How To Clean Up Lost Disk Space in MacOS High Sierra

Published Date Author: , Posted October 12th, 2017 at 10:17:46am

Reposted from https://mcbguru.blog/2017/10/12/macos-high-sierra-disk-space/

The new APFS creates snapshots during local Time Machine backups, and this can mean, especially if you’be been dealing with some large files, that when you delete them and empty the wastebasket, you don’t get your disk space back.
The key is to look at your local backups, and the easiest method for that is the tmutil command. In particular, check the list of local snapshots:

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$ tmutil listlocalsnapshots /
com.apple.TimeMachine.2017-10-06-163649
com.apple.TimeMachine.2017-10-07-065814
com.apple.TimeMachine.2017-10-11-165349
com.apple.TimeMachine.2017-10-11-19345
com.apple.TimeMachine.2017-10-11-203645
com.apple.TimeMachine.2017-10-12-003803
com.apple.TimeMachine.2017-10-12-124712
$ tmutil listlocalsnapshots /
com.apple.TimeMachine.2017-10-06-163649
com.apple.TimeMachine.2017-10-07-065814
com.apple.TimeMachine.2017-10-11-165349
com.apple.TimeMachine.2017-10-11-19345
com.apple.TimeMachine.2017-10-11-203645
com.apple.TimeMachine.2017-10-12-003803
com.apple.TimeMachine.2017-10-12-124712

These are normally managed automatically using a combination of the date/age of the backup and the space they are using compared to how much disk space you need. All this happens automatically in the background for you.
But, if you’ve just done some house cleaning, or you’ve come back from using a lot of disk space and want to free it up, you’ll need to get rid of those old snapshots. You can do them individually using:
$ tmutil deletelocalsnapshots
But it’s easier to just purge the snapshots and specify how many you many want to get rid of. That will leave you with some recent snapshots but still recover some diskspace, for that, use this command:
$ tmutil thinlocalsnapshots [purgeamount] [urgency]
That [purgeamount] is how much space you want to recover in the process, and the [urgency] is a number (1-4) of how quickly you want the space recovered. Both are optional.
For me, I just ran the thinning and that left me with:

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$ tmutil thinlocalsnapshots /
Thinned local snapshots:
2017-10-06-163649
2017-10-07-065814
$ tmutil thinlocalsnapshots /
Thinned local snapshots:
2017-10-06-163649
2017-10-07-065814

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