Help, my drive’s a mess!
Clear out accumulated cruft to give your apps more room to breathe
After using the same Mac for several years, your drive is almost certainly not as tidy
as it could be. Leftover files from apps you no longer use as well as duplicates of your docs and photos consume lots of space, and it’s not always easy to see where the problem lies.
Gemini 2 (£15.95, macpaw.com) hunts for and, with your permission, deletes duplicate files on your Mac. Its developer says the app can distinguish between an original file and a copy of it, and that it learns from the actions you take when it throws up a pairing you’re most likely to keep, so it gets more intelligent over time. As well as apps and text files, it works on duplicate tracks in your iTunes library and photos in your folders. Deleted files are only put in the Trash, so you can get them back if you realise you made a mistake.
Also check out CleanMyDrive 2 (free, Mac App Store), a lightweight disk manager for internal and external drives. It’s not as thorough as CleanMyMac (see below), which also uninstalls apps and removes unused language support from them, but it can spot useless data that’s consuming space, such as hidden resource forks, thumbnails and Spotlight indexes. Removing them – and Windows service files on externals you’ve been swapping between OSes – is simple.
OS X is good at clearing up, but from time to time some of its working files will get left behind in cache folders. You should be able to remove old ones fairly safely, but try not to touch any stamped with the current date. In Finder, hold å and choose Go > Library, then open the Caches folder. Press ç+@ to view it as a list, then click the Date Modified column header twice in succession to put the oldest folders at the top. If you’re unconfident about deleting things manually, try Cocktail (£15 from maintain.se/cocktail), which will safely do it for you.
Similarly, look at your Downloads folder, the default place for anything your browser grabs from the web. It’s easy to ignore this for months. Order it by date or size by clicking column headings and delete any items you no longer need. Do the same for the desktop.