Written byAnna Yuan
What Is 'Other' On Mac Storage And How to Delete It (2022)
Summary: This post explains what the "Other" in Mac storage is and how to delete the "Other" files to free up Mac space. It guides you to clear various unwanted files with detailed steps to optimize your Mac's performance.
Managing the Mac storage is still a great concern for users even in 2022 because it's filled up with various files so quickly. Especially for MacBook Pro and MacBook Air where you can't upgrade the storage capacity, taking advantage of the "Other" and purgeable space on Mac becomes necessary.
The thing is, most of you don't know exactly what files are taking up the Other Mac storage. So, when confronted with the pop-up "Your disk is almost full", or stuck with a frozen or slow Mac, you are afraid to delete the Other files from Mac's internal hard drive to free up space.
No more worries now! This post explains what the "Other" storage is on Mac in detail so that you can know what large files on Mac are taking up space, where you can find and delete those unnecessary files to speed up your Mac.
Table of Contents:
- 1. What is 'Other' storage on Mac
- 2. Check the storage space on your Mac
- 3. Notes before clearing up 'Other' from Mac storage
- 4. Guide to delete 'Other' files on Mac storage
- 5. Other ways to optimize and manage Mac Storage
- 6. Third-party software to clean and speed up Mac
What is 'Other' on Mac storage?
"Other" storage on Mac contains files that macOS can't categorize into any known forms, such as Documents, Photos, Apps, Movies, Audio, etc. The Other folder on Mac can fill up fast with cached and temporary files and other file types.
As we mentioned above, deleting the "Other" files on Mac storage helps optimize your Mac. However, not all the files stored in the Other storage category are junk files.
Removing important system files or application support files could cause serious problems with system operations or result in apps no longer working properly. Thus, it's necessary to know what kind of file types and formats will be classified into "Other" storage before you start deleting unneeded files off your Mac.
Other storage on Mac includes the following types of files:
- Unsupported documents and file types like PDF, PSD, DOC, etc.
- macOS system files and temporary files.
- Cache files like user cache, browser cache, and system cache.
- Archives and disk images like ZIP, ISO, and DMG files.
- App plugins, extensions, accessories, fonts, and installer packages.
- Out-of-date backups and any other files that don't fit into the main macOS storage category.
How to Check disk space on your Mac?
Now that you've known what files are taking up the Other storage on Mac, the first step to clear Other storage and free up space on Macintosh HD is to find out how much space is used on your Mac internal hard drive. Here's what to do:
Step 1: Click the Apple logo at the top left corner of your Mac computer.
Step 2: Choose About this Mac from the dropdown menu.
Step 3: Select the Storage tab from the pop-up window.
Step 4: Wait for a second and then the system will return the results of whole storage space, used space, and free space.
Now, you can find how much storage space is still available on this Mac. If you move your mouse cursor to the greyed column among the whole storage bar, you'll see how much space the Other storage category is taking up.
How to access Other storage on Mac?
To access the files in the Other storage on Mac, you should look at your Library folder. Most files in Other Storage are located in the macOS hidden Library folder. Apple hides those service files to prevent the accidental deletion of important files that could cause applications or operating system crashes.
Here's how to open your Library folder so you can find out what files are stored in "Other":
Step 1: Open Finder and select Go from the menu bar.
Step 2: Hold down the Option key on your keyboard and click Library when it appears in the dropdown menu.
Another way to go to this Library folder is to select Go to Folder from the same dropdown menu and then enter "~/Library".
Step 3: You'll now see all the system files and application support files in the Library folder. As aforementioned, system support files, caches, and other service files are included in the Other category.
Is it safe to delete 'Other' Storage on Mac?
You can remove certain files from the "Other" storage on Mac to free up space. But it's not 100% safe to clear those files because not all the files under the Other label are always junk files or unnecessary files.
Most of the time, files put in the Other storage can be distinguished from their name and types, which helps decide if it's removable. For example, DMG files of software installers that are left in the Downloads folder after installation can be cleared for sure.
