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Question:

Question: System Storage Taking Up Way Too Much Space in macOS Sierra

I've encountered a problem on my brand new MacBook, but haven't been able to find a solution after working on it for most of today. In a nutshell: When I go to "About This Mac > Storage" the System files were taking up a whopping 90+ GB of my hard drive. Here is a screen shot:

User uploaded file

I also noticed that, unlike on my wife's MacBook Pro, I had no individual listing for iTunes. I could reach the iTunes folder through Documents on the left side, but the contents of the folder were grayed out. As an experiment, I copied then deleted my entire iTunes Library from within iTunes. After I did that, my Storage report looked like this:

User uploaded file

Now the System files are down around 8 GB. (The Documents content jumped up dramatically because I copied my iTunes Library to the Desktop.) Unfortunately, I haven't found a way to establish the separate entry for iTunes in this window. When I move things back into iTunes, they count again toward the System storage amount. And I still don't have a separate iTunes entry.


I would like to be a huge fan of Optimized Storage, but this set-up of counting iTunes media as "system files" seems problematic. And I have no idea why it reports storage content accurately on my wife's Mac but not mine. Unfortunately Apple Support was not very helpful when I contacted them this afternoon. The agent suggested reinstalling macOS Sierra, which I did, but it didn't solve the problem. Some help would be appreciated, Apple!

MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2016), macOS Sierra (10.12)

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Question marked as Helpful

Dec 12, 2016 12:08 PM in response to SiHancox In response to SiHancox

Ladies and gentlemen,


I was on the phone with support. Try this...


1. Start your mac in Safe mode by holding the shift key before the power key

2. Check your storage About This Mac/Storage etc. (In safe mode, mine showed accurate usage)

3. Restart in normal mode

4. Repeat step #2.


All was fixed. Good luck!

Question marked as Helpful

Dec 12, 2016 6:38 AM in response to bindex In response to bindex

There are at least two previous posts regarding the same "issue" (if in fact it is one!), but I'm not sure anyone has got to the bottom of it yet.


Why does the system use 150 GB of storage?


Is it normal that "system" takes up 36 gb of storage? What does is contain? Can it be decreased?


From my own experience I've found out that "iTunes" (yes, I seem to have that showing in the left side) only reports size for Apps and Podcasts - my Music which is nearly 70Gb looks as though it's reported under "System" (as you have found) which is currently at 83Gb - can't confirm because as you state it's greyed out, but all the other items on the left are far less in size so "System" seems the only place the machine has found to report my music content.


Furthermore, if I use Finder and add my actual Music size (70Gb) to Macintosh HD System and Library (8Gb + 5Gb) it gives 83Gb (what the greyed out "System" is reporting).


So I've basically given up trying to understand why it's reporting in the way it is - the concern previously was of a bloated System file section, but that doesn't seem to be the case (and Finder proves that), so may be it will all get sorted in a future update!

Question marked as Helpful

Dec 15, 2016 2:49 PM in response to bindex In response to bindex

The "System" category appears to be including sandboxed application data, which is stored in ~/Library/Containers/.


I used About This Mac | Storage | Review Files | File Browser to navigate to the folders/files using the most space and found that Docker was growing a file called Docker.qcow2 indefinitely in ~/Library/Containers/. Deleting the file released 30GB from "System" while "Documents" stayed the same size.

Question marked as Helpful

Dec 12, 2016 4:07 PM in response to bindex In response to bindex

Do a Get Info on the System > Library.

Next download OmniDiskSweeper. Run on your Macintosh HD.

http://www.omnigroup.com/products/omnidisksweeper/


I received different results with all three:


About this Mac > Storage 19.37 GB

Get Info on System > Library 8.08 GB

OmnidiskSweeper System > Library 5.3 GB


This suggests to me that Storage results is way off.


You need to report it to Apple Feedback so it can be logged and put in the queue to be fixed.

http://www.apple.com/feedback/macosx.html

Question marked as Helpful

Apr 30, 2017 10:46 PM in response to dianeoforegon In response to dianeoforegon

I cannot find the comment on how to delete the hidden Adobe cache file. Will you please tell me where to find it?


