How reliable is About This Mac’s Storage tab?

Last September, the release of macOS Sierra 10.12 brought a lot of changes, including features like Optimized Storage, which use iCloud to store less-frequently accessed documents. With those came changes in the About This Mac dialog, particularly in the Storage tab.

For many Mac users, that Storage tab seems to work, in displaying a breakdown by content type of the use of your startup drive. But for some, me included, it has failed to work from 10.12 of 20 September 2016 until now. For those six months, the dialog shown by this iMac tells me that it is still calculating the breakdown for my startup drive.


Taking six months to do this for a half-full Apple-supplied 2 TB Fusion Drive in a current model iMac (iMac17,1) seems a little excessive. I don’t believe that it’s calculating anything, but is just broken. And it has remained broken through the 10.12.1, 10.12.2, and 10.12.3 updates.

Thankfully, although it might be interesting to know how much of my Fusion Drive is taken up by Applications, my iTunes Library, and so on, it really doesn’t make any difference to me, the price of fish, or my faith in Sierra. But I have now come across some users for whom the Storage tab seems to give incorrect information.

One example is someone with a Mac mini which only has a 256 GB internal SSD, and two far more capacious external drives. Their Photos and iTunes libraries are consequently stored externally, and according to Disk Utility, their internal SSD is largely empty. Not according to the Storage tab, though, which seems to think that the SSD has more than 100 GB of photos on it.

I can understand that bugs can sometimes break this type of feature, although how after six months Sierra continues to suffer such an overt bug is another matter. I cannot for the life of me see how the Storage tab can misplace over 100 GB of photos, though.

Does the Storage tab in About This Mac work for you, or does it show patently inaccurate figures like those, or is yours still ‘calculating’? I’d be fascinated to know how common these problems are, please, even if Apple doesn’t seem in the least bit concerned about them.