Media files take up gigabytes of space on your hard drive. If you’re running out of space on your drive due to iTunes purchases, there’s a little known option to stream your media from iCloud. With streaming enabled, you can delete the downloaded movie, TV show, and music files from your Mac’s hard drive. When you play these files, the content will be streamed from iCloud.
Before proceeding with this option, here’s an important caveat: If a song or video is no longer sold on iTunes, you won’t be able to stream it or download it again. So don’t delete your content unless you’re willing to take this gamble. It’s a good idea to err on the side of caution and keep backups.
To enable the streaming capability in iTunes, select iTunes->Preferences in the menu bar. Click the Store icon, check Show iTunes in the Cloud purchases, and hit OK. When you’re viewing the content in your library, there’s an option you’ll need to select in the View menu – Show [music, TV shows, movies] in the Cloud.
Once enabled, you’ll be able to delete iTunes purchases that have been previously downloaded. Before the item is deleted, you should get a pop-up message: “This item can still be played from iCloud, but will be deleted from any devices that synchronize with this computer.” If you don’t see this message, don’t delete the item, since it’s not in iCloud. In list view, the deleted items will have a cloud icon next to them.(If you click this icon, you’ll re-download the content.) When you play a video file in the cloud, it will start playing almost immediately.
Apple places a couple of restrictions on content kept in iCloud. You won’t be able to sync your content with your iOS device. Also, you won’t be able to share the content with your other Macs using Home Sharing.
One final note. When you stream content from iCloud, the data is still cached on your hard drive. You can delete the cache manually if you wish. It’s located here: