Are You Getting Startup Disk Full Warning on Mavericks (Mac OS X)? 8 Tips to Increase Space

secure empty trash

As the time passes the space on your Mac computer fills up with different files and finally we get a warning message. First, don’t worry. It is a normal process. Every PC user stores different types of files like audio, video, documents, pictures etc on his personal computer, though the size and type of these files may vary from person to person and situation to situation. For example, in the Mac machine of a photographer you’d definitely find more pictures and images related applications than other documents.

Similarly a office PC may get many of documents and emails over the time.

Day by day the disk space decreases and one day, if we don’t take necessary action, we get the following message:


Your startup disk is almost full. You need to make more space available on your startup disk by deleting files.

As soon as we get this message, it’s time to clean up the computer, remove junks and other unnecessary files and software. If you don’t take the appropriate action now, you might see a dramatic decrease in PC performance. Some programs, games and even some websites heavily rely on the available free disk space to work properly. They store few files offline to work smoothly and when we close those apps or websites, they often delete the files automatically. But if there is no space available, the performance level is greatly reduced.

Here are the few steps you can take to free up the space on Mac OS X (Mavericks 10.9).

1) Delete Unwanted Applications and Games:

Over the time we install new software but either we forget them or become lazy to remove those which are not needed any more. It is always recommended to check the installed apps after every 2-3 months and remove unneeded ones. There are different ways to delete the applications.

  • Open Applications folder. Click on the app and drag it to Trash Bin.
  • You can also right click on the app and use Move to Trash option.
  • Either, you can open Launch Pad. Click and hold on the app. After 2-3 seconds of hold, you’ll see a cross sign on the icon while the icons are in jiggle mode. Click on the cross sign to delete it.
  •  Sometimes the app comes with a built-in uninstaller. Use it first before applying the above mentioned methods.

2) Delete the Files from Download Folder:

It is very important to keep checking the download folder time to time. We ofter download the files but don’t need them after use.


3) Empty the Trash Bin:

In OS X (Mavericks 10.9), everything we delete goes into Trash Bin, though few exceptions are there. There is no option to bypass Trash Bin while deleting the files permanently.

You can bypass the Trash Bin step by using a command. But we won’t recommend it for general users.

In fact Trash Bin in OS X is not your junk or deleted files’ folder like in Windows. According to me:

It is a folder which holds those files which are not required by us any more but we may need any of these later but the possibility is very low.

You can either delete the files from Trash Bin individually or empty the whole trash bin by right click on the icon. Files erased in this manner may still be available unless the disk sectors are overwritten by other files. So, the completely and permanently process to erase the files from Trash Bin is as follows:

  • Right click on Trash Bin icon.
  • Now press the “Command” button on your keyboard.
  • Empty Trash option will convert into Secure Empty Trash.
  • Now click on it and the Trash Bin will be emptied without leaving behind any traces of the erased files.

secure erase

Keep in mind this trick will empty your whole Trash Bin permanently.

secure empty trash

4) Install the Updates:

Sometimes Mavericks automatically downloads the updates but doesn’t install it until you allow it to do so. These updates may range from few MBs to GBs in size. These files are definitely taking some extra space on your PC’s hard disk. So it is always better to install the updates as soon as possible to free up more space.

5) Check the /Application/Support folder

Some files especially related to games are stored in this folder. If you once played a game, it may still have a support folder in this directory. Check it out and remove the unwanted support folder.

6) Re-launch Apps and Clear Cache:

Some apps and websites also store the necessary files on the local storage for quick access so that we don’t have to reload them from the server. Due to continuouss usage of these apps, the size of the stored files may reach up to GBs. So, it is always recommended to quit the apps and launch them if you see any performance issue during the use.

7) Reboot Mac:

Some users, including me, don’t shut down the computer. I simply close the lid and let the device sleep. It save a lot of time when you wake up the computer. But this method also affects the performance of your PC after some time. So it is necessary to shutdown the PC properly after 2-3 weeks. It will not only improve the performance but also allow the PC to install those updates which require reboot. Some other garbage is also cleared after a reboot.

8) Clear iPhoto Trash:

As you know iPhoto App contains its own Recycle Bin. Often we delete few pictures and think they have been completed deleted from the computer, but it doesn’t happen so. The deleted files first go into the Trash and from where we have to delete them permanently. So, check the trash folder and delete all unwanted pictures and videos.

iPhoto trash

Besides these basic methods to clear up the more space on OS X, there are also some third-party apps which help to delete the remnants of the deleted apps. You can find such apps in the Mac App Store.

If you do any other method to free up the space, please share with us.

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By A. Usman

Loves new tech, especially from Apple and Google.

View all of A. Usman's posts.

3 Replies

  1. nicole mariesays:

    hello I’m having trouble with my macbook start up disk …. i keep getting errors that it is full .. when i go into the mac settings it shows that most of my storage space is taken by “other”… i have no idea what it could be and i need help freeing up some space . I’ve backup all my photos and videos onto an external hard drive and i still get this error … so if someone could give me some good advice it would be well appreciated .. thanks

  2. meeeeesays:

    deleting the trash and rebooting barely helped any, after some research however i just decided to get TheMiniDrive and move all my large media files on it. I got it because it was the cheapest option out there that wouldn’t add any extra bulk (so I can travel/pack it up without having to take it out)

  3. Itnatasays:

    I never knew we could delete the Trash bin securely. Great share.

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