My ios system uses 342.97 GB and is growing. I use adobe photoshop and premier video editing so I may have lots of adobe cache files hidden.


Thank you!

P.S. I'm in Oregon too 🙂

Question marked as Helpful

Dec 31, 2016 1:00 PM in response to bindex In response to bindex

I found how to purge half of the system on my mac.


I downloaded OmniDiskSweeper which I accessed and I found that under a folder called fsCached Data, there was about 60GB of cached data. I deleted all of it, which was about 200,000 items and it immediately fixed my system problem, which was originally 87GB. It has dropped down to 27GB now with that.

Question marked as Helpful

Dec 31, 2016 2:05 PM in response to bindex In response to bindex

I don't think this will solve your iTunes issue, but I've had a similar issue on two Mac machines, both from the same source: Adobe cache files. On my newer Sierra Macbook the "System" storage was reporting as 186Gb on my 250Gb SSD. Now that I've fixed it "System" is less than 20 Gb.

OmniDiskSweeper is a great tool for this, although there are other ways to fix it.

(Be sure you get Version 1.9 or later. The first time I tried, I went to the wrong source and got an earlier version, which didn't work on Sierra.)

Look at the following path: Users>"YourUserName">Library>Application Support>Adobe>Common>Media Cache Files. Delete everything in this folder.

In my case, this folder contained full copies of every video that had ever been on the machine. Plus, if I had renamed the video, say from "Beach1" to "Beach2", it had full copies with both names. It has additional smaller files for each video, and it may be caching image files as well, although I didn't look at every file.

This is especially weird since I copy newly shot videos from the camera card to the laptop in the field (so I can look at them quickly with Flip Player.) I do not ever edit video on this machine, or open video with any Adobe editing product. I do have Bridge, which makes thumbnails of the videos if I happen to use it to look at that folder.

I had the same problem a year or two ago on an earlier machine, fixed it, and I thought Adobe had fixed the bug. But apparently not.

Question marked as Helpful

Feb 23, 2017 11:39 PM in response to bindex In response to bindex

You have to take into account all the other files on your Mac, not just iTunes.


For example the text messages on my iPhone determine the size of the backup my iPhone does on the cloud.


You need to look into how many notes you have and how many text you sent on the macbook. iTunes isn't the only thing taking up space in the system storage tab. It would also be easier for us to help if you submitted a screenshot of the actual Documents>iTunes folder so we can see the size of the folder. That will give us all the info we need to determine the issue. My library is taking up space on my MacBook Air mainly because I use Apple Music and the library takes up space if I use it on my MacBook. Some files are stored on the mac. When I went to my iTunes Music folder in Finder I found what was taking up all the space. It was a movie I purchased on my MacBook Air. One movie was taking up 7GB of data. Go into iTunes and find the movie then select remove download and you can see in the iTunes folder in finder where the folder was removed and the space is now back when I go to System Information. I can delete it and still watch it on all my devices because of the purchase history option. Now what is taking up all the space is a folder titled Album Artwork.


My iTunes Library on my iMac is 4,185 albums, 176 days, 435.37GB so I'd say I'm doing great for having that available on my MacBook Air anytime I want and the System Storage is only now 35.1GB.


Do some digging around in Finder and I'm sure you will find the file(s) taking up all your space. Till then submit the screenshot with more info on the breakdown of the files within iTunes and I'll be able to tell you where to look next. There are a lot of folders you will need to look into if iTunes is not the issue. For instance you will have to go into your Caches folder and see what is in there. There is a lot that can be done, but I don't want to list them all here and misdirect you when you probably don't need to go into these folders.

Question marked as Helpful

May 1, 2017 10:40 AM in response to great.gizzards In response to great.gizzards

This worked. Thanks!

I had almost 250 GB of Adobe video editing cache files that it saves automatically on my laptop, even though I intentionally save all the rest of the vids and data on my external.


