One of the biggest but least publicized changes with the release of macOS 10.13 High Sierra was that Apple switched to the new APFS file system for Macs with SSD drives. APFS basically balances file space more “intelligently” on your Mac particularly when it comes to Time Machine snapshots and backups. Although APFS can help manage disk space more efficiently, it can also be something of a curse because it actually makes it harder to accurately¬†check storage on your Mac and recover disk space being hogged by local snapshots.

If you’ve deleted some large files in High Sierra and yet still find that it hasn’t freed up any disk space, it’s probably due to Time Machine snapshots. macOS will eventually delete them but only in its own sweet time which isn’t convenient if you need that storage space immediately. Here then is an easy way to fully recover storage space on High Sierra and delete hidden purgeable files.

  1. Download and run DaisyDisk. The developers behind DaisyDisk are one of the few to have studied the new APFS system in-depth. DaisyDisk has long been the best utility to find large files or recover disk space on Mac but now it has been updated to find and delete “purgeable space” on High Sierra that is no longer visible in macOS. In previous versions of macOS Sierra, going to “About This Mac > Storage” clearly showed the amount of purgeable space on your Mac:storage space problem high sierra - macos sierra disk utilityIn High Sierra however, Purgeable space is no longer displayed. It is simply factored into System files which isn’t very helpful and makes it appear that High Sierra is taking-up a huge chunk of hard drive space.recover disk space mac high sierra - purgeable files Purgeable space mainly consists of local snapshots which your Mac makes periodically. It also contains sleep images, caches and temporary system files. DaisyDisk can locate and delete these files instantly.
  2. When you complete a scan of your hard drive with DaisyDisk, you’ll see a sector called “Hidden space”. If you expand that, you will see “Purgeable Space”.¬† high sierra disk space issues - purgeable spaceAlthough macOS will eventually delete these purgeable items on its own, it may take some time. Daisy Disk however allows you to force a purge of the files so that you can reclaim this space immediately. Drag the purgeable space item into the DaisyDisk Collector and it will forceably delete it. delete purgeable space high sierra - daisydiskNote that this may take a few minutes to complete depending on the size of the file.
  3. When finished, DaisyDisk will recalculate the new amount of purgeable space. Note that it may not delete everything because macOS may not be able to release all of it and it will also immediately start rebuilding temporary files as soon as it’s deleted.

So if you’ve been struggling to recover disk space in High Sierra, it’s probably purgeable files that are the problem. Although macOS High Sierra no longer allows you to find and delete space hogging things local snapshots, DaisyDisk provides a quick and easy way to delete them.

Remember though that the best way of making sure you maintain plenty of free disk space on your Mac is to backup and remove large files that you don’t regularly need to an external hard drive.

If you have any other problems recovering storage space on your Mac hard drive in High Sierra, let us know in the comments below and we’ll try to help.

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