What does Purgeable means in Storage under About This Mac section?

: capable of being purged : subject to purging.

Understanding Purgeable Space (#1338)

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These are files that the system, or you, hasnt accessed in a long time and so are stored in iCloud. If youre running low on disk space, macOS can safely delete them, keeping a shortcut, on your system.

When you need the file again, the system will download it for you in he background. This site has a good overview of the feature if you want to read more.

Purgeable is a distinct concept from the “Store infrequently used files on iCloud” functionality. From Mac Help (available from the Help menu, search for “purgeable”):

Effectively the OS has various caches, temp files, copies of things it downloaded, etc. that are being keeping around out of view of normal users, but they can be deleted if space is needed.

If you turn on the optimized storage feature (that stores infrequently used files from Documents and Desktop folders to iCloud), they may or may not be counted with along with the system purgeable files. But even without turning on that feature, there are other purgeable files present.

Theres a post here:

that makes the case that this also includes local time machine data, which makes sense given the size I see tagged as “purgeable”.

Run this: (from Terminal)

The /dev/disk1s1 is replaced with the volume that you wish to get your space back from. Run:

In my case, I had 64GB purgeable, after running this command I had 2.8GB.

I wasnt able to install XCode before because I was out of space – I lothe this feature of OS-X because the OS reports the space as not free, even though you can create a file and remove it (what this command does).

Still cant get back the last 2.6 GB (Not to be confused with the GiBytes reported by df -h so dont worry that the numbers dont match)

Dont forget your Trash Bin! I first saw “Purgeable” when I threw about 20gb of files in the trash (which was the same as the purgeable amount).

You can also view “Purgeable” from the Disk Utility menu, FYI

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