Here’s Why People Think They Have More Free Disk Space After Updating Their Macs to macOS Sierra

As people have been upgrading their Macs to macOS Sierra, I’ve heard a number of people say that they’ve got 10, or ever 30 GB more space than before. When they look in the Finder, they see a certain amount of free space on their startup volumes, and that number is much higher than it was before the upgrade.

Unfortunately, it’s an illusion.

Here’s an example. My MacBook has a 256 SSD, and here’s what I see if I examine its storage:

Purgeable1

Note that, on the left, the disk claims to have 150.8 GB free. I’ve hovered over the free space section, and it’s 146.17 GB. If I hover over the section just to the left, the white with hashmarks, you see this:

Purgeable2

That’s 4.64 GB of purgeable space. What exactly is purgeable space? It’s anything that Apple thinks you can remove. This may include files in the trash, or storage that can be “optimized” in iTunes.

Optimize storage

In my case, it just so happens that I have 4.42 GB of TV shows in my iTunes library:

Itunes tv shows

There’s a small difference between that amount and the total purgeable amount of my MacBook.

Finder storageThat’s nearly the amount of purgeable space on my drive. If I were to delete those files, then I would have almost the amount of free space that the Finder shows.

So that free space you think you’ve recovered? You haven’t. It’s potential free space that you could recover if you follow all of Apple’s recommendations. This does not include potential savings of storing your Desktop and Documents folders in the cloud. On my iMac, where my Documents folder is about 8 GB, I only see about 2 GB of purgeable space. So it’s not clear what this space consists of. But if you seem to have a lot of free space, it’s most likely because of movies or TV shows from the iTunes Store that Apple thinks you can re-download.

It’s worth noting that my iMac tells me that I can save more than 12 GB by removing instruments and lessons from Garage Band.

Garage band space

Yet Garage Band only uses about 2 GB for those files, and if I click Open Garage Band, the app opens, but I see no way to reclaim that space.

6 thoughts on “Here’s Why People Think They Have More Free Disk Space After Updating Their Macs to macOS Sierra

  1. I deleted Garageband years ago, and was wondering why Sierra told me I still had more than 2 GB of Garageband files. This article was helpful in finding some “hidden” Garageband folders: https://www.tekrevue.com/tip/delete-garageband/
    After I removed these folders, Sierra doesn’t show any Garageband content anymore in about this Mac.

    • Thanks, I found 9 GB in the /Library/Application Support/Logic folder. I have no idea how they got there or when. I do recall downloading about 2 GB of loops and instruments once, but at the time, the download process didn’t give any progress or say how much was being downloaded.

  2. I deleted Garageband years ago, and was wondering why Sierra told me I still had more than 2 GB of Garageband files. This article was helpful in finding some “hidden” Garageband folders: https://www.tekrevue.com/tip/delete-garageband/
    After I removed these folders, Sierra doesn’t show any Garageband content anymore in about this Mac.

    • Thanks, I found 9 GB in the /Library/Application Support/Logic folder. I have no idea how they got there or when. I do recall downloading about 2 GB of loops and instruments once, but at the time, the download process didn’t give any progress or say how much was being downloaded.

  3. no , it is not illusion …
    when I was on Yosemite I had 28GB free space , but when I upgraded to Sierra I get 130GB free space and no iCloud stuff .
    I don’t know what is going on , but I checked my videos and I can say most of them (if not all ) is there .

  4. no , it is not illusion …
    when I was on Yosemite I had 28GB free space , but when I upgraded to Sierra I get 130GB free space and no iCloud stuff .
    I don’t know what is going on , but I checked my videos and I can say most of them (if not all ) is there .

Leave a Reply to maliohammad Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.