If you have used Mac for a long time, you’d have encountered a common problem – a lack of free disk space.
You try to figure out what’s taking up your disk space by clicking the Apple logo on the top-left of the screen, selecting About This Mac, and hitting the Storage tab. You will get the example screenshot above.
Why does my Mac system require so much space?
What does it contain? Is it safe to clean some of those system files?
And how do I regain more space to store all my projects, movies or something even bigger?
There are special Mac cleaner utilities designed to help to easily clear disk space. But before cleaning, it is important to use a disk analyzer tool to manage your disk space usage and find out what is taking up the most HD space.
Why use disk analyzer on your Mac?
Mysteriously Disappearing Storage Space. Sometimes, you cannot know what is actually consuming the storage space. Regardless that you will get the ‘Storage Full’ message while copying files. This has been a serious problem for macOS users ever since.
The In-built Storage Management is Ineffective. In case you didn’t know, macOS has an in-built storage management module. This should show you the files and folders taking up more storage space. However, it’s ineffective if you want to know the potential of free space in the device. You cannot deal with deep system files either.
macOS System Requires More Space. Compared to Windows or Linux, the macOS system needs more space for the core files. When you install a number of apps, this becomes insane. So, at the end of the day, you would want to know where free space is possible and clear things up.
These are just some of the reasons why you should use a disk analyzer for Mac. Just like other apps, there are many macOS disk analyzers as well. So, choosing one would be tough. But, don’t worry, we’ve got it covered for you.
How we chose the best disk usage analyzer for Mac
We had prioritized our criteria while choosing the best Mac disk analyzer tool from the big lot.
Performance is, undoubtedly, the first concern. We needed a tool that can go deep into your Mac and find out what can be deleted. This requires some serious algorithms and power from the developing part. We’re not looking for any kind of gimmicks.
Freeing up disk space is no rocket science. So, a disk analyzer tool should be easy to use as well. So, as power-packed and efficient as it may be, we needed a simple interface as well. This means that the disk analyzers you find here will be quite easy to use.
Diversity is also assured. We have covered different types of disk usage analyzers for Mac. Some let you clear the disk space based on while others represent the condition quite beautifully. At the same time, there some hybrid choices too.
Thanks to all these, we have compiled the one of the best collections of disk usage analyzers to clear disk space on Mac. First, we will have a detailed review of our top pick.
DaisyDisk is a dedicated disk usage analyzer, made for Mac. It is expected to help you not only find what is taking up storage space but also clear them. It promises to bring back storage space to your Mac. Compared to the other methods of storage upgrades and device upgrades, DaisyDisk is pretty economical as well. Now, we will have a deeper look at its various aspects.
It’s easy to get started with DaisyDisk. You can install the app just like you install any other utility. DaisyDisk can be downloaded from the official website or Mac App Store. And, the installation didn’t take more than a few seconds. The best part is that DaisyDisk has been kept completely simple. There aren’t any toolbars or option-tight windows.
DaisyDisk has a simple, intuitive yet productive user-interface. As we said earlier, DaisyDisk will be showing you a perfect representation of storage space consumption. You will know what is taking up the space and what is not. Once you have scanned, you will see a window like shown below. It provides a diagram-based representation of storage space distribution.
Wondering how to use DaisyDisk? Well, it’s as simple as it can get. You can use DaisyDisk for two purposes.
Analyze space usage
It’s pretty easy to understand how your Mac’s storage space is being used. Right after installation, you can launch the DaisyDisk and start scanning your device. Once the scanning has been done, you’d see the real magic happening.
DaisyDisk shows you a fully-fledged diagram of storage space distribution. As you can see above, DaisyDisk shows you the total storage space, consumed space and free space. The best part is that you can easily navigate through this. Just click on one folder and you can see what’s inside. For each of the sections, there is a dedicated diagram as well.
