My error logs appear to be taking up several GBs of space on my Macbook Pro running Mac OS X Snow Leopard, but I can't seem to find a way to clear the log files to free up this space.


The logs are generally turned over by some periodic scripts. Before blasting them, I would want to know if the logs are massive because the periodic scripts never run or is there something wrong that is totally spamming your logs and making them huge. Do the logs have massive amounts of some repeating entry?

The periodic scripts run in the middle of the night. If you always turn the Mac off at night, they might not ever get the chance. You may force the periodic scripts to run in the terminal by entering the following command:

sudo periodic daily weekly monthly

You will be prompted to enter your admin password.

Of course the brute force method would be to cd into /var/log via the terminal and root them out that way.

  • It appears that they aren't running correctly or something else is very wrong. I just realized I hadn't restarted in 11 days, so I restarted and just doing that (I didn't do anything in terminal), 7GB were freed up. Any idea why that would be? – James Simpson Nov 2 '10 at 2:35
  • 11 days isn't enough time to make a difference with the periodic scripts. 11 months might be enough. The sudden 7GB gain might have been old virtual memory that got dumped, or maybe something in the caches. – Theo Belk Nov 2 '10 at 2:54
  • Why would it build up that quickly though? I routinely leave my computer on for 20-30 days at a time (letting it sleep at night of course), and hadn't ever had that problem until it happened once before a few weeks ago, but I didn't think anything of it until it happened again. – James Simpson Nov 2 '10 at 3:08
  • 2
    If your Mac is sleeping at night, the periodic scripts should run. 20-30 days uptime is not a problem at all. Even 300 days uptime isn't a problem. If you're low on RAM you might be using the VM more and causing it to grow, though 7GB of VM is not gigantic. What is in the logs? Is there something that is pouring entries into a specific log? Which logs seem to be ballooning up? – Theo Belk Nov 2 '10 at 3:17
  • I've had uptime approaching 200 days on my iMac so 11 days is fine. It sounds like something is wrong as @Theo has suggested. – user3463 Nov 2 '10 at 15:24

onyx is a free multifunction utility for mac os x that removes logs. onyx log removal window screenshot.

  • HTTP 404 (15char) – Navin Jun 23 '17 at 2:55

(since I can't comment) you might want to check /Users/<username>/Library/Caches folder, this folder can end up taking up a lot of space. But technically these are not logs.

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