Nasty macOS bug eats up storage space: What to do now

Macbook air 2020 review
(Image credit: Future)

A new macOS bug, reported by a blog and replicated by others, is found to be wasting space on Apple computers. 

The flaw is rooted in Image Capture, an app used to transfer images off external devices to local or external drives. When the app is used to bring photos and videos from an iPhone or iPad, it can add about 1.5MB of empty data to each file processed.

Fortunately, Apple's apparently at work on fixing the issue. Unfortunately, we've got no time frame for when it will be solved.

What's going wrong with Apple's Image Capture

The issue occurs for users unchecking the "Keep Originals" option in Image Capture. Users typically do this in order optimize cross-application/platform compatibility, as iPhones now make photos and videos in a format that uses the extension .HEIC.

The flaw was found by the team at NeoFinder, a file management app, which aired its grievances with Apple in a blog post. MacRumors verified the issue.

Ironically, .HEIC (high efficiency image file format, also known as HEIF) files are meant to avoid just these kinds of issues, as they're structured to reduce the amount of space a file takes up. 

What to do now

There are ways of getting around this issue, but I'm hoping Apple comes to the rescue soon. The NeoFinder team offers up the beta version of a third-party application called Graphic Converter, which has an option for stripping away this data.

For the time being, that's probably the best option out there. The folks at NeoFinder say "Apple has contacted us and asked us for additional information and sample files. So it seems they are indeed working on a fix." Hopefully, this means there will be a patch update to macOS or Image Capture to solve the issue soon. Third party applications are nice, but we'd rather see Apple's app work as intended.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.