The Essential Guide: How to Clean Up Your Mac [2024]

Peter Aaron
Last updated: Jan 29, 2024

This guide covers 11 steps to clean up your Mac's hard drive and make it run faster. Go ahead and check them out.

Embarking on a mission to declutter and revitalize your Mac's hard drive? Look no further! In this guide, we'll explore a series of practical and effective strategies to clean up your Mac, reclaim valuable storage space, and breathe new life into its performance.

Let's get started.

The Essential Guide: How to Clean Up Your Mac [2024]

The Best Software to Clean Up Mac Hard Drive - BuhoCleaner

Manually cleaning up your Mac can be a laborious and time-consuming task. Thanks to third-party Mac cleaners like BuhoCleaner, you can now clean and optimize your Mac with just a few clicks.

BuhoCleaner stands out among the best Mac cleaning and optimization software options available. It operates faster than its competitors and offers several notable features, including the cleaning of system junk files, uninstallation of unwanted apps, removal of duplicate and large files, and management of startup programs. Furthermore, it supports over 10 languages, including English, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, and more.

DownloadFor macOS 10.10 and above
100,000+ Satisfied Users Worldwide

Here's how it works:

  1. Download, install, and launch BuhoCleaner.
  2. Click the Scan button to perform a quick scan of your Mac.
  3. If you trust its Smart Selection, click the Remove button directly. If not, click the View Details button to manually select the files you wish to delete.
  4. Explore the other features to further clean up and optimize your Mac.
Quickly Clean Up Mac with BuhoCleaner

How to Clean Up Mac Hard Drive Manually

If you're an experienced Mac user, you have the option to manually clean up and optimize your Mac. Here are 9 steps you can consider:

Optimize Your Mac Storage

Over time, an increasing number of files accumulate on your Mac, consuming a significant amount of storage space. However, there's no need to fret as Mac includes built-in optimization tools that enable automatic optimization of your storage space.

Here's how:

  1. Navigate to the Apple menu and choose System Settings.
  2. Click on General, then select Storage. You'll discover various optimization recommendations.
  3. Simply follow the list of recommendations to optimize your Mac storage.
Optimize Mac Storage
For macOS Monterey and earlier versions, you can locate optimization recommendations by clicking the Apple menu > About This Mac > Storage > Manage.

Clear Cache Files

Caches consist of temporary files that enhance the speed of operations on your Mac. However, if not cleaned regularly, they can accumulate and consume valuable storage space. Notable cache categories include system cache, application cache, and browser cache.

You can clear them one by one manually or let BuhoCleaner scan and delete them for you quickly. Either approach will aid in cache clearance, leading to the release of storage space.

Related Article: How to Clear Cache Files on a Mac

Uninstall Unused Apps

Another tip for cleaning up your Mac is to delete the apps you no longer use. These apps occupy space without serving any purpose, so it's wise to eliminate them from your Mac completely.

There are two methods to uninstall unnecessary apps. One involves dragging them to the Trash, while the other entails utilizing an app uninstaller such as BuhoCleaner. The latter option is preferable as it ensures the complete removal of the app and its associated files. The former approach only deletes the app itself, leaving the related files on your hard drive.

Quickly Uninstall Unwanted Apps on Mac

Here's how to uninstall apps on Mac using BuhoCleaner:

  1. Download, install, and launch BuhoCleaner.
  2. Click App Uninstall to display a list of all installed apps on your Mac.
  3. Choose the apps you no longer require and then click the Remove button.
  4. Switch to Leftovers if you wish to remove leftover files from uninstalled apps.
DownloadFor macOS 10.10 and above
100,000+ Satisfied Users Worldwide

Delete Old Downloads

You might be surprised by the number of unnecessary files stored in your Downloads folder. Deleting these files can assist you in recovering valuable storage space.

Clear Downloads on Mac

You have the option to navigate to Finder and delete them manually, or you can use a third-party file manager like BuhoCleaner to automate the cleanup process for you. The former method is time-consuming and more suitable for experienced Mac users, whereas the latter is extremely user-friendly and recommended for beginners. We suggest employing the latter option. Download the free version of BuhoCleaner to give it a try now.

Remove Old iOS Backups

Deleting iOS backups is an effective approach to tidying up your Mac. There are three methods you can use:

  1. For macOS versions before 10.15, you can go to iTunes > Preferences > Devices > Delete Backups.

    Remove iOS Backups
  2. For macOS 10.15 and later, you can use Finder to eliminate iOS backups.

    Open Finder, locate your iPhone in the sidebar, click the Manage Backups button, and proceed to delete the backups that you no longer need.

Manage iOS Backups on Mac
  1. Alternatively, you can manually locate all iPhone and iPad backups in Finder.

    Within a Finder window, press Shift + Command + G to open the Go To Folder window. Input the path: ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/, press Return, and delete the unnecessary backups to the Trash.

    Find and Delete iOS Backups on Mac

Disable Login Items

Login items are programs that launch automatically when you log into your Mac. They're intended to enhance your efficiency, but the windows they open can also be bothersome. To prevent unwanted apps from starting up on login, follow these steps:

  1. Open the System Settings app.
  2. Click General > Login Items.
  3. Select the apps you wish to exclude from launching during Mac login and click the Minus button.
Disable Login Items on macOS Ventura

Declutter Your Desktop

If you frequently place files, photos, and screenshots on your desktop, your Mac's desktop could likely become cluttered. A cluttered desktop can not only be visually unappealing but also complicate the process of locating your files.

Fortunately, Mac has already considered this issue and provides a useful built-in feature to keep your files organized in groups. Simply click anywhere on your desktop and select Use Stacks.

Declutter Your Desktop

Empty the Trash

If you move files to the Trash without permanently deleting them, those files will still occupy space on your hard drive. Spending a moment to empty your Trash can greatly increase available disk space.

Related Article: Trash Won't Empty on Mac? Here's the Fix

Restart Your Mac

Restarting your Mac periodically can aid in freeing up memory and stop background apps and programs that you might not have been aware of.

Update Your macOS

Last but not least, keep your Mac up to date. Apple releases a major macOS release each year, which adds new features, makes improvements, and fixes known bugs and issues.

It's highly recommended to install the latest macOS update. However, remember that before updating your system, it's crucial to create a backup using Time Machine to prevent any potential risk of data loss.


That concludes the 11 steps to clean up your Mac hard drive. After giving these methods a try, your Mac will appear more organized and run faster than ever before.

If you prefer a more thorough cleaning for your Mac, the best method is to use Disk Utility to erase your Mac. Please note that this action will erase all content and data on your Mac. It's essential to back up your Mac beforehand to prevent any data loss.

Peter Aaron

Living in New Jersey, Peter Aaron is an Apple technician focused on iPhone and iOS repairs. Meanwhile, he's also a senior writer at Dr.Buho, with a simple mission to help fix Apple things that are with software or hardware glitches.