What Is Other in Mac Storage and How to Manage It to Save Disk Space


Want to clear up some extra storage space on your Mac but have no more photos, music, or documents you feel you can move to the Trash bin? A significant amount of the storage space on your macOS device is occupied by the Other category. So you can get that valuable space if you clean Other storage.

Read this guide to discover how to delete all the unnecessary files that occupy your precious space. HereOpens in a new tab., you‘ll find some useful tips on how to optimize your Other storage.

What Is Other on Mac Storage?

Other storage is the category on your Mac’s disk space that contains different files that don’t belong to any specific standard category defined by Apple like Photos, Apps, Documents, Audio, etc. You might think that only non-essential files are stored in this section, but it’s not always the case. In fact, this section consists of a mix of junk and important files.

Let’s take a look at examples:

• macOS system and temporary files
• Common documents, such as .doc, PSD, PDF, etc.
• App extensions and application plugins,
• Archives and disk images, such as .zip, .dmg, ISO files, etc.
• Cache files
• Personal user data

So, you can’t delete the entire category. Some files like cache files and temporary files can be deleted, but there are also macOS folders that are essential for keeping the system running smoothly. That’s why the majority of Other storage files are stored in the Library folder on your device, and this folder is hidden under default settings.

How to Check Storage Usage on Your Mac

You can easily find out what’s taking storage space on your hard drive or SSD, including the Other category, if you follow these steps.

⁃ Click on the Apple icon in the menu bar.
⁃ Open System Preferences and go to About This Mac.
⁃ Select Storage and wait for a while for the system to calculate everything and provide you with an overview of the occupied space.
⁃ Take the mouse pointer to colored sections, and you’ll learn how much space is occupied by each category.

If you click Manage, you’ll be able to see more detailed information and will have an opportunity to make different tweaks to your system. But you won’t access the Other section from here.

You will need to go to the hidden Library folder that was created specifically for important files that can cause applications or system operations problems if you delete them. Here is what you should do to navigate to the Library folder.

• Open Finder and choose the Go option in the menu bar.
• Click on Go to Folder.
• Now type in ~/Library and press the Enter key.

In the library directory, you’ll find lots of folders, and most of them will be the items that your computer’s system labels as Other, for example, logs and meta data, app plugins and other parts, support files and fonts.

How to Clear Other Storage in macOS

Before you start digging around and deleting anything on your Mac, you should create a backup to prevent a disaster if you accidentally delete something that could affect your device’s performance.

You can clean some of the files manually yourself, while other items may require using a free or paid cleaning tool. Read on to learn how to delete different types of files manually to reduce the storage space taken by Other.

Delete Large Documents

There is a misconception that ordinary text documents don’t take a lot of space while compare to images or music. But over time, such files can pile up and start occupy astronomical space, especially if you keep cvs files and ebooks. We typically forget about large documents all the time, but they are worth taking a look to determine what you can remove. 

Here are the steps you should follow to get rid of large documents from the Other storage.

• From your desktop, press Command +F.
• Click on This Mac and select Other in the first dropdown menu field.
• You’ll see the Search Attributes window. Tick on the options File Extension and File Size in the list. Click the OK button.
• Search for different types of documents, such as PDF, .cvs, pages, etc. Type their extensions in the search bar.
• Review the selected items and delete those that you don’t need.

Get Rid of Cache Files

There are 3 main types of cache files – browser, system, and user. They are created to help your Mac system work faster, but they build up quickly and take many gigabytes of precious space that may slower down your device.

Here are essential steps to follow if you want to clear Cache files manually:

• Open Finder and click on Go in the menu bar.
• Choose Go to Folder.
• Now you have to type in ~/Library/Caches. Click Go.
• You’ll see a list of caches from your active apps. Create a backup for these files to avoid the worst scenario if you delete something critical to your system.
• Choose the unneeded files in the folders and move them to the Trash bin.
• Empty Trash.

Delete App Plugins and Extensions

Although, plugins don’t take up a lot of storage space on your Mac, you can save some extra space anyway. Besides, some browserOpens in a new tab. extensions may slow down your computer, deleting those that you don’t use is a smart decision.

Here is how you can remove extensions from Safari:

⁃ Open the browser.
⁃ Click preferences in the SafarOpens in a new tab.i menu.
⁃ Choose the Extensions tab.
⁃ Select the unnecessary extension and click on Uninstall.

If you want to remove extensions from Chrome, do the following:

⁃ Open Chrome.
⁃ Choose More Tools and then Extensions.
⁃ Disable or remove an unwanted extension.

Remove Old Downloads

Source https://www.lifewire.com/delete-downloads-on-mac-4692292Opens in a new tab.

A lot of items pile up in the Downloads folder – .zip and .dmg files, installer packages, old documents, videos. We often forget about them, but deleting these useless files can free valuable storage space.

• Open Finder and choose Go.
• Go to Downloads and look through the files. It’s better to search for big file types like .zip, .avi, .dmg. etc.
• Select the file you want to get rid of and right-click on it.
• Choose the option Move to Trash.

Remove Disk Images and Archives

Usually, we keep images and archives for a reason. But if you think you don’t need some of these files anymore, it’s better to remove them because they are eating up the storage space on your Mac.

Here is what you need to do if you want to get rid of them:

• Open Finder and type ZIP or DMG in the search bar.
• Choose Search: This Mac.
• As you see a list of files, you should sort them by the size and remove big files that you are not going to use in the future.

The Final Word

As you see, removing files from Other storage manually and saving up space on Mac is rather easy. The process might be time-consuming, but it is definitely worth it. This way, you’ll keep your machine in good health and ensure it works properly. Besides, everything can be done faster with a help of a good Mac cleaning app.

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