Spring Cleaning For Your Mac

Spring Cleaning for your Mac Part 1

Spring cleaning is a tradition. After a long, cold winter, it’s wonderful to do a deep cleaning of your home inside and out. You get a more tidy place to live and a feeling of satisfaction at having accomplished something. 

Your home isn’t the only thing that deserves a good “scrubbing”. Macs have a tendency to accumulate junk over the years that fills up storage, not a good thing if you have limited space. In this article, we’ll show you all the different ways your Mac can become cluttered, and offer a quick way to do your digital spring cleaning with Trend Micro Cleaner One Pro.

Image of cluttered home via
(Image via

What’s That Junk?

You’d be surprised what fills up your valuable storage! When you’re cleaning out the basement or a spare room, you might find old magazines that are years out of date, or a pile of clothes that don’t fit any more. How about those hobby projects you started but never completed?

Just like your home, your Mac gets cluttered with things that are useless, out of date, or duplicates. Caches are special storage areas used to speed the performance of apps. Most apps clean up after themselves, deleting caches and temporary files after each use. Others aren’t so good at being tidy, and after a few years Gigabytes of storage are filled with these files. 

Application Caches

One of the most common cache files that can take up an inordinate amount of space on your Mac is an application cache. These caches speed up the performance of some apps. Unless they’re deleted after an app is closed, they take up large amounts of disk space. 

On the author’s Mac, application caches are the largest “junk files” around — taking up over 5 GB of storage!

Log files chew up a lot of space on your drive
Log files chew up a lot of space on your drive

System and Application Log Files

Apps and macOS also create log files. These files show when apps or functions start up and shut down, document errors, and store other information that can be useful in troubleshooting. 

While logs are helpful when an app is crashing, they start taking up an unusual amount of your storage. The good thing is that you can remove log files without any worries at any time.

Old Versions of Documents

It’s great that some apps (like Pages, Numbers, and Keynote) keep intermediate copies of your documents while you’re writing. This helps your Mac to quickly restore those documents in case of an accidental app or system shutdown, and you can even revert to previously saved versions of your docs.

Those old document versions take up a bunch of space. Clean them out regularly! 

Do you really need these language files for every app on your Mac?
Do you really need these language files for every app on your Mac?

Language Files

Did you know that many of your apps contain localization information in the form of language files? If you’re mono- or bi-lingual, it’s useful to have those localizations at hand. Your typical English speaker really doesn’t need language files for European or Asian languages and local dialects. 

Remove those localizations! If needed at some point in the future, it’s easy enough to install them.

Browser Caches

Have multiple web browsers on your Mac? Each one of those browsers stores web content locally in a cache file in order to more quickly load static web page information the next time you visit a site. 

These browser caches can chew up a lot of space on your Mac. Even if you clean your cache on a regular basis, they’ll soon be back up over 100 MB in a week or two. 

Do Those Unused Disk Images Need Spring Cleaning?

When you download a Mac app from a website rather than from the Mac App Store, the app installer usually comes in a disk image file. Some apps are good about cleaning up after installation, but most just leave the disk image file on your Mac taking up space. 

The amount of storage used by these disk images varies depending on the app, but they’re often 50 MB or more in size — some can even be in the multiple Gigabyte range!

Mail caches save attachments temporarily to disk
Mail caches save attachments temporarily to disk

Mail Caches

Do you get a lot of email with attachments? Even if nobody is sending you files, you can still get attachments in the form of logos or art used in emails. Every time you open and view one of those emails using a an email app (Mail, Outlook, or other apps), the attachments are temporarily saved to disk.

As with some of the other caches we’ve described here, mail caches can quickly take up over 100 MB of your storage. Deleting those caches doesn’t affect the original mail message or attachments, so it’s annoying that mail apps don’t automatically delete their caches.

Big Files

If you do any work with video, you likely have large files on your Mac that are filling up multiple Gigabytes of your storage. It’s often good practice to archive those files to an external drive or DVD, then erase the originals on your Mac. 

Duplicate Files

Duplicate files are another space-waster on Macs. How are duplicate files created? Usually it’s by mistake. For example, you’ve made a video and you decide to make a copy for editing, and then forget to delete the original. 

Perhaps you move image files from a camera SD card to your Mac, then load those same images into your Photos library.  Did you know that both files stay on your Mac? 

Similar photos can chew up a lot of disk space
Similar photos can chew up a lot of disk space

Similar Photos

Speaking of duplicates, how about similar photos? I love taking pictures of sunsets (see image above), but can end up with literally dozens of shots that are almost identical. It’s a very good idea to go through your photos on occasion and get rid of similar ones.

Spring Cleaning of Apps

Would you be surprised to find that apps you thought you had deleted are still hanging around on your Mac? Not every Mac app is properly removed when deleted. It’s not unusual to find apps — or supporting files — still left over from years ago. 

Not All Junk Takes Up Disk Storage

Just about everything discussed here so far takes up disk space, but poorly written or optimized apps can also hold onto your precious memory (RAM), resulting in slower than usual operation of your computer. 

How does this happen? Apps are usually good about using only the amount of RAM they need to perform a specific operation, then freeing up that RAM. We said “usually good” because not every app gives up RAM properly. 

Spring cleaning your Mac with Trend Micro Cleaner One Pro
Spring cleaning your Mac with Trend Micro Cleaner One Pro

Spring Cleaning Your Mac with Trend Micro Cleaner One Pro

We’ve told you about all of the ways that your Mac can accumulate junk. So how do you clean up your Mac and reclaim space and memory?

One of the best ways we’ve discovered to do Mac spring cleaning is to install Trend Micro Cleaner One Pro and let it do a Smart Scan (see image above). Within minutes, you’ll find out exactly where your storage space disappeared to, where those duplicate files and photos are, and so on. Better yet, Trend Micro Cleaner One Pro lets you choose which of the “junk” to eliminate forever, and what files you want to keep around.

Our next spring cleaning post is planned for next week. In it we’ll show you Trend Micro Cleaner One Pro in action. Until then, you can download a free trial or consider a one-year subscription to this powerful tool for just $14.99 for one device or $29.99 for a five-device license.

Steve Sande
the authorSteve Sande
Steve is the founder and former publisher of Apple World Today and has authored a number of books about Apple products. He's an avid photographer, an FAA-licensed drone pilot, and a really bad guitarist. Steve and his wife Barb love to travel everywhere!