If your Mac comes with only 128GB of storage space, you might find that it’s very limited in the amount of applications, media and data it can store. Some stuff gets used often, while some other stuff gets forgotten about. You still need to get rid of things eventually when the storage fills up completely to the point where your Mac stops running applications properly.
Normally you’d transfer all extra data off your Mac to a portable hard drive for safekeeping or delete the extra data if it’s not needed, but there’s also another solution you can use – Optimized Storage.
Optimized Storage works by taking files you’ve been storing in iCloud and moves them off your hard drive if your storage starts getting too full. It works primarily on moving movies and TV shows you’ve already watched on iTunes to the cloud. These can be re-downloaded later if you want to re-watch them. Similarly, it give you the option to store your email attachments, either on your Mac or in the cloud.
These options, coupled with the “Store in iCloud” (covered below), basically offload data from your local hard drive to your iCloud storage. An icon of the item moved is also left at the original location in case you want to easily access it again. You can just click on the file, and it will download back onto your computer.
Here is how you can make use of Optimized Storage on your Mac.
The first method to enable and use Optimized Storage is quite easy – don’t do anything. As your storage is about to get full, you’ll automatically get a notification asking you if you want to optimize your storage. Simply click on “Yes,” and you’ll be taken directly to the Optimized Storage window.
If you want to access the Optimize Storage panel manually, follow the steps below:
1. Click on the Apple logo in the top-left corner of your screen.
2. From the Apple menu, click on “About this Mac.”
3. In the window that opens, click on “Storage.”
4. Here, you’ll see a breakdown of your Mac’s hard drive and storage. Click on “Manage.”
5. This will open a detailed window with a specific breakdown of storage consumption by different file types. Click on “Optimize” in front of “Optimize Storage.”
Along with enabling the Optimize Storage function, you’ll also need to enable “Store in iCloud” to enable your documents, photos, etc., to be stored in iCloud automatically when your storage gets full.
To enable this, simply click on the “Store in iCloud” button above the Optimize Storage feature.
You’ll get an option to select the folder you want to store in your iCloud. Select whichever folders you’d like to keep synced with the cloud and click on Enable.
If you ever want to disable Optimize Storage, follow the instructions below:
1. Open System Preferences on your Mac.
2. Click on your Apple ID in the first row.
3. Uncheck the checkbox at the bottom of the window for “Optimize Mac Storage.”
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