When you reach the lower levels of a folder, you can know which files are taking up the maximum amount of space from the Mac. Compared to the in-built storage management utility of macOS, DaisyDisk is quicker and more effective. You don’t have to wait for minutes. Instead, even when your disk is full, DaisyDisk gets the job done in a few seconds.
That’s why we say it’s one of the best disk analyzer indeed, if not the perfect one.
Clear disk space for free space
Now that you have found out the elements taking up most space, you will want to remove them, right? Well, unlike the traditional methods, DaisyDisk has made things simpler. You don’t have to leave the program and go to the Finder for deleting files.
Instead, you can simply drag and drop the files/folder to the bottom-left part. DaisyDisk is showing the total size of the content you have dragged. Hit the Delete button and the files would be cleared from your Mac permanently. This is a great feature when you need a system-wide clean-up. You can explore different directories and select files to remove.
There is also a full-screen mode that lets you get the best results from the drag-to-delete feature.
Now, let’s have a look at what makes DaisyDisk one of the best solutions for disk management.
Here are some features that we really loved while using DaisyDisk. These are apart from the simple UI and a super-effective scanning and deletion algorithm.
DaisyDisk is compatible with a wide variety of devices. You can use the same method for scanning and freeing up a variety of disks as well. It does not matter if you have an SSD, HDD or some simple USB Drive, DaisyDisk can do the job very well. This means that a single purchase would help you free up space in your pen drive and the portable hard disk.
Navigating inside DaisyDisk is just superb. You can either listen to the table and choose the files and folders that consume more storage space. The other idea is to check out the pie diagram. In this case, you will be able to find the extraordinarily heavy files. Also, make sure that you take a look at the Library section of your Mac. Even some of the deleted apps may have remnant files there.
Real-Time Representation of Data is quite an awesome feature. As soon as you open DaisyDisk, you would know how much space is left. Suppose you are trying to install a huge game or copy a full-length film. Using DaisyDisk, you can get real-time updates. This is way better when compared to the in-built storage analyzer utility of macOS High Sierra.
Safety is guaranteed in every step that DaisyDisk takes. You don’t have to worry about deleting any of system files either. You can keep on cleaning up storage space without worrying about harming the system. It also helps that Mac maintains the best security for its file-system when compared to Windows. Last but not the least, DaisyDisk is quite cost-effective too.
We believe these features make DaisyDisk one of the best solutions to clear disk space on your Mac.
Availability and pricing
As we said earlier, DaisyDisk is available for Mac only. You can download the program from official website of DaisyDisk or Mac App Store. If you have a Mac running OS X 10.10 or later, you can use DaisyDisk without worries. It should be noted that the program has an incredibly lower footprint.
DaisyDisk is priced at a simple tag of $9.99. Compared to the amount of money you would otherwise spend — purchasing a USB drive or HDD, for instance —, it’s an awesome thing. However, DaisyDisk offers a limited free trial, in which you can scan your disks but cannot delete them.
A final world, you don’t have to think twice before spending $9.99 for DaisyDisk. It’s a worthwhile purchase that will help you in the time to come. Just so you know, DaisyDisk is being used by not just the commons as well as IT professionals across the globe.
Of course, we believe in fair competition and unbiased comparison. Out of the 15+ disk analyzer tools we’ve considered for the articles, the following ones should be mentioned as worth competitors. Let’s have a quick look here.
WhatSize is a Mac shareware that lets you analyze disk usage and clean up the Mac. However, there are the disadvantages and advantages. The good things first, WhatSize seems quite advanced in the first look. You have an option to customize the view and choose options like Pie Chart or Table. However, we don’t find it as intuitive as DaisyDisk, our top pick.
Coming to the features, WhatSize has some to offer. Unlike DaisyDisk, WhatSize is a complete cleaning tool for Mac. Because of this, you will find options like cache cleaner, temporary files cleaner and localization file finder. While we didn’t find them so effective, the Duplication Finder in WhatSize is a great feature. It allows you to find whether duplicate files are taking up space in your Mac and remove them if any.
