50 Mac Essentials #6: GrandPerspective



So you’re busy chugging away on your computer, downloading loads of video as you do, and suddenly there’s a problem. Your computer says it’s running out of disk space. WTF?

The sad truth is that as fast as hard disk capacity increases, we come up with new ways to fill up our hard disks with digital stuff. Video, in particular, swallows up huge amounts of disk in the blink of an eye. How do you keep track of the state of your hard disk? GrandPerspective is one way to do it.

This excellent free application scans your hard disk – or your user account, or any subsection of your filesystem you give it – and measures exactly what’s what and how big it is.

Then it displays the results in vivid bright colors. The bigger the block, the more disk space it’s consuming. Here’s mine:


That huge square is my iPhoto library. GrandPerspective lives up to its name, and gives me an instant visual overview of what’s hogging the most space on my system.

There are similar apps that do the same sort of job, and sometimes offer different features (OmniDiskSweeper is one of them, another excellent tool), but we like GrandPerspective’s visual presentation and elegant simplicity.

(You’re reading the 6th post in our series, 50 Essential Mac Applications: a list of the great Mac apps the team at Cult of Mac value most. Read more.)