How to Clear System Storage on Mac

For when you're always running out of storage because "System" or "Other" is taking up half of your disk space.

August 20, 2021
Sarah Corner
Designer & Animator

If you've worked on Macbooks before, especially for animation purposes, you might be familiar with the dreaded day your hard drive runs out of space because the "Other" category has taken up over half of your disk space. Luckily, there's a simple solution to this for people who frequent GPU-heavy Adobe products.

Due to the nature of rendering and autosaving, cache is a big component to this. Animation and video editing programs temporarily save frames of your file to a designated location, which can be found in one of your Mac's hidden Library folders. This makes it so that you can preview your file while editing, and the frames that are currently temporarily saved appear green on the timeline in After Effects. You can learn more about how Adobe uses caches here.

Folders that are by default hidden on Macs are delicate, because they're hidden to prevent the user from accidentally damaging the device. When meddling in a hidden folder, you must be careful not to damage files that could hinder your device's performance.

There are several Library folders, but the one we want to access is hidden inside of your Users folder here:

Here, click CMD + Shift + . (period/full-stop) to reveal the hidden folders. Inside your User folder, go into the ghosted-out Library folder to access the Caches.

Many of the files in this folder are small in size but ultimately can amount to dozens of gigabytes in storage over months, if not years of video and animation projects. An annual purge of this cache folder will most certainly solve at least half of your "Other" storage problems.