One of the beautiful characteristics of the Mac is that it reads like a book—at least from an American perspective. The overall design encourages the user to read left to right and top to bottom. Thus, the logical place to start is the top left and there we naturally find an .

The Apple Menu

As Apple represents the whole system, the Apple menu contains commands relevant in any context that act on the computer and its applications. I’ll provide more details in a future episode.

The first command in the Apple menu, like any application, is “About,” and is an opportunity to learn what lies inside your Mac.

About This Mac

On any Mac running macOS 10.10 or later, the About This Mac window immediately reveals the name and version of macOS, Mac model, and various other details about its specifications. (Versions 10.7–10.9 require clicking a More Info… button to reveal the same summary window.)

About Storage

In the Storage section, you can easily learn the total capacity and available space of your main storage drive as well as how much space various general categories of data are using. This histogram is arranged in order of categories taking the most to least storage. If other drives are connected to your Mac, each will have an equivalent entry below the first.

Storage Management

Click Manage… to reveal a more detailed account of what is taking up space on your computer. The first stop on this journey is Recommendations, which includes a handful of possible ways to reduce storage usage, especially useful when constrained.

On the sidebar, you can additionally see an alphabetical list of various types of data that are using storage on my Mac. Among the larger categories on my Mac, iTunes is my music library, Photos is my photo library, and iOS Files is a backup of my iPhone.

Documents, Downloads & Organizing

In the Storage Management window, click Documents and you can learn about Large Files and Downloads. In File Browser, you’ll see the folders in your Home directory, sorted by size, and can browse through your hierarchy therein. (Don’t have a hierarchy? Let’s book a session to discuss the value of an organized file system.)

One of the first areas of discussion with clients, especially those suffering from full drives, is Downloads. My suggested practice with Downloads is that you immediately consume what you download (read, install, import, etc.) and then file what you need to keep or trash what you don’t.

Take some time to review your Downloads and see how much space you can clear by deleting what you no longer need. You may find duplicates, applications you installed, photos to import into your library, and more.