By Dan Moren
June 30, 2019 9:08 AM PT
Applications Folder: DaisyDisk
If you’ve been using a Mac for any length of time, chances are you know—and have probably even used—DaisyDisk. But, on the off chance that you haven’t, allow me to extol its virtues.
Time was, you used to have carefully and vigilantly police what files you stored on your drive. My first Mac came with a 40MB internal hard drive, which meant every kilobyte mattered. These days, we all have hundreds of gigabytes, if not terabytes, of availability. But files have gotten commensurately larger as we deal with bigger applications and a truly huge amount of high-quality digital media. As internal storage has become harder to upgrade in most of our Macs, keeping an eye on disk space can still be a challenge.
That’s where DaisyDisk comes in. Not only does it help you figure out where all your disk space is going, but it presents that information in a visual format that makes it easier to see. After a quick scan of your drives, it provides a circular graph representing your file structure. You can clik through it to drill down into sub-directories, trying to figure out, for example, which part of your Library folder is eating up the bulk of that 37GB. You can even get down to the file level and use Quick Look to realize, for example, that the biggest single offender is a video that you shot a few years back.
If you want to act on that information, DaisyDisk also makes that easy as well. You can drag large files to a collection point in the lower left, getting an idea of how much total space you’ll end up freeing up, and then purge them all in one fell swoop. (That also makes it easy to go back on your decision before you take an irrevocable action, since you can remove files from the collection point as well.) I generally end up using DaisyDisk as more of a research tool than a file deletion one, since I prefer to be more of micromanager where file management is concerned.
If you’ve ever felt macOS’s built-in storage managment tools leave a bit to be desired, DaisyDisk is a good step-up. I do wish it let you, say, search for all files of a specific type or file extension, and it doesn’t provide a hand-holding approach to thing slike cache management in the same way that a utility like Cocktail does, but it’s still a valuable tool in the arsenal of anybody who’s ever wondered where all of their disk space just went.
DaisyDisk is just $10 and you can get it either from the developer’s site or from the Mac App Store.
[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The latest novel in his Galactic Cold War series of sci-fi space adventures, The Nova Incident, is available now.]