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How to Clean Up Files for a Faster Mac

This week's photo tip is for all my Mac peeps out there... woot woot! Yes, I'm a mac girl.  It's true... I used to say I would never ever EVER get a Mac (much to B's dismay.)  Then one day my brand new PC with Windows Vista (aka the devil) kept crashing Photoshop.  I simply could. not. work.  Desperate, I bought a Macbook Pro.  I've been in love ever since.

Now here's the thing - my Macs are awesome, but sometimes they get stupid slow.  Like I'd rather stick a fork in my eye slow. It's the curse of being a photographer's computer: bogged down with insane amounts of high resolution images and HD video files.  I would break down and finally delete my unwanted files but it still didn't help.  Eventually I figured out that with Macs, just because you empty your trash bin doesn't mean it's gone for good.  In fact, you need to secure empty trash to actually erase those files so they don't take up space.  Or you need to erase the free space on your Mac.

Confused yet?  No worries! Here's a quick video tip for giving your Mac more pep in it's step :)



Joana - Great tip! Thanks! =)

Leslie L - As a new Mac user, I really appreciate this! :) Never heard of it before.

AKP Photography - Thank you sooo much for sharing :D

Ive had my mac for 1 year and 6 months and i feel its a lot slower then when i got it. Im a photographer so i delete a lot of RAW files.

So this video tutorial was just the thing i needed :D

Brandy - You’re very welcome ladies! I’m still going to have to upgrade my mac soon (with memory or just a new one) as it is a few years old… but this certainly helps!

TB Photo - Thank you so much for this tip! I have had my mac for a couple of months, and have been so frustrated because of the speed. Now my mac is back to normal again:)

Lauren - Thank you so much! This has been my frustration since January, and I was about ready to break down and buy a new computer (even though mine is less than two years old) but you have saved me!

Tami - Thank you for the awesome video! I am on my way to clearing up the free space…now if it was only that easy in life! ;)

Chetan - Great tip! Thanks a lot for sharing. I never used that “Disk Utility App”, but seems it is very useful.

Brandy - you’re very welcome! I get a lot of random emails from people saying this doesn’t do anything but I’m one of the few that believes every little bit helps. When I zero out the files my mac does run faster!

So Your Mac Is Slow | Tales of a Peanut | Tales Of A Peanut - […] my go-to for all questions…I first checked out my pins on Pinterest.  Turns out I had pinned a Bella Pop video on cleaning up your Mac a while ago and it suggested using Secure Empty Trash instead of just Empty Trash to really free up […]

Nicolette - I have been a Mac user for 10 years and never knew this! Thanks so much.

Brandy - You’re very welcome!

kimberly - Thank you for this! I did not know how to do this. I hope this will help – my DNG files slow my mac down so much. Much appreciative. And easy! :)

Brandy - you’re very welcome Kimberly!

Erin - Help! The video says that it has been deleted. My Mac desperately needs all the help it can get! Can you please repost?

Erin - Nevermind. Not sure what happened but it works now :)

Brandy - Thanks for letting me know Erin! Every little bit helps. I need to do this to my Mac again soon :)

Kelly - Thank you so much Brandy. Finding your blog and learning this very valuable and useful tip made was perfect timing.

Renata Williamson - Is there any way to see the pictures I have put there before I delete them? Maybe get them back?

Brandy - Hi Renata! Thanks so much for your question! Well if you are in the “trash” window on your mac and have the file highlighted, you can usually press the space bar and it will show you the image in finder I believe. The only way I know to get the file back is to move the file from trash back to where you want it (click and drag) before you actually delete it. After deleting images in trash they may *or may not* be retrievable depending on if you do secure erase trash or not. That’s where it goes past my general knowledge. :) Hope this helps!

Brandy - So happy to hear that you enjoyed this post Kelly! Thank you for your comment and for reading my blog! :) xo B

Toni Hollister-Groff - It doesn’t give me the option to click on erase free space. Any ideas?

Alice - I used your great Erase files tip several times and was very happy! Now, for some reason, when I begin the process, it works for a couple of hours and then says Erase failed because it was unable to create a temporary file. Have you ever run into this? What have you done to help it?

Brandy - Hi Alice! Unfortunately no, I have never had this issue. It might be you have a lot of things going on the same time? Totally just a guess though. Sorry I can’t be more help!

Alyse - My little bar at the bottom told me less than 1 minute, worked for about 3 minutes and then said “secure erase free space failed” “couldn’t create temporary file”. Any idea what I could be doing wrong? Thanks for the great tutorial!

Brandy - Hi Alyse, this has happened to me before. I can’t remember though why it happened. My guess is I had too many other applications running at once? Unfortunately though I am not sure.

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