How Much Of Free Space Does My MacBook Require To Operate Smoothly?

Does your MacBook operate slowly, making you wait endlessly while you open an application or start the web browser? Does the rainbow cursor frequently appear on your screen?

What could be the reason?
The three common reasons include an almost full startup drive, insufficient RAM and hardware failure.

Having low amount of free space can drastically slow down your system. Your Mac needs free space for multitasking. An adequate amount of free space is required to create swap space to manage memory use and thus enable multitasking. In addition, many individual applications need some disk space for temporary storage of data.

Keeping your drive as much free as possible can increase the performance of your device. It is recommended that you keep a minimum of 15% of your startup drive free at all times. If you feel that space is running low on your drive, it is time that you opt for a larger drive or begin offloading your data to other external drives.

Why did you choose 15% as a Bare Minimum?
This value ensures that basic OS X or macOS maintenance scripts will have free drive space to run. This includes the OS’s built-in disk defragmentation system, memory swap space, and enough space to create cache and temp files when your Mac starts up, while still leaving room for basic applications, such as email and web browsers.

This is the minimum amount of free space that must be maintained for your computer to run basic applications and does not guarantee the performance of processor intensive applications such as graphics or audio mixing.

Free Up Disk Space
You can free up disk space by copying files to other drives, burning them to CDs or DVDs, storing them on USB flash drives or the cloud, or in some cases, by simply deleting the unwanted files. Check your Downloads folder first since it may contain lots of files that have completed their purpose. Documents folder may also hold old and outdated files. Next, have a look at the Pictures, Movies, and Music folders. Any unwanted or duplicates lying around?

What About SSDs? Do They Need More Free Space?
Yes, they may, depending on the specific architecture of the SSD you’re using. SSDs usually require a large amount of free space for its controller to perform garbage collection, the process that resets block of data for reuse. This process requires entire blocks of data to be rewritten to unused blocks on the SSD. Assuming that you’re using TRIM or an equivalent system for garbage collection, 15% would do well.

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