In this day and age, computer storage space might as well be liquid gold – every extra megabyte counts. There are many different ways you can clear out your space and removing purgeable files is one of them for macOS users. So, what is purgeable space and how can you delete the files stored there? Let’s find out.

What is purgeable space?

Purgeable space is a feature unique to macOS systems devices and its purpose is to help you manage your storage better. It is essentially a space within your hard disk that holds purgeable files or, in other words, files that can be deleted. Now, Mac does not allow us to see what exact files are stored there but we have an idea of how the systems decide what is deemed ready to be deleted.

Purgeable files can be anything from the cache, old user files, temporary files, duplicates, iCloud synced files, and files that have not been used or opened in a long time. These are always stored in your purgeable space and get automatically deleted when your Mac requires more storage.

To make use of this great functionality, you want to make sure that your “Optimise Storage” function is enabled through Apple Menu → About This Mac → Storage → Manage → Recommendations → Optimise Storage.

How to delete purgeable space manually?

While purgeable space was designed to be removed automatically if and when needed, there is a way to do this manually with Mac Terminal. If you’re not sure whether it’s worth the hassle, you can check how much purgeable space is stored on your disk by opening the Disk Utility – here, you will be able to see the space available as well purgeable.

If you think that extra bit of storage space will be helpful to you, follow the below steps to remove it:

  1. Open Terminal
  2. Type in the following command and click enter: mkdir ~/largefiles
  3. Now, type dd if=/dev/random of=~/largefiles/largefile bs=15m and click enter
  4. Wait 5 minutes, then press Control-C to stop the command
  5. Type cp ~/largefiles/largefile ~/largefiles/largefile2 and click enter
  6. Once complete, keep entering the same command, only changing the last number to “3”, “4”, and so on.
  7. Keep typing the command until a message pops up saying “disk is critically low”
  8. Now, type in rm -rf ~/largefiles/ 
  9. Close Terminal and Empty the Trash
  10. Vuola! Purgeable space has been deleted.

If you’re not familiar with the Terminal commands, what you’ve just done is create a file that was larger than the free space you had left in your hard disk, forcing your system to automatically remove the purgeable files and empty more space that way. After the purgeable space was cleared out, you delete the large file you just created, leaving you with newly acquired storage.

Is there an automatic way to remove purgeable space?

If Terminal is not your cup of tea, you can also use dedicated storage management software that can do the job for you with a click of a button. While there are some free apps you can use for this, most of them tend to use a paid subscription model. However, it may still be worth considering as they typically have much more functionality than just removing your purgeable space, such as anti-malware features, clearing out junk files, cache, and cookies, removing duplicate files, and so on.

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