And website caches and cookies from Google Chrome, Safari, or Firefox sometimes could be reloaded the next time when visiting that page, which won't be a pain. However, you could lose browser history when clearing caches on Mac, and get troubles in running a certain app if deleting its extensions.
Therefore, when clearing Other storage on Mac, resist touching any files if you don't understand what they are used for, as it could be disastrous. We also recommend you back up files on Mac with Time Machine or other tools before beginning.
Note: If important files are mistakenly cleared during this process, we recommend a deleted file recovery from the Mac using iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac.
How to delete 'Other' storage on Mac?
When your Mac is running out of valuable storage space, terrible performance problems just annoy you so much. To manage the Mac storage efficiently, you need to remove whatever unnecessary files from Mac as much as possible. Now go ahead to get rid of the Other storage from Mac carefully.
To clear the Other storage on Mac, follow these methods step by step.
- Take advantage of the built-in storage management feature
- Clear temporary files located in Other storage
- Clear cache and log files from Other storage on Mac
- Delete unwanted Downloads from Other storage
- Remove outdated backup files from Other storage
- Delete disk images and archives in Mac storage
- Clear unnecessary plugins and extensions from the Other storage
- Delete any unwanted files from Mac storage
1. Manage Mac storage with built-in feature (for macOS Sierra 10.12 and later)
Step 1: Click on the apple logo and choose About this Mac.
Step 2: Click Storage and wait for storage calculation.
Step 3: Click on the Manage button and then free up the space with the on-screen instructions.
There will be recommendations from Storage Management to optimize the Mac storage, which should be different from Mac to Mac. Here it is advised to save files to iCloud to free up local space, remove watched movies and TVs, enable 30-day automatic Trash empty, and reduce clutter.
Also, you can clear old apps, installers, and large but unwanted documents by the options below the Recommendations option.
However, Storage Management makes a little difference when "Other" bloated the storage over 100GB. This happens frequently if you newly update a macOS. In this case, you need to free up space by manually deleting files in "Other".
2. Clear system temporary files located in Other storage
Temporary files are created every second when your computer is running. Those files are piled up when apps are launched and performing, while they are prone to be outdated and replaced by new temporary files. As a result, they will stay on the Other storage of your hard drive, wasting space until you delete it manually like this:
Step 1: Open the Finder app and click on Go at the top left.
Step 2: Click Go to Folder ( or press Command + Shift + G ) and then type in ~/Users/User/Library/Application Support/.
Step 3: Click on the Go button to go to that folder.
Step 4: Browse and right-click on the things that you don't want.
Step 5: Choose Move to Trash to delete the temporary files from Other storage.
Step 6: Open Trash and right-click on the files above to choose Delete Immediately.
3. Clear cache files and logs from Other storage on Mac
There are a few folders here that you might be able to safely delete some items from, for example, Cache files and cookies. Carefully, you can delete cookies on Mac. Also, you can tidy up cache files including user cache, browser cache, and system cache on Mac by the following steps:
Step 1: Open Finder and click on Go in the menu bar.
Step 2: Choose Go to Folder and type in: ~/Library/Caches to go.
Step 3: Find the Caches folder from the list and drag it to the desktop to make a backup.
Step 4: Open the Caches folder and check if all files can be deleted or just part of them.
Step 5: Choose cache files and drag them to the Trash.
Step 6: Open Trash and right-click on the files above to choose Delete Immediately.
Note: To delete logs and other cache files on your Mac, repeat the steps above and replace "~/Library/" with "/Library/Caches" and "~/Library/Logs" when typing in.
4. Delete unwanted Downloads from Other storage
Sometimes, you download a new app and install it by dragging it to the Applications folder. But you forget to remove the installation file or package which will remain on the disk and take up space. Here is how to delete it.
Step 1: Open Finder and click Go in the upper left.
Step 2: Choose the Downloads option from the menu.
Step 3: All kinds of file types like .dmg, .pkg, .doc, .pdf, .csv, etc. are listed here.
Step 4: Pick files that need to be cleared up and right-click to move to Trash.
Step 5: Open Trash and right-click those files to delete them immediately.
