Web site disk usage

I’ve started to get recurring messages from Safari asking me if I’m happy to let a web site (telegraph.co.uk) use 1.4Gb of disk space. I keep saying no, as these messages started a day or so after I said yes to allowing it to use 1.2Gb.

It’s a newspaper. Two questions: (a) why on earth does it need or want to use so much space? and (b) where is it storing all this stuff? If I find it, I can delete it. I suppose the third might be how can I tell Safari that no matter how often it asks, the answer is no and it would be nice not to be bothered again.

iMac Pro, latest updates to Mojave and Safari.


If it is “Gb” with a lower-case “b,” 1.4 gigabits equals 175 megabytes. If you leave the site open in the browser all the time, I suppose it could be automatically refreshing the stories, images, etc. on the page and storing them. I don’t think it’s due to ads because those always come from different domain names.

To free the space the site is using on your Mac:

  1. Go to Safari > Preferences > Privacy and click Manage Website Data
  2. In the search box, enter telegraph.co.uk
  3. Select telegraph.co.uk in the window and click Remove

That should clear everything it has stored on your Mac, including cookies or anything else used to authenticate you (if you are normally a signed-in user).

You might want to scroll to the bottom of the Telegraph home page and click the Manage Cookies link and click Decline All in the dialog it opens (it doesn’t literally decline all, there are a few listed at top as required).

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It’s GB. I wouldn’t worry about a few megabytes.

I visit the site for half an hour in the morning and then don’t use it again.

I don’t want to delete all the data, which includes subscription cookies and the like.

Having allowed 1.4GB this morning, it’s now (having visited again in response to your email) asking for 1.6GB.

Many websites don’t know the difference between GB, gb, GB or even gB. :grinning:

I visit the site for half an hour in the morning and then don’t use it again.

Are you saying that you close the page/tab/browser?

If you don’t want to delete the cookies, you can at least empty the browser cache. If you don’t have a “Develop” menu in Safari, you’ll need to enable that first: Safari Prefs->Advanced, last item in that window is a checkbox labeled “Show Develop menu in menu bar”. You can now use the “Empty Caches” item in the Develop menu.

You can also “Clear History…” in the Safari menu. But that may not clear anything except the History menu list.

Lastly, you might consider setting the Safari Prefs->Websites, Downloads setting for that domain to “Ask”. Hopefully, you will at least be able to stop downloads. However, you may then be constantly annoyed by lots of download requests! :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

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Telegraph is a site that has its own cookie management tool. Perhaps having a look at the Telegraph cookie settings available and adjusting specific areas might help. You can find the Telegraph Cookie Tool on the “Privacy and Cookie Policy” page.

Yes, I close the page when I’ve finished reading.

I don’t think changing the downloads settings will affect matters. It’s not downloading files, in the sense of creating files in my Downloads folder.

Here’s a screenshot of the message

I click “Don’t Allow”, and it doesn’t seem to make any difference.



Thanks, but I’ve already turned off all advertising cookies and all analytics and customisation cookies. The only permitted ones are those deemed “essential” on that page.


I think the two places on disk that you’d want to look for local storage are:


In the Finder, choose Go > Go to Folder (Command-Shift-G) and then paste those paths in.

I’m curious if it’s really using that much or if it’s just a theoretical max.

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I’d looked in ~/Library/Application Support and ~/Library/Preferences and even ~/Library/Containers, but it hadn’t even occurred to me that Safari would have its own folder in ~/Library in addition.

LocalStorage is only 413MB, but Databases is 2.42GB, of which the Telegraph-related folder was 1.48GB. It has 3 subfolders, each containing a sqlite3 database.

Two, created on 13th October and 5th November last year, are only a few KB, but the one created on 7th April this year is clearly the culprit, with a .sqlite-wal file occupying 1.47GB. I’ve deleted it and quit and restarted Safari; after a visit to the telegraph site the new database is a rather more manageable 6MB in size. I’ll keep an eye on it.

I thought it was unlikely to be a theoretical maximum because shortly after each time I allowed a request, another came along for a further 200MB: 1.2, 1.4, 1.6. “Once you have paid him the Danegeld, you’ll never get rid of the Dane”.

Thanks very much.


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Wow. I wonder what the heck they’re doing downloading 1.4 GB of data for you.

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You and me both!


It must be HTML5 Local Storage and you likely login to the Telegraph website. They are running JavaScript and creating a local storage database and stuffing it with massive amounts of data that their server side JavaScript can query, etc.

You can clear the data in Safari Preferences -> Privacy -> Manage Website Data. Search for Telegraph and remove the storage. Review other data listed here, you can choose to remove all as well. This is the cache, cookie, and HTML5 local storage for every website you visit.

The Safari Web Inspector can show the contents of this data under the Storage tab:

Now, I’m running a Pi-Hole network wide advertising blocker and I am not logged on with a Telegraph user account account either. But you should take a look at what they are doing before you clear the storage. You might be shocked. You might want to make sure you didn’t install a browser extension as they can also access local storage.

Here’s a blog article from a web developer complaining about insecure use of local storage as well as abuse of local storage. https://www.rdegges.com/2018/please-stop-using-local-storage/

There’s a lot of shady-AF stuff going on with websites. One of the main reasons I run Pi-Hole.


Advertisements aren’t delivered from the news site’s own domain name so they won’t be a part of the domain’s storage.

Well one would need to examine the local storage for Telegraph to find out precisely what’s in there. The storage size in the alerts might be cumulative across all sites so might be a good idea to remove all sites data from cache, to cookies, to local storage. Then re-login to Telegraph and then use it for a while and examine the data being placed into local storage.

Unrelated to Telegraph, but pertinent to the thread title, I have two questions about TidBITS Talk.

Some months ago, TidBITS talk suddenly began storing data on my computer. (I routinely clear most cookies and site data, and it surprised me when TidBITS Talk started using 5 to 10 MB of disk space.) What changed? What is being saved?

Just a few days ago, TidBITS Talk started “touching” cookies without a visit to either TidBITS’ or TidBITS Talk’s web site. I ask Firefox to list cookies in age order, and cookies from talk.tidbits.com would be listed as several minutes old when I hadn’t visited the site in hours. Why? How does that work?

Thanks for any education.

I don’t know exactly what Discourse stores locally, but it maintains a lot of local state, so I’m not surprised. For instance, you can have draft replies going in multiple topics and quit and relaunch the browser without losing what you’ve written.

I can’t imagine any way a cookie could be “touched” without visiting the site (or at least a site that’s associated and might have an embed or JavaScript that sets the cookie). When I look at my cookies in Firefox and sort by Last Used, I see cookies from a number of sites that aren’t loaded too. I wonder if it could be related to Firefox checking history or a bookmark or something like that.

I discovered that several weeks ago and was surprised and impressed, but it hadn’t dawned on me that the draft was stored on my computer.

That makes some sense. I reboot the Macintosh with no internet access enabled, yet Firefox shows recent “touching” of some of the cookies I do not delete. But that is when Firefox starts up. The “touching” of talk.tidbits.com cookies occurs in an already-running browser and many minutes after browsing other sites.

Oh, well, I was just curious. There are many more important things that I don’t understand, either.

A quick follow-up to this: the issue arises because (1) I almost never restart the iMac unless it’s to install system updates and (2) I almost never quit Safari. The upshot is that Safari is frequently running for weeks at a time. I’ve discovered now that if I quit Safari, it will empty the database when I next visit the Telegraph site.