Optimized Storage in macOS Sierra and later* can save space by storing your content in iCloud and making it available on demand. When storage space is needed, files, photos, movies, email attachments, and other files that you seldom use are stored in iCloud automatically. Each file stays right where you last saved it, and downloads when you open it. Files that you’ve used recently remain on your Mac, along with optimized versions of your photos.
Discover the world of flash storage for Mac. Compare flash storage models and shop online. Flash memory is used for easy and fast information storage in computers, digital cameras and home video game consoles. It is used more like a hard drive than as RAM. In fact, flash memory is known as a solid state storage device, meaning there are no moving parts. Backup your Mac with a portable or desktop hard drive. Safekeep all of your music, photographs, movies and more. Buy online with fast, free shipping.
* If you haven't yet upgraded to macOS Sierra or later, learn about other ways to free up storage space.
Find out how much storage is available on your Mac
Choose Apple menu > About This Mac, then click Storage. Each segment of the bar is an estimate of the storage space used by a category of files. Move your pointer over each segment for more detail.
Click the Manage button to open the Storage Management window, pictured below. This button is available only in macOS Sierra or later.
Manage storage on your Mac
The Storage Management window offers recommendations for optimizing your storage. If some recommendations are already turned on, you will see fewer recommendations.
Store in iCloud
Click the Store in iCloud button, then choose from these options:
- Desktop and Documents. Store all files from these two locations in iCloud Drive. When storage space is needed, only the files you recently opened are kept on your Mac, so that you can easily work offline. Files stored only in iCloud show a download icon , which you can double-click to download the original file. Learn more about this feature.
- Photos. Store all original, full-resolution photos and videos in iCloud Photos. When storage space is needed, only space-saving (optimized) versions of photos are kept on your Mac. To download the original photo or video, just open it.
- Messages. Store all messages and attachments in iCloud. When storage space is needed, only the messages and attachments you recently opened are kept on your Mac. Learn more about Messages in iCloud.
Storing files in iCloud uses the storage space in your iCloud storage plan. If you reach or exceed your iCloud storage limit, you can either buy more iCloud storage or make more iCloud storage available. iCloud storage starts at 50GB for $0.99 (USD) a month, and you can purchase additional storage directly from your Apple device. Learn more about prices in your region.
Click the Optimize button, then choose from these options.
- Automatically remove watched movies and TV shows. When storage space is needed, movies or TV shows that you purchased from the iTunes Store and already watched are removed from your Mac. Click the download icon next to a movie or TV show to download it again.
- Download only recent attachments. Mail automatically downloads only the attachments that you recently received. You can manually download any attachments at any time by opening the email or attachment, or saving the attachment to your Mac.
- Don't automatically download attachments. Mail downloads an attachment only when you open the email or attachment, or save the attachment to your Mac.
Optimizing storage for movies, TV shows, and email attachments doesn't require iCloud storage space.
Empty Trash Automatically
Empty Trash Automatically permanently deletes files that have been in the Trash for more than 30 days.
Reduce Clutter helps you to identify large files and files you might no longer need. Click the Review Files button, then choose any of the file categories in the sidebar, such as Applications, Documents, Music Creation, or Trash.
You can delete the files in some categories directly from this window. Other categories show the total storage space used by the files in each app. You can then open the app and decide whether to delete files from within it.
Learn how to redownload apps, music, movies, TV shows, and books.
Where to find the settings for each feature
The button for each recommendation in the Storage Management window affects one or more settings in other apps. You can also control those settings directly within each app.
- If you're using macOS Catalina, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Apple ID, then select iCloud in the sidebar: Store in iCloud turns on the Optimize Mac Storage setting on the right. Then click Options next to iCloud Drive: Store in iCloud turns on the Desktop & Documents Folders setting. To turn off iCloud Drive entirely, deselect iCloud Drive.
In macOS Mojave or earlier, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click iCloud, then click Options next to iCloud Drive. Store in iCloud turns on the Desktop & Documents Folders and Optimize Mac Storage settings.
- In Photos, choose Photos > Preferences, then click iCloud. Store in iCloud selects iCloud Photos and Optimize Mac Storage.
- In Messages, choose Messages > Preferences, then click iMessage. Store in iCloud selects Enable Messages in iCloud.
- If you're using macOS Catalina, open the Apple TV app, choose TV > Preferences from the menu bar, then click Files. Optimize Storage selects “Automatically delete watched movies and TV shows.”
In macOS Mojave or earlier, open iTunes, choose iTunes > Preferences from the menu bar, then click Advanced. Optimize Storage selects “Automatically delete watched movies and TV shows.”
- In Mail, choose Mail > Preferences from the menu bar, then click Accounts. In the Account Information section on the right, Optimize Storage sets the Download Attachments menu to either Recent or None.
Empty Trash Automatically: From the Finder, choose Finder > Preferences, then click Advanced. Empty Trash Automatically selects “Remove items from the Trash after 30 days.”
