The Mystery of the Missing Disk Space

Chibi (my MacBook Air) ran out of disk space almost overnight, and tells me more than half my usage can be attributed to "Others". Like that was helpful. After half an hour on Google, I managed to recover almost 30 Gb of precious disk space (Chibi only has 64Gb of flash storage). The culprits:

1. Time Machine local backups. Apparently if your back-up drive is not connected, snapshots are stored locally (i.e. on your teeny tiny startup drive). To disable, go to Terminal and key in the following command:
sudo tmutil disablelocal
Make sure to quit immediately after so you don't accidentally mess up your filesystem (e.g. wipe out your entire home directory - true story). When you open your Time Machine preferences it should look like this:


With local backups enabled, the text on the red box reads "Time Machine keeps local backups as space permits".


2. Mobile Device backups. After doing (1) I still have more than 20Gb of unaccounted for disk usage, so I downloaded this app called Disk Inventory X, which in a nutshell tells you where your disk space went:


This is the picture after the cleanup, because I was so hell bent on retrieving my disk space it didn't occur to me to take a "before" snapshot. But anyway, I did find a huge chunk of space (23Gb!) allotted to some "Documents" that are inside the MobileSync/Backup directory. These are back-ups for mobile devices and can thankfully be deleted via iTunes (Preferences -> Devices):


And now all is well again in the world.
Although I'll be lying if I say I wasn't miffed. I love Apple products because they are usually well thought of, but I can't believe they missed this issue, seeing as they've been churning out devices with limited disk space for years now.

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