Sweep the Mac’s disk clean and free up space

The 11in and 13in MacBook Air and the Retina 13in MacBook pro all have a tiny 128GB solid state disk drive. That is a very small amount of storage for a modern computer that works with digital photos, movies and music. Even if you  pay extra for a 256GB disk, you will soon run out of space. OmniDiskSweeper will tell you where all the space is being used.

OmniDiskSweeper is a free utility that enables you to explore the disk drive and view the folders and files it contains. The difference between this and Finder is that it displays the total storage space used by each folder and the file/folder listing is automatically sorted by size.

This enables you to instantly see which folders are using the most storage space and knowing this, you can then do something about it, such as deleting big files or moving them to external storage like a USB disk drive.

Download OmniDiskSweeper and double click the .dmg file. Open a Finder window and drag the app to the Applications folder.

Click OmniDiskSweeper to run it. OS X security kicks in and it will not let you run it straight away because it did not come from the Apple Mac Store. However, this app is completely safe, so ignore the warning and open it anyway.

OS X security

A list of the internal and external disk drives attached to the Mac is shown and you just click the one to explore.


A new window opens and t slowly builds up a list of the folders and sizes. It can take several minutes to do this and little appears to be happening on the screen, so be patient.

OmniDiskSweeper shows space hogging files and folders

Once it has finished, the folder that is using the most disk space is at the top in the first column, with increasingly smaller folders and files below. It works just like Finder’s column view and selecting a folder in the first column displays the contents in the next one. Selecting one there, shows its contents in the next and so on.

The folder and file sizes enable you to view the amount of space required. This view of the disk contents enables you to quickly find the largest folders and files in a way that would be difficult with Finder. Just drill down and find what it hogging the disk space.

There are few features, but there is a delete button if you find files and folders that you want to remove. A better way to deal with space hogs though, is to double click the folder. This opens it in Finder and you can then choose how to deal with it, such as deleting it or moving it to external storage.

OmniDiskSweeper is an old utility that has been around for years, but it is free and it is still very useful. It is even more important with today’s MacBooks with small solid state disks that easily run out of storage space and it works fine on OS X Yosemite.



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