What is Purgeable Space on Mac? How to Clear it?

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Sarahi Johns

5 min read

On your Mac's storage bar, you may find a section marked as purgeable. It can range in size from a few gigabytes to tens of gigabytes. If you don't have much free space left, clearing the purgeable space can free up space for you. Read on this blog, and you will get to know what purgeable space is, how to check it, and how to clear it out in 4 ways.

What is Purgeable Space on Mac & How to Clear it

What is Purgeable Space on Mac?

According to Apple, purgeable space is space that macOS can free up by deleting files from the computer when space is needed. Apple makes it visible in macOS Sierra and later versions. Once you turn on Optimize Mac Storage feature, you might be able to see the purgeable space on your Mac. 

The files taking your purgeable space include files in your iCloud, movies and TV shows you watched, local Time Machine backups, files and documents you haven't used in a long time, cached files, and more.

How to Check Purgeable Space on Mac?

Want to know the size of your purgeable space? Follow the steps below to check it out.

  1. Click the Apple icon in the menu bar, and select About This Mac.
  2. Click the Storage tab, and then wait for the system to calculate the storage usage.
  3. After the calculation is done, hover your mouse over the section with white and gray stripes, and you will see that it is marked as purgeable. At the same time, you can also see the amount of space it takes up.

How to Check Purgeable Space on Mac

How to Clear Purgeable Space on Mac?

Usually, we do not need to clean this space manually. But if you cannot install apps because the remaining space is insufficient, you can try some ways to reduce the purgeable space. You also don't have to worry about the impact of deleting the files inside. Here are 4 ways you can try.

Optimize Mac Storage

  1. Click the Manage button on the storage bar.
  2. In the storage management window, you can find four optimization recommendations: Store in iCloud, Optimize Storage, Empty Trash Automatically, and Reduce Clutter. 
    • Click the Store in iCloud and uncheck all the boxes.
    • Disable the Optimize Mac Storage: click the Apple icon > System Preferences>Apple ID > iCloud to uncheck all the possible applications and the Optimize Mac Storage button.
    • Keep Empty Trash Automatically turned on.
    • Click the Review Files button to remove large files and outdated files.
  3. Restart your Mac.

Optimize Mac Storage

Disable Time Machine Backup

If you still reduce the purgeable space, you may check your Time Machine Backup. Follow the following steps to disable it from your Mac.

  1. Click the Apple icon > System Preferences > Time Machine.
  2. Uncheck the Back up Automatically button.
  3. Quit Time Machine.

Disable Time Machine Backup

Remove Cached Files

Rebooting your Mac will help you get rid of the purgeable space, but it will terminate all the tasks on your computer. If you don't want to restart your Mac, you can delete cache files manually using Finder. 

  1. Open Finder and click the Go menu on the top of your screen, and select Library.
  2. Click Caches, open it, and delete the files you don't need.
  3. Empty your Trash.

Clear Caches with Finder

However, there is a risk that you may delete an important file by mistake with this method. At this time, you can use a third-party tool like BuhoCleaner to clean up your system cache and system logs, delete large files, and remove unnecessary duplicates in a few clicks.

Here're the steps:

  1. Download and install BuhoCleaner on your Mac.
  2. Launch it, select a cleaning option in the sidebar, click the scan button, and remove the files you don't need.

It's that easy!

Clear Cache Files with BuhoCleaner

Reclaim Purgeable Space via Terminal

There is another complicated but effective method to clear purgeable space. That is to create large files on your Mac to use up your storage space, thereby forcing your macOS to free up space.

  1. Open Terminal from Launchpad or Spotlight.

  2. Paste the command into Terminal: mkdir ~/largefiles. (This will create a new folder named largefiles in your home directory.

  3. Execute the command: dd if=/dev/random of=~/largefiles/largefile bs=15m. (This will create a file called largefile in the largefiles folder, which contains the random output from /dev/random.)

  4. A few minutes later, hit Click + C in the Terminal to stop the command from Step 3.

  5. Run the command: cp ~/largefiles/largefile ~/largefiles/largefile2.

  6. Continue to run the copy command from Step 5, but remember to change the largefile2 to a different name each time. 

  7. Once you see a message telling you that the disk is critically low, run the command: rm -rf ~/largefiles/ to delete all of the largefiles from your Mac.

  8. Empty your Trash.

Wrap Up

Having read this far, you probably have a better understanding of how to delete the purgeable space. Since your macOS will automatically clear this space when you run out of storage, it is not recommended that you clean it manually unless you need to.

If you are run low on storage space, use BuhoCleaner to clean and optimize your Mac in a couple of clicks. Try it for free now.

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