Welcome to the "Apple laptop: Managing storage" course. You'll learn how to help make sure you don't run out of space for files, how to delete unwanted files and how to safely get them back if you make a mistake. You'll also learn how to safely remove a USB storage device from your computer.
Your computer stores all files, data and other information on its internal hard drive, which can only fit a limited number of files. When it gets too full the computer can start to slow down and not work as well as it should, so it's a good idea to keep an eye on your internal storage.
If you are running low on storage space, you can delete any files you don't need.
[eSafety tip] Don't download any app that offers to clean up or optimise space on your computer for you. It will almost always be a scam or contain a virus that makes your computer less safe to use.
You can see how much internal storage your computer's hard drive has left. Look for the Apple icon at the top left of the screen and click on it. In the menu that appears click on System Settings, and the System Settings panel will appear.
From the options on the left side of the panel, click General. And then on the right side of the panel, click Storage. At the top of this Storage panel, you'll see a bar graph that shows how much space is being used on your computer and how much free space is left. The coloured bars on the graph show the amount of storage being used by different apps and file types, and you can rollover these to see how many gigabytes of storage each one is using up.
Under Recommendations, you'll see some options for freeing up space on your computer. Store in iCloud helps you save space on your computer by storing files in iCloud instead. You can learn more about iCloud in another Be Connected course.
If you watch Apple TV on your computer, the Optimise Storage feature automatically removes, old TV shows and movies that you've already watched. You can click Optimise and follow the prompts to take advantage of this feature.
Let's look at the Empty Bin automatically option. This feature automatically deletes files that have been in your computer's Bin for more than 30 days. This can be a handy way to regularly and automatically free up space on your computer, so if you want to do this, click Turn On and follow the steps.
At the bottom of the Storage panel, you'll see a list of some applications and folders on your computer that are taking up the most space. To the right of each item, you'll see how many gigabytes of space it's using and an information icon, which looks like an I. Click the information icon to view a list of the individual files that are taking up storage space in that application. If you don't need any of these files, you can click a file to select it and click the Delete button at the bottom of the list. A pop-up box will appear to confirm you want to delete the file. If you do, click Delete once more and the file will be removed from your computer, freeing up space. Click Done to return to the Storage panel.
You can't accidentally delete, any important system files here, so this is a safe way to delete individual files you don't need in your Messages, Music, Photos or Podcasts apps. You should not use this method to delete any applications, as they might be difficult to reinstall if you accidentally delete them. Click the red dot in the top left to close System Settings and return to the desktop.
Let's look at how to safely delete an item from the desktop of your computer. For this demonstration we're going to delete a file from our desktop to free up space, since we don't need it anymore.
Use your mouse to right click on the file. A right-click menu will appear, and you'll see the Move to Bin option near the top. Click on it to delete the file. Whenever you move an item to the Bin, it'll stay there until it's permanently deleted. So, if you've accidentally moved a file to the bin, don't worry, you can get it back right away.
To retrieve a file from the Bin, move the cursor to the row of icons at the bottom. This is known as the Dock and it's where you'll find icons for some of your computer's most used applications. The Bin icon is at the far right. Click on it now. A Finder panel of the Bin will open, showing all the items that are in the bin. They might be shown in a list or as icons. Here's the file we just sent to the Bin. To get the file back, right click on it and the right-click menu will appear. Click on Put Back. Whenever you put back an item, it will return to the place you deleted it from. In our demonstration, a new Finder panel of the desktop will open, showing all the items that are on the desktop. The file has disappeared from the Bin and reappeared back on the desktop. Click on the red dot in the top left of the Finder panels you have open to close them.
To delete an item permanently, after it's been moved to the Bin, you'll need to empty the Bin. Let's look at how to do this now. Find the Bin icon in the Dock once more. If it looks like it has rubbish in it, this means it contains files that can be deleted. Right click on the Bin icon and the right-click menu will appear. Look for Empty Bin. Before you click it, be very sure there are no items in the Bin that you actually want to keep. When you're ready, click Empty Bin. A pop-up box will appear, asking you to confirm you want to permanently erase the items in the Bin. Click Empty Bin to confirm. If you look back down at the Dock, you'll see the Bin's icon has changed to an empty bin.
To finish up this course, let's look at how to move items from your computer onto a USB storage device to help you save space on your computer. A USB device is a safe and easy way to transfer and store files and folders. To start, you'll need to insert your USB storage device into one of the USB ports on your computer, which are usually located behind the screen. You may need a USB adaptor depending on the model of computer and type of USB device you have. When the USB device is successfully plugged in, it will appear as an icon on your desktop.
[eSafety tip] To avoid viruses, only use a USB storage device that's brand new or hasn't been shared with anyone else. You can buy them from shops and supermarkets.
For this demonstration, we're going to move the Gardening folder and its files onto the USB. Then we'll delete the folder from the computer to free up storage space.
Locate the Finder icon on the far left of the Dock and click on it. The Finder panel will open. On the left, there's a list of some of the folders on your computer where files can be saved. The USB storage device is located in the list on the left, under Locations. The icon and the name of the USB device may be different on your computer.
Click on the icon for the USB device and the right side of the Finder panel, will change to show any files that are already on it. In our demonstration, the panel is blank, which means the USB doesn't have any files saved to it. We're going to copy the Gardening folder from the computer to the USB device, by clicking and dragging it from the desktop onto to the USB. Position the cursor over the Gardening folder and press and hold the left mouse button. Before releasing the mouse button, drag the folder until it's on top of the Finder panel. Now, lift your finger to release the click and drop the folder onto the USB device. If you only have a few files, they will finish copying in a flash. If you have lots of files, you'll see a progress bar and an estimate of how long it will take.
Since the USB is an external device, your computer will make a copy of the folder, rather than move it. The Gardening folder is still on the desktop and there's now a copy of it on the USB device too. To free up storage space on our computer, we're going to delete the folder from the desktop. Right click on the Gardening folder on the desktop to show the right-click menu. From the options that appear, click on Move to Bin to delete it from the desktop and transfer it to the Bin. To completely remove the file from your computer, right click on the Bin icon, select Empty Bin from the list. A pop-up box will appear. Select Empty Bin once more to confirm.
When you've finished copying files, it's important not to just unplug the USB stick right away or your files might be damaged. To make sure that doesn't happen, we need to eject it safely. Look for the USB device's name and icon on the left of the Finder panel. The Eject device icon is to the right of the USB device's name and looks like an arrow pointing upwards. Click on this icon, to eject the USB device. After a moment, the Finder panel will close and the icon for the USB will disappear from the desktop. The USB device has been ejected and you can safely unplug it from your computer.
You should now know how to keep your computer from running out of space, how to delete unwanted files and retrieve them if you make a mistake, and how to safely remove a USB stick from your computer.
If you're unsure about any steps, you can rewind the video or click the chapter headings to jump to the start of a chapter. If you're ready to move on, there are many other courses to explore on Be Connected.