3 of the Best Disk Space Analyzers for Mac OS X
It’s often only a matter of time before Mac users wind up seeing the dreaded “startup disk almost full” warning message in Mac OS X, which often leads to a frantic dash around the Downloads folder as users trash unnecessary files to attempt to free up disk space. While there’s nothing wrong with going on a manual mission of tracking down where your disk storage vanished to, there are an entire category of disk space analyzer apps available which make the job easier, offering a visual experience that is quickly scannable and actionable.
We’ll cover three of the best and most popular disk space analysis tools available for the Mac, each of which is either free or offers a free trial version to give a good test run with.
A big thing to remember with using these disk analyzer apps is that if you shouldn’t delete anything without discretion, as they sweep the entire drive and inevitably display system files, system folders, and other necessary components of Mac OS X and apps, along with personal documents and accumulated cruft. It’s a good idea to back up the Mac with Time Machine before using these apps if you’re planning on performing some mass file removal, it’s always better to be safe than sorry and lose files or have to reinstall Mac OS X if you deleted critical system files willy-nilly.
DaisyDisk is by far the most attractive storage analysis utility, with a beautiful and intuitive interface that makes finding disk clutter a matter of navigating an interactive colorful wheel. In terms of visualization of your file data, DaisyDisk is superior to anything else available, and it’s also very fast.
- Get Daisy Disk from the developer here (free trial available, otherwise $10)
The free version of DaisyDisk is highly functional and will sweep your drive and allow simple quick access to any files or folders found (right-click on anything and choose ‘Show in Finder’), and you could get away with just using the free version if you wanted to, but if you enjoy DaisyDisk enough and find it to be a helpful companion to your Mac experience, the full version is money well spent.
OmniDiskSweeper is great and the interface is quite similar to using the Finder in Column view, making it very easy to navigate to large files and folders throughout the file system hierarchy. The files are shown in descending order by size, so it’s very easy to figure out what’s eating up storage space.
OmniDiskSweeper has long been one of my favorite free utilities available for the Mac, and I use it often for my own computer and when trying to figure out what’s eating the disk space of other Macs I may encounter. We have discussed using OmniDiskSweeper before here on multiple occasions, it’s a great tool.
Disk Inventory X
Disk Inventory X has been around on the Mac for quite some time, it is an oldie but goodie. Though the interface could use some updating, the functionality remains high and the app works great for discovering large blocks of data (for example, a gazillion photos or zip archives). Perhaps the only issue is that in modern versions of Mac OS X, files can be assigned to the app they open with rather than their file type, which may lead to some confusion. Nonetheless, Disk Inventory X is free too, so if you decide it’s not your cup of tea you’re out nothing but a few mb of bandwidth.
A significant perk of DiskInventoryX having been around for ages is that it’s widely supported on much earlier versions of Mac OS X, so if you’re working on an older Mac with earlier system software, this may be the solution you’re looking for.
Bonus: The Finder!
If you don’t want to download any third party utilities, or perhaps you can’t for whatever reason, the Mac search function within the Finder is able to find large files in Mac OS X too. You’ll just need to set a minimum file size to look for, and away it goes.
The Finder search function works reasonably well for this purpose, but for many Mac users they will find one of the above third party utilities to be easier to quickly scan for large groups of files on a drive with.
Know of any other great utilities to analyze disk storage space and files on a Mac? Let us know in the comments!