Help, my drive’s a mess!

Clear out ac­cu­mu­lated cruft to give your apps more room to breathe

Mac Format - - FEATURE -

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.

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