud Photos. This feature replaces...
m1 mac family

How to Record Your Mac's Screen

Tuesday May 18, 2021 3:41 pm PDT by
If you've ever wanted to record a video of your Mac's screen but don't know quite how to do so, then you've come to the right place. Keep reading to learn how you can record any Mac desktop activity in just a few simple steps. Recording the activity on your Mac's screen can be useful for a number of reasons. For example, if you want to teach someone how to perform a particular function on...
photos icon

How to Delete Large Attachments on iPhone and iPad

Thursday April 8, 2021 4:50 pm PDT by
Apple's iOS mobile operating system includes built-in features that offer suggestions on how you can save space on your iOS device. These space-saving suggestions can help you free up space on your iPhone and iPad when storage space is running low, so it's worth checking in on them from time to time. One of these built-in features encourages you to review large attachments taking up storage in ...
mac app store iphone ipad apps

How to Uninstall iPhone and iPad Apps on an M1 Mac

Tuesday May 18, 2021 3:43 pm PDT by
If you own a Mac powered by Apple silicon, you can download and install iOS and iPadOS apps from the Mac App Store in macOS Big Sur. But how do you uninstall them? Keep reading to learn how. Apple's M1 Macs, which are the first to be powered by an Apple-designed Arm-based chip, are able to run iOS and iPadOS apps because of the common architecture between the different operating systems....
mozilla firefox banner

How to Clear Cookies in Firefox on Mac and iOS

Monday April 19, 2021 11:24 am PDT by
Whenever you browse the web in Firefox, the browser stores website data including cookies so that it doesn't have to do so again each time you revisit a site. In theory this should speed up your browsing experience, but there are some scenarios where you might want to clear the cache and start anew. Keep reading to learn how it's done on Mac, iPhone, and iPad. There are a couple of...
macos big sur ios 14 iphone 12 pro macbook air icloud drive desktop documents hero

How to Sync Desktop and Documents Folder to iCloud on Mac

Monday March 15, 2021 10:10 am PDT by
In macOS, you can sync any files on your Mac desktop and in your documents folder to iCloud so that you can access them on any other devices signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID. In other words, you can start a document on your Desktop, and you'll be able to work on it later on your iPhone or iPad, or even through a browser on another computer via the iCloud website. Here's how to ...
photos icon

How to Back Up Your iPhone Photos

Wednesday May 12, 2021 9:26 am PDT by
Backing up the photos you take on your iPhone might not sound like a thrilling prospect, but it's far from a thankless task. On the contrary, it's a crucial step in ensuring that your most precious pictures are never lost. Plus, once you have a system for backing up your photos in place, you can get on with enjoying taking pictures with your smartphone in the confidence that they're safe. You...