As it happens, WhatSize offers a bunch of features, but most of them are hard to master. We also find that it is not at all intuitive. You would need a few days’ time to master how to use WhatSize for Mac. Coming to the pricing aspect, WhatSize is priced at $29.99, which is very high. As we said earlier, the cleaning features in the program aren’t that effective either.
So, at the end of the day, you should go for WhatSize only if you can handle such a complex tool. We do also believe that the app is overpriced, when compared to the features of DaisyDisk, which sells for $10.
Disk Diet is an all-different app compared to DaisyDisk or the above-mentioned competitors. It’s a dedicated tool that will analyze your Mac and clean up storage space — automatically. You don’t have to go and find what is taking up the space. Instead, the program will analyze the device and find potential areas like Trash, Cache, Application Logs etc.
Of course, there are downsides that should be mentioned. First of all, you don’t get a clear picture of storage space consumption. You only know that there is a certain amount of storage space that can be cleared. And, it should be noted that Disk Diet does not let you customize anything. Of course, you can select from extra options like old iOS Updates and Downloads, but that’s it.
We would recommend Disk Diet for only those who have less time to save storage space. It should be noted that the program is quite straightforward. You don’t have to deal with diagrams or anything, whatsoever. It just wants you to click the Diet button and put the HDD on a space-consumption diet. Is it effective? Yes, it is, but it’s your take.
Disk Diet is also a paid Mac app, coming with a price tag of $9. It should be noted that DaisyDisk, which has the same price tag, does more than what it does. It offers a limited free trial that lets you clear 500MB max.
GrandPerspective is the best option when you want a graphical representation of storage space distribution on your Mac. It’s a completely free and open-source program that you can download without worries. The best part is that, unlike many free tools out there, GrandPerspective is regularly updated. The latest version was released in February 2018.
However, the core idea behind GrandPerspective hasn’t changed for the past few years. When you open the tool and scan a specific folder, you will see a box-based representation of storage space. You can click on the boxes to open, quick look or delete the files to save space. Unlike the tools above, GrandPerspective doesn’t offer a dedicated cleaning option either.
We wouldn’t say that GrandPerspective has the most intuitive UI, but it’s not hard either. When you click on a box, you can see the path of the file, which is great. You will have to navigate again to find and delete the file for better. Of course, you should consider the fact that GrandPerspective wants you to pay nothing for using these features.
GrandPerspective becomes the go-to choice when you don’t want to spend on disk analyzer tools. Of course, you will miss some useful features by doing so.
OmniDiskSweeper comes with a tagline that says “Delete with an Iron Fist”. It does that, and nothing else to be mentioned. OmniDiskSweeper is a great tool if you want to delete contents from your macOS hard disk without any bells and whistles. Once you have selected the drive you want to sweep, you will see a list of its files and directories.
In the next screen, OmniDiskSweeper also shows a list of the files based on the storage space consumption. The program lets you delete the files in a single click. Compared to the process of navigating to many folders and deleting files individually, OmniDiskSweeper may be a good option. That having said, unlike our top pick or other tools, it doesn’t care for safety.
Another disadvantage is that OmniDiskSweeper does not show you an overview. You cannot understand the current situation of the hard drive or how the information is spread across it. OmniDiskSweeper should be the choice only if you want to ‘delete away’ files from the Mac. However, it is a benefit that you don’t have to pay anything for OmniDiskSweeper.
OmniDiskSweeper is completely free to use and doesn’t come with any restrictions, whatsoever. We would recommend taking a Time Machine backup before using this tool.
Stay on top of your mac’s free space
Choose any of the tools we’ve covered, and you can save GBs of space in your hard drive. However, you must choose a program that is effective, safe and trustworthy — just like the top pick. In DaisyDisk, you would not have to worry about system errors or unexpected crashes. You also have an intuitive way to deal with storage data representation. So, make sure you have that disk analysis tool to enrich your Mac.
For more help, make sure to check our detailed guide of Mac cleaning software.