Reclaim Disk Space on a Mac by Periodically Clearing Out ~/Downloads

Mar 23, 2011 - 8 Comments


See that screenshot? That’s my Macs Downloads folder measuring in at a whopping 26.18GB and begging for deletion. I’m a pretty savvy individual but I’ve somehow neglected to periodically delete the contents of ~/Downloads and it grew to include over 7,000 files and consume 10% of my overall disk space.

Here’s the worst part about this: the majority of that space was taken up by music files, including songs that have already been added to iTunes. In other words I needlessly had two copies of tons of music. Oops.

The moral of the story here is don’t forget to check on your ~/Downloads folder from time to time, it grows a lot more than you’d expect. If you want a super fast way to do this, this tip is great: hit Command+Spacebar to enter Spotlight, type “Downloads” then hit Command+i to bring up the Get Info window.

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Posted by: William Pearson in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Reb says:

    so to keep it minimal: we should delete some files if they take up so much diskspace :)

    btw there is an option in itunes for not duplicating media files once they are added

  2. Joseph says:

    By “downloads” he means the folder you keep your porn in. :D

  3. Parakeet says:

    26GB?? how does that happen? LOL you must be downloading a lot of … something

  4. Antony Watts says:

    So, don’t use a Downloads folder at all. Send everything to your Desktop – that will quickly remind you to Trash un-needed files!

  5. Mike Reys says:

    I added this to my crontab:
    0 * * * * find /Users/mreys/Library/Logs -mtime +30 -type f -exec rm -rf {} \;

    I also added the following to my crontab to get rid of my mail downloads (they remain there even if you immediately open the attachments, they don’t go to /var/tmp or something)

    0 * * * * find “/Users/mreys/Library/Mail Downloads” -mtime +7 -type f -exec rm -rf {} \;

  6. [...] common pit of enormous files is the user Downloads folder, when using the file size search don’t be surprised if you run into a fair amount of .dmg and [...]

  7. [...] user downloads folder is notorious for growing gigantic when left unchecked for a while, and it’s often the easiest pickings. Jump to your [...]

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