Check the disk space on the Apple Mac and analyze storage usage. See which folders and files are using the most space, then find and delete unwanted and junk files using Disk Xray for macOS.
If you want to check the amount of storage space used on on the Mac, there are built in facilities. Open System Settings, select General in the sidebar, click Storage and the Mac’s SSD usage is analyzed and displayed. It shows the total amount of storage, how much is used and how much free space is remaining.
It also shows and what the storage is used for. Just let the mouse hover over one of the coloured sections in the usage bar. There is also a list of the largest users of storage and this may be a category like Applications or an individual app.
This is useful, but it is not really detailed enough and it is still hard to see where all the disk space is being used and what is using it. There are still MacBooks on sale that have just 256 GB drives. Some people can manage with that amount of storage, but some can’t. Some think they can and discover that they run out of space. Storage space is a critical issue for them and you need to keep an eye on usage and avoid wasting it.
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Analyze disk space with Disk Xray
Disk Xray is available in the Mac App Store. I originally looked at the Disk Xray Lite free version back in 2018, but now there is just Disk Xray and I thought it was worth revisiting in 2023. It can be installed for free. Is it permanently free? Is it a trial? It is not clear. I haven’t paid, so let’s see what it can do.
Disk Xray has three functions and the first is a utility that analyzes the storage space, the internal SSD boot drive, and it produces a report that shows where and what is using the space. Click the folder icon at the right side of the Location box and it can be set to any folder, even the whole disk. It is most useful for analyzing your home folder, which is where all your files are located.
It lists the folders it finds sorted by space used with the biggest at the top. There are columns that show the number of files they contain, the size, percentage usage, and date.
The colours correspond to the colours of the toolbar icons for Audio, Pictures, Movies, Documents and Others. You can see at a glance that the Documents folder in the screenshot contains pictures (blue), documents (purple) and other files (red). This is a useful way to show the space usage.
The folders can be clicked to expand them and then they show the subfolders they contain. You can see in the screenshot above that Downloads contains the Site backup folder and other files.
Those toolbar category icons are clickable so you can focus on a single file type, such as documents, audio, pictures or movies if you want. You can keep digging down to find which folders are using all the disk space and Disk Xray Lite is a great tool for exploring the disk usage.
There is an option to scan for invisible or hidden items, and to scan package contents. Include hidden items and the storage used in the Library folder is shown for example.
Packages are treated like a single object. An app is actually a folder and the Photos library is a folder too. Disk Xray can open them and analyze them like any other folder.
Ctrl+click a file in the Disk Xray list and there are a number of useful actions, like Open, Get Info, Quick Look, Show in Finder, Copy, Rename and Move to Trash. These enable you to check what files are, where they are located and, if you don’t need them, delete them to free up storage space.
Find duplicate files with Disk Xray
The second function of Disk Xray is the duplicate file finder. Select the tool, click the green button to start scanning and it should produce a list of files that are identical, byte for byte. Filenames and dates are ignored and the contents must be the same.
For some reason, possibly a bug, but maybe a limitation of the free version I was using, this function did nothing on my M1 Mac running macOS Ventura. Let me know if it works for you.
Find and clear junk files with Disk Xray
The third and final tool scans the disk for unnecessary files and junk so that you can delete them to clear storage space on your Mac’s drive.
After a quick scan, unimportant files you can do without are listed. These include the Bin (Trash), log files, application and system caches, downloads and web browser caches and cookies. You can expand the sections, view the files, select them and delete them. There is a useful auto-selection tool that selects items older than a certain date.
I found that it would not clear the Bin (Trash), but it did clear other items). As with the duplicator finder, it is not clear to me whether this is a bug or a limitation of the free version from the App Store.
I like this app a lot and it is useful for analysing disk space usage and finding what is using all the storage space on the Mac’s drive. This is a utility worth having on your Mac if it has a small drive and you need to monitor drive space and clean up.
Some features, like finding duplicates, did not work and it is unclear whether this was a bug or a limitation of the free app. Even without it, Disk Xray is a useful app to have on your Mac.