Finally, my macbook has free space again. Thank you so much!

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Question marked as Helpful

Nov 9, 2016 9:40 AM in response to bindex In response to bindex

I have a similar problem, my 'System' size is being reported at over 80GB, but i don't know which non-system files are being reported as system ones. I've checked iTunes, its not that, it must be something else. Need to figure out what it is so i can delete it.

Nov 9, 2016 9:40 AM

Reply Helpful (291)
Question marked as Helpful

Dec 12, 2016 6:38 AM in response to bindex In response to bindex

There are at least two previous posts regarding the same "issue" (if in fact it is one!), but I'm not sure anyone has got to the bottom of it yet.


Why does the system use 150 GB of storage?


Is it normal that "system" takes up 36 gb of storage? What does is contain? Can it be decreased?


From my own experience I've found out that "iTunes" (yes, I seem to have that showing in the left side) only reports size for Apps and Podcasts - my Music which is nearly 70Gb looks as though it's reported under "System" (as you have found) which is currently at 83Gb - can't confirm because as you state it's greyed out, but all the other items on the left are far less in size so "System" seems the only place the machine has found to report my music content.


Furthermore, if I use Finder and add my actual Music size (70Gb) to Macintosh HD System and Library (8Gb + 5Gb) it gives 83Gb (what the greyed out "System" is reporting).


So I've basically given up trying to understand why it's reporting in the way it is - the concern previously was of a bloated System file section, but that doesn't seem to be the case (and Finder proves that), so may be it will all get sorted in a future update!

Dec 12, 2016 6:38 AM

Reply Helpful (26)
Question marked as Helpful

Dec 12, 2016 12:08 PM in response to SiHancox In response to SiHancox

Ladies and gentlemen,


I was on the phone with support. Try this...


1. Start your mac in Safe mode by holding the shift key before the power key

2. Check your storage About This Mac/Storage etc. (In safe mode, mine showed accurate usage)

3. Restart in normal mode

4. Repeat step #2.


All was fixed. Good luck!

Dec 12, 2016 12:08 PM

Reply Helpful (58)

Dec 12, 2016 1:48 PM in response to Ample Apple In response to Ample Apple

Just tried your suggestion but it has made no difference (thanks for trying anyhow), System at 83Gb before, during Safe Mode (after it recalculated) and finally on reboot - still showing 83Gb!


It's worth noting my issue is not incorrect reporting of disk space usage, but rather what it is being recorded against - if it would stop putting music under System and instead show it under iTunes all would be well.

Dec 12, 2016 1:48 PM

Reply Helpful (1)
Question marked as Helpful

Dec 12, 2016 4:07 PM in response to bindex In response to bindex

Do a Get Info on the System > Library.

Next download OmniDiskSweeper. Run on your Macintosh HD.

http://www.omnigroup.com/products/omnidisksweeper/


I received different results with all three:


About this Mac > Storage 19.37 GB

Get Info on System > Library 8.08 GB

OmnidiskSweeper System > Library 5.3 GB


This suggests to me that Storage results is way off.


You need to report it to Apple Feedback so it can be logged and put in the queue to be fixed.

http://www.apple.com/feedback/macosx.html

Dec 12, 2016 4:07 PM

Reply Helpful (12)
Question marked as Helpful

Dec 15, 2016 2:49 PM in response to bindex In response to bindex

The "System" category appears to be including sandboxed application data, which is stored in ~/Library/Containers/.


I used About This Mac | Storage | Review Files | File Browser to navigate to the folders/files using the most space and found that Docker was growing a file called Docker.qcow2 indefinitely in ~/Library/Containers/. Deleting the file released 30GB from "System" while "Documents" stayed the same size.

Dec 15, 2016 2:49 PM

Reply Helpful (17)
Question marked as Helpful

Dec 21, 2016 11:05 AM in response to bindex In response to bindex

Check your Users folder. Even though I had removed users in System Preferences, I discovered there was still folders for past users stored on my mac. I deleted the extra User folders and About This Mac > Storage updated to the correct info.

