This article focusses on OS X developers that have installed a series of development tools such as Xcode and Docker and finding they are very quickly burning through storage space.

OS X Library folder

On OS X the library folder is used by installed applications to store settings and other necessary data for the applications to run.

Overtime this folder can get very large and often for reasons unknown to the user. Below are some of the issue I have had over the last few months.


It turns out Xcode can take up a serious amount of disk space. With new releases of iOS, OS X and WatchOS, Xcode will periodically install newer SDKs, documentation and iOS simulators. As these releases move foreward, older versions are no longer required (unless working on backwards compatible apps) and can be removed.

The documentation does not tend to be too large in size and I believe these can be more conveniently removed from within Xcode itself but I found that some of the docsets I had within my Library folder were not listed in Xcode and I had to delete them manually. Don’t ask me why as I have no clue either. For those pesky docsets, these can be found within the following directory:


As for the simulators (each about 1GB in size), they can be found within the following directory:

~/Library/Application Support/iPhone Simulator

If you have been using Xcode for many years, you may have noticed that more recent versions have ditched the snapshot system, presumably because Git is a far more accepted solution. However migrating to a newer version of Xcode will not remove these files from the system. This could be seen as a good feature, but for those that simply no longer want nor need these files they are potentially wasting space.

Deleting snapshots is simple. They appear to all be stored within a sparseimage file and can be deleted together. This file tends not to be large but it is wasting space nonetheless considering the snapshot feature has been completely removed. They can be found within the following directory:

/Library/Application Support/Developer/Shared/SnapshotRepository.sparseimage


Docker is a fairly new technology providing a containerisation platform capable of packaging up an application or service alongside all of its dependencies within a complete filesystem. I have been using this for a while and it is a great tool for both development and production environments. By default docker logs the the standard output from each container into a file. If your containers produce a lot of output these logs can grow quite large. This is not good news, and I have been in a position where I have a log file over 40GB in size which had accumulated in only 1 week.

The best solution to prevent this in future would be to keep the amount that is printed to standard output to a minimum within each container. However as an immediate fix the log file can simply be deleted and Docker will just recreate it when needed. The log file can be found within the following directory:


Is There an Easier Way?

If trawling through your filesystem for old, unnecessary files is too much hassle, and lets face it, it is there is a much easier way to discover files wasting disk space. DaisyDisk4 is a disk analyser tool for OS X that visualizes hard disk usage and allows you to free up hard disk space. It can be downloaded from the DaisyDisk website.