5. Remove outdated backup files from Other storage
If you have ever backed up your iOS devices like iPhone or iPad on Mac, you can check if you still need those backups. If not, follow these steps to delete iOS files on Mac to free up gigabytes of Mac storage.
- Open Finder > Go > Go to Folder.
- Type in ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup in the box and click Go.
- Pick files and then move them to Trash.
- Open Trash and then delete files immediately from the Mac.
6. Delete disk images and archives in Mac storage
Usually, disk images and archives are files that download or received by the user. Those files are often in the form of ZIP and DMG, which might have been useless or unarchived. You can get rid of them by:
- Open the Finder application.
- In the search box at the top right, type in the .dmg file extension and .zip file extension once a time to search for files.
- Select Search: This Mac in the middle of the window.
- Click the Grouping option at the top of the window and choose Size.
- Drag the target file to Trash and then delete it immediately.
7. Clear unnecessary plugins and extensions from the Other storage
You may use a lot of add-ons to make apps on your Mac better, especially for browsers like Google Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. But those web browser extensions are separate from the software itself but categorized into the Other storage.
After confirming that you don't want those plugins or extensions anymore, go to the browser on your Mac and delete Internet plugins manually. Here takes Google Chrome as an example:
Step 1: Open Chrome.
Step 2: Click the three-dot icon at the upper right to customize and control it.
Step 3: Click on More Tools and then choose Extensions.
Step 4: From the panel where add-ons are showing up, click on the Remove button to get rid of it.
8. Delete any unwanted files from Mac storage
This is a time-consuming process because you need to inspect almost all folders on the Mac Finder and delete whatever you can delete. Luckily, you can use a disk management tool - iBoysoft DiskGeeker to help you.
iBoysoft DiskGeeker is a macOS optimizer used to remove useless clutters from your hard drive. The Clean Junk feature helps find and remove junk files from the startup disk to boost Mac performance. And Clean Drive can scan all files on a volume or the whole disk so that you can select what files to delete from the scanning results.
Anyway, it's important to be careful when deleting unwanted files. The key point is, if you can't sure what a file does, then don't remove it.
Other ways to Optimize and Manage Mac Storage
Except for getting rid of the files saved on the Other storage, there are some other ways to free up Mac space.
When the internal hard drive is almost full, you can save files, photos, and messages to iCloud drive to relieve the local disk and will download when you open it. This will optimize storage and speed up your Mac by only keeping recent files.
Time Machine is also a way to release free space. You can back up your Mac files to an external hard drive and then clear up files on the Mac hard drive, which makes more room locally.
Also, It's better if you get a regular habit of emptying Mac Trash, deleting duplicated files with duplicate file finder for Mac, and uninstalling applications that you don't use.
Clean and Speed up Mac with Third-party Software
We have made it clear that manually clearing up space is risky. You can't decide which one should be deleted and which not. Why not let someone skilled at this task? Yes, here we mean third-party Mac cleaners though you need to pay for that.
3 apps win a good reputation in managing and clearing up Mac space.
- CleanMyMac X: Is CleanMyMac X worth it? The software is worth $33.99 and was developed by MacPaw, having been in this field for over 10 years. So, they know how to manage and free up Mac storage better. It's a lot like Apple's Optimized Storage, cleaning outdated caches, broken downloads, logs, junk files, and useless localizations and removing clutters in iTunes, Mail, Photos, and even hidden files.
- Daisy Disk: If the budget is what you care about when choosing a Mac space manager, then Daisy Disk surely is recommended as it costs only $9.99. It overviews all connected disks to your Mac, be it Macintosh HD, Thunderbolt disk, flash, network storage so that you can decide to delete when space is not enough.
- CCleaner: This app costs $19.95. It helps to clean up your Mac storage automatically and puts more emphasis on your privacy and simpleness. This all-in-one solution will help you to remove tons of useless files, such as caches, unneeded extensions, deleted apps' support files, duplicate files, and junk system files.
Be sure to make a backup of what is going to be deleted in case Mac data recovery is needed. After deleting both the Other storage and piles of files from the Mac hard drive, you'll get plenty of free space for your computer.