Dec 21, 2016 11:05 AM

Reply Helpful (9)

Dec 22, 2016 1:56 PM in response to bindex In response to bindex

Here's how I was able to solve this issue:


- Using the Disk Daisy (https://daisydiskapp.com/) trial version allowed me to pinpoint which directory was causing the issue

- In my case, it was the .DocumentRevisions-V100directory which is where Sketch dumps older versions of your documents

- I followed the steps outlined on this post: (https://medium.com/sketch-app-sources/sketch-can-unknowingly-take-way-too-much-h ard-drive-space-here-s-how-to-fix-it-1979e976f2d6#.libhod8u4) and Voila! Solved!


*Keep in mind that even if you aren't a Sketch user, these steps might still help you. Good luck!

Dec 22, 2016 1:56 PM

Reply Helpful (2)
Question marked as Helpful

Dec 31, 2016 1:00 PM in response to bindex In response to bindex

I found how to purge half of the system on my mac.


I downloaded OmniDiskSweeper which I accessed and I found that under a folder called fsCached Data, there was about 60GB of cached data. I deleted all of it, which was about 200,000 items and it immediately fixed my system problem, which was originally 87GB. It has dropped down to 27GB now with that.

Dec 31, 2016 1:00 PM

Reply Helpful (5)
Question marked as Helpful

Dec 31, 2016 2:05 PM in response to bindex In response to bindex

I don't think this will solve your iTunes issue, but I've had a similar issue on two Mac machines, both from the same source: Adobe cache files. On my newer Sierra Macbook the "System" storage was reporting as 186Gb on my 250Gb SSD. Now that I've fixed it "System" is less than 20 Gb.

OmniDiskSweeper is a great tool for this, although there are other ways to fix it.

(Be sure you get Version 1.9 or later. The first time I tried, I went to the wrong source and got an earlier version, which didn't work on Sierra.)

Look at the following path: Users>"YourUserName">Library>Application Support>Adobe>Common>Media Cache Files. Delete everything in this folder.

In my case, this folder contained full copies of every video that had ever been on the machine. Plus, if I had renamed the video, say from "Beach1" to "Beach2", it had full copies with both names. It has additional smaller files for each video, and it may be caching image files as well, although I didn't look at every file.

This is especially weird since I copy newly shot videos from the camera card to the laptop in the field (so I can look at them quickly with Flip Player.) I do not ever edit video on this machine, or open video with any Adobe editing product. I do have Bridge, which makes thumbnails of the videos if I happen to use it to look at that folder.

I had the same problem a year or two ago on an earlier machine, fixed it, and I thought Adobe had fixed the bug. But apparently not.

Dec 31, 2016 2:05 PM

Reply Helpful (5)

Dec 31, 2016 2:11 PM in response to greydog77 In response to greydog77

Forgot to say: When I get home from shooting, the videos are transferred to a desktop, and deleted from the laptop. The mystery cache files apparently stay behind.


Until Adobe re-fixes this bug, I'd like to find a way to write a script (or something) to clear this folder with one click. Any ideas would be appreciated.

Dec 31, 2016 2:11 PM

Reply Helpful

Dec 31, 2016 4:32 PM in response to greydog77 In response to greydog77

You could try creating a folder on an external drive named Common. Use an alias or Symlink in place of Common folder. See if this saves the cached data to the external drive.


Users>"YourUserName">Library>Application Support>Adobe>Common>Media Cache Files


For easier creation of symlinks, you can add this script http://cl.ly/ImZ5 to "User/Library/Services" and right click on finder items to create symlink.


More info:


How to Create Symbolic Links at Command Line of Mac OS X


https://gigaom.com/2011/04/27/how-to-create-and-use-symlinks-on-a-mac/

Dec 31, 2016 4:32 PM

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Question: System Storage Taking Up Way Too Much Space in macOS Sierra