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What is Other on Mac Storage and How to Clean it

What is Other on Mac Storage and How to Clean it

Other? On second thought, maybe the macOS development team didn’t think of everything. That Other section isn’t always a tiny component, set aside for small bits of information. In many cases, Other can take up a good chunk of your Mac’s hard drive. Today, we’re going to dig deep to show you what’s in there and how to clean it.

What is Other on Mac Storage?

To discover what’s taking up space on your hard drive, click in the top right . Then choose “About This Mac”, followed by the “Storage” tab. You will see a bar graph divided into several colored sections.

You’ll immediately see how much of your hard drive is taken up by apps, photos, video, and so on. In our example, the biggest part of used space is taken up by the very mysterious Other section.

So, what’s in there? In a nutshell, it includes files that don’t belong to any storage category like Apps, Music, Mail, and Video. Most likely, your Other section includes:

  1. File types (PDF, .psd), documents (.doc) etc.

  2. Anything in the system folders of macOS, ranging from temporary files, swap, voices, etc.

  3. Cache files like user cache, browser cache, locally stored message media files and system cache.

  4. Archives like .zip and .dmg, and disk images.

  5. App plugins and extensions, app accessories, fonts.

  6. Everything else that is not covered with the mentioned storage categories.

How to delete Other on Mac

Most of the files included in Other aren’t necessary. If you need more space, you shouldn’t worry too much about to deleting them. Doing so should help speed up your machine’s performance (assuming you do it correctly). After you clear up the Other section, your Mac storage structure will look something like this:

Before we show you how to delete stuff in Other, it’s important to highlight that with the introduction of