How to Optimize Storage on Mac?

How to Optimize Storage on Mac?

Photos are taking up much space on your Mac? View more to find 5 easy ways to optimize storage on Mac. These days, photos taken on professional cameras are usually so high-res you can see every little detail from thousands of meters away. However, as we all know, quality comes at the expense of large files. Therefore, saving as much space as possible on your Mac is crucial if you want to take on multiple projects at the same time in your career as a photographer.

5 Ways to Optimize Storage on Mac

If you’ve face some difficulties with your photos storage, follow these 5 simple steps to optimize your iCloud storage for photos and work without lags.

1. Use Cloud-Based Storages

icloud storage for photos

All devices that we own have an expiry date, which we are generally not aware of until they die on us. The hard drive that you purchased a week ago may not live up to next year, and the worst case scenario is that file restoration will not be an option. 

The second risk you unwittingly take when buying electronics is thieves - laptops, phones and tablets are stolen on a daily basis - you never know if this will happen to you one day.

google drive cloud storage for photos

Since our article is targeting primarily Mac users, we would recommend that you use iCloud Photo Library as one of the solutions to keep your photographs safe. Once you are registered with iCloud, you will get 5gb of free storage from the start. You can always synchronize it with your devices, making it much more convenient to upload your images.


Just $10 a month will give you 2TB worth of space. There are also other plans you can upgrade to, and if you are not too fond of paying Apple, you can always try other companies with similar price plans, like Google Drive, Dropbox or Amazon Prime Photos. All in all, whichever company you choose to entrust and store your photos with, you can be pretty confident that they will keep your data safer than any conventional local storage.

2. Use External Hard Drives

optimize storage on mac with hard drivers

Another great way to save space would be to buy an external drive in which to store your photos. There are plenty of portable hard drive solutions, such as SSDs, that you can take with you on adventures because they are easy to carry. It’s also worth mentioning that many external drives come with a warranty in case of failure, which means you are assured of getting your money back for the hardware.

However, they won’t be compensating you for your lost data. In this case, we would recommend that you backup all of your files, even if you decide to purchase a hard drive. Besides that, we would also suggest that you utilize a RAID array, in order to store your photos in different places on multiple hard disks. By doing so, you can be confident that your data is protected in the case of a hard disk failure.

optimize photo storage

Moreover, you should keep in mind that all external hard drives need to go through the process of formatting for your desired operating system. If you format it wrong, you won’t be able to upload any files to your hard drive, making it worthless until you reformat it.

OS X Extended is the standard for Mac users. There are also third-party utility program solutions you can search for online, which can read and write to both formats in case you’re both a Windows and Mac user.

3. Find and Remove Duplicate Photos

If you’re a photographer and you own a Mac, you must know by now that identical and similar photos can become an overwhelming problem, especially when they are spread all over your computer. These space-eaters are like parasites. You can search for them yourself, but wading through similar photos to delete them is extremely time-consuming because in most cases you will need to choose the best ones out of them first.

This is why we would recommend that you use Duplicate File Finder, an application that lets you scan any type of hard drive, volume and folder and quickly find similar-looking or duplicate photos.

duplicate finder free

With Duplicate File Finder you will be able to save space by locating and erasing in an instant any identical photos that you upload to your Mac. Simply launch the app, choose the hard drive that you wish to scan, whether it’s a specific folder, an external drive, or your primary hard drive, and allow it some time to scan your files.

4. Get Rid of Unneeded Programs

With so much software available for users’ free use, it’s tempting to try them all out. Of course, you should still be aware that many of them take up a lot of space on your Mac. And chances are, after you’ve tried them out, you’ve forgotten to delete them from your Mac. 

Our suggestion would be for you to go through all the apps on your machine and see what you can get rid of, for the sake of saving space for future photo shoots. You can do this by going through Finder and selecting Applications on the sidebar to see a whole list of them. 

Filter out your applications using the icon on the toolbar to see which ones are using too much of your space, and then go ahead and erase the ones you aren’t actively using.

optimize storage mac

Furthermore, applications aren’t the only load your Mac is carrying. It can be any files ranging from documents, music, videos to high-pixel photographs. Make sure that you’ve gone through your entire computer to see if there are any files you can wipe out. And don’t forget to clean your Trash bin - you’ll be shocked by the amount of stuff left in there you thought was gone by now.

5. Clean Up Cache, Cookies, Temp Files

Speaking of Trash bins and junk in general, did you know there are different types of clutter files that build up without your notice? Language items, system files, logs, cache, login items, unneeded email attachments, temporary objects - and that’s just the start. 

Keep in mind that the more complex the app is, the more the leftover files you are likely to find. In addition to that, even if you deleted an application manually, you will still need to delete all of the service files related to it by going through logs and cache folders at the very least.

optimize storage mac delete cache

In order to go through the main folders where the leftovers are located, use the Go to Folder feature in Finder and enter ~/Library/Caches. Now you will see all the folders that contain the cache files; you can either select and destroy all the folders at once or keep the ones that you need and go through them individually. 

Also, we would recommend that you go through your browser’s history, cookies and cache as these do build up over time as well. Depending on your browser, you will need to navigate through the Settings tab to find the right place to go over the items and delete them all at once.


To sum it up, photographers need to be really vigilant about managing their space if they plan to keep their photographs on Mac. The above solutions we have presented for you should provide you with ways you can keep more photos on your machine at very little cost or none at all. 

While there are dozens of other ways you can read on the internet on how to free up space on Mac, we felt that these methods would be most relevant for the photography community. If you plan to use any alternative forms of storage, be aware that most online photo storages are not going to present your photos in the best light for the world to see and are mostly there just to keep your photos.

Hi there, I'm Tata Rossi - a professional blogger,



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