Other ways that macOS helps automatically save space
With macOS Sierra or later, your Mac automatically takes these additional steps to save storage space:
- Detects duplicate downloads in Safari, keeping only the most recent version of the download
- Reminds you to delete used app installers
- Removes old fonts, languages, and dictionaries that aren't being used
- Clears caches, logs, and other unnecessary data when storage space is needed
How to free up storage space manually
Even without using the Optimized Storage features of Sierra or later, you can take other steps to make more storage space available:
- Music, movies, and other media can use a lot of storage space. Learn how to delete music, movies, and TV shows from your device.
- Delete other files that you no longer need by moving them to the Trash, then emptying the Trash. The Downloads folder is good place to look for files that you might no longer need.
- Move files to an external storage device.
- Compress files.
- Delete unneeded email: In the Mail app, choose Mailbox > Erase Junk Mail. If you no longer need the email in your Trash mailbox, choose Mailbox > Erase Deleted Items.
- The Storage pane of About This Mac is the best way to determine the amount of storage space available on your Mac. Disk Utility and other apps might show storage categories such as Not Mounted, VM, Recovery, Other Volumes, Free, or Purgeable. Don't rely on these categories to understand how to free up storage space or how much storage space is available for your data.
- When you duplicate a file on an APFS-formatted volume, that file doesn't use additional storage space on the volume. Deleting a duplicate file frees up only the space required by any data you might have added to the duplicate. If you no longer need any copies of the file, you can recover all of the storage space by deleting both the duplicate and the original file.
- If you're using a pro app and Optimize Mac Storage, learn how to make sure that your projects are always on your Mac and able to access their files.
By Adela D. Louie, Last updated: August 27, 2019
In today’s technology, if you buy a USB hard drive, you can just simply use it directly using your Mac. However, there are instances that not unless that your flash drive is build to use for your Mac, you will not be able to format it.
Why is this so? The answer to this is because most of the computers actually run on Windows and they actually use a different file format which is known to be the Fat32.
Those drives that are formatted in Fat32 can be used in your Mac for reading and writing but there might be an instance that you might experience some trouble once that you use your macOS native format.
So, in case that you have a flash drive that is formatted into Fat32 or any type of format rather than having a Mac OS Extended or AFPS, then we are going to show you in this article how you could possibly format your flash drive using your Mac.
Part 1: How To Format Flash Drive On Mac
Flash Storage Vs Hard Drive For Mac
Here are the steps that you need to follow. Do these steps and you will then be able to format your flash drive on your Mac.
Step 1: Go ahead and plug in your flash drive in the USB port on your Mac.
Step 2: After that, go ahead and launch the Finder and click on your flash drive detected by your Mac.
Step 3: See to it that there are no files saved on your flash drive that you no longer need. This is because formatting your flash drive will remove all the data that is stored in it. If there are some files that you want to remain, simply copy these files to your Mac.
Step 4: After getting all the files that you need from your flash drive, go ahead and click on “Applications” and then click “Utilities” and then choose “Disk Utility”.
Step 5: And then, go ahead and click on your flash drive from the sidebar.
Step 6: Once that you have chosen your flash drive, go ahead and click on the “Erase” button located at the toolbar at the top of the window.
Step 7: On the next window that will appear on your screen, go ahead and key in a name for the flash drive that you are formatting from the box next to the “Name” option.
Step 8: And then select a format that you want from the drop-down menu.
Step 9: No, if you have previously stored a data on your flash drive that is highly sensitive, just go ahead and click on the Security Tab.
Step 10: From the security tab, go ahead and choose the level of the security that you want. The more that you move to your right, then the more “passes” the deleted tool will be but it will securely delete your files. However, doing to so will take more of your time to format your flash drive.
Step 11: After that, go ahead and click on the “OK” button and then click on the “Erase” button.
Part 2: Choosing the Right Format
There are formats that you need to choose from depending on the Mac that you are using. If you are using the macOS Sierra or a later version, then you have to options to choose from. One is the AFPS and the other one is the Mac OS Extended. The question now here is that which one should you choose.
You have to keep in mind that once you have formatted your flash drive into AFPS, then those Macs that are running on macOS that is older than the High Sierra will not be able to recognize it.
So, if you would want to use your flash drive on Macs that are running on High Sierra, then you have to choose the Mac OS Extended format.
However, you also have to know that AFPS is actually optimized for SSD or “solid state drive” and it includes flash drives.
That is why if you are going to reformat a flash drive on your Mac, then you should definitely choose the AFPS format as it is known to be the most reliable and faster than the Mac OS Extended. But again, that is if you do not have any plans in using it on a pre-High Sierra course.
And lastly, if in case that you would want to use your flash drive as one of your backup options in Time Machine, then you should definitely have it formatted in Mac OS Extended.
This is because Time Machine does not have the ability yet to backup flash drives that are formatted in AFPS. So, if you are using an AFPS formatted flash drive on Time Machine, it will just ask you to format your flash drive into Mac OS Extended.
Part 3: How To Format Flash Drive To Fat32 On Your Mac
Once that you have a flash drive, then what you would need to do is to have it formatted into Fat32. Why? This is because once that you have formatted your flash drive into Fat32, then you will be able to use it on both Windows and Mac PC when you want to save or transfer files with either of the two.
The Fat32 format can be used – read or write – with both Mac and Windows PC and because of this, it makes the device more versatile.
However, there are some limitations that you should need to know such as an individual file should only have a maximum size of 4GB. But do not worry because there is still something you can do about it and that is by formatting it to exFAT.
The exFAT format will not give any limitations on the file size that you are going to store on your flash drive and you can still use it on both Windows and Macs that are running in Mac OS X Snow Leopard or later version. For you to be able to format your flash drive into Fat32, here is what you need to do.
Step 1: Go ahead and connect your flash drive to your Mac.
Step 2: And then, go to Application and then click on Utilities.
Step 3: After that, go ahead and launch Disk Utility.
Step 4: And then, go ahead and click on your flash drive located at the sidebar in Disk Utility.
Step 5: After that, click on 'Erase' in the Disk Utility window.
Step 6: After that, go ahead and enter the name for the flash drive that you formatted.
Step 7: And then, choose the Format menu and then select MS-DOS (FAT32) or the ExFAT.
Step 8: After that, go ahead and click on the 'Erase' button.
Once that you are done with the provided steps for you, your flash drive will then completely wipe out all the data stored and it is re-formatted into either an ExFAT or FAT32 depending on what you have chosen on the previous steps.
Part 4: Getting Your Mac System Run Fast
Now that you have known with how you can format your flash drive on your Mac, now it is time for you to get your Mac cleaned up.
Getting your Mac clean on a regular basis after doing tasks can help your Mac maintain its speed and will also give you more space for your storage.
There is one great option for you to clean up your Mac in no time and this is by using the software called the FoneDog Mac Cleaner.
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The FoneDog Mac Cleaner will help you to speed up your Mac with just a few simple clicks. This software can also help you in scanning your Mac faster and find all of your junk files on your Mac.
It also has the capability of checking your Mac's system status which includes your CPU status, your memory usage and more. This way, you will have an idea of what is the data that is actually eating up a lot of storage space on your Mac and which is causing it to perform slower than the usual.
The FoneDog Mac Cleaner will not only help you in removing all of the junk files that you have on your Mac. It can also help you to completely uninstall applications that you no longer use together with all the files that are associated with that app. It can also serve as a Similar Image Finder, an Extension Manager, a Duplicate Finder, and more.
For you to start cleaning up your Mac, all you have to do is to follow all the steps that we are going to provide to you. Do not worry, this is really simple and easy to follow and it will not consume a lot of your time. In addition, the screenshots below are shown under the dark mode on Mac.
Step 1: Download and Install
Have the FoneDog Mac Cleaner downloaded from our official website at https://www.fonedog.com/mac-cleaner/. Once that you have completely downloaded the program, go ahead and have the program installed on your Mac.
Step 2: Launch the Program
After that installation process is complete, go ahead and run the program on your Mac. Once that the program is up and running, you will be able to see on your screen the system status of your Mac. With that information, you will have an idea which files are taking up a lot of space on your Mac.
Step 3: Select Cleaner
Cleaner provides you with the cleaning function for the system, photo, email, files, apps and other fields on your Mac.
Step 4: Choose iTunes Junk
Here, take iTunes Junk as an example to show you how to clean junks on your Mac to make your Mac run faster.
Note: As for the other tools like 'System Junk' and 'Email Junk', the steps to clean up them is the same as that in 'iTunes Junk' tool.
Step 5. Scan iTunes Files
After clicking into the page of iTunes Junk, press the Scan button to start scan all the iTunes backups, Cache, updates and downloads on your Mac.
Step 6: Review and Select Items
After that scanning process is completely done, you will be able to see on the left side of your window screen a list of category folders of all the junk files of iTunes that you have on your Mac. If you click each folder, you will see on the right side of your screen all the items that each folder contains.
Review each item on each folder for you to make sure that all the junk files shown on your screen are unnecessary any more.
Once that you are satisfied with the result, you can go ahead and simply click on the 'Clean' button to clean up all your junk files.
Step 7: Confirm Your Choice
There would be a pop-up window called Confirmation turning up. Please press the 'Confirm' button if you are sure to delete the selected files; otherwise, please press the Cancel button and return to the previous page.
Step 8: Cleaning Done
Once that the cleaning process is done, all those unnecessary files that you have there will all be deleted from your Mac.
Part 5: Conclusion
Apple Flash Storage
Now, as you can see, formatting your flash drive on your Mac is a very easy thing to do. All you need to have is the knowledge on how you can do.
And keep in mind that if you are going to format your flash drive, make sure that you choose the right format so that you can use it in any PC.
Formatting is easy, just like in cleaning up your Mac. Getting your Mac tidy is one of the best things that you should do for you to be able to maintain the speed of your Mac and of course for you to get more space on your storage. And the best way for you to clean up your Mac is by using the FoneDog Mac Cleaner.