March 19, 2023
Spring is coming – and now it’s time for some cleaning!
Unlike the physical space we exist in, keeping things clean and orderly in your digital world is a little more tenuous. You’re not sure what to keep, what to toss, is it backed up, and all that fun. Taking a gander of how much hard drive space is available, then going through your files… There are better things to do with your time, now that spring is (almost) here.
So – I’ve found the easiest way to handle this non-fun task is to break it up into smaller chunks and handle one thing at a time. Of course, once you finish, making the effort to do it more often will make it more palatable and less of a chore.
Here are the places where no longer needed files can accumulate:
• Desktop: The good thing about files on your desktop is that they’re in plain sight. Here, you can either trash them, file them where they belong, or, if they’re stuff you’re currently working on, leave it there until that phase is finished.
• Downloads Folder (located within your HOME folder): This is where the items you downloaded over the years reside. Things like Zoom installers, American Express statements, and photos you’ve downloaded. Some of these files (pictures, for instance can be imported into Photos, while others, such as installers and no longer relevant bank statements can be dragged into the trash.
• Documents Folder (located either within your HOME folder or within your ICLOUD folder): Not just a clever name, this is where your documents (for the most part) are stored. A lot of documents get filed in here by default, and once again, like downloads, many of them may no longer be relevant. One huge file that may be lurking about in there is the MICROSOFT USER DATA folder. If you’ve given up on Office 2008 and Office 2011, that folder is no longer needed.
• Pictures Folders (located within your HOME folder): This folder can be a storage hog – because quite often, scanned documents and photos end up here. And if you’ve upgraded from iPhoto to Photos, the derelict iPhoto library could be gobbling up gigabytes of valuable space.
And if you’re braver than most:
• Library Folder: This is going where angels fear to tread. The Library folder is a hidden folder for a reason. Mess with the wrong directory and it’s big trouble. BUT – if you dare, there are a couple of places to check out. First of all, the CACHES folder. You can delete everything in there (but NOT the folder itself) – and quite often that helps speed up the computer. Also, in the APPLICATION SUPPORT folder, there’s MOBILE SYNC. That folder contains backups of iPhones and iPad that have been synced to that computer. Unfortunately, they’re not listed by name (only by a series of random numbers), so you can’t see “which” devices are backed up there, but by the “date modified,” you can make an accurate assertion of whether it’s a current device or one that’s long gone.
And, of course, don’t forget the coup de grâce: empty the trash (pull down the FINDER menu and select EMPTY TRASH) after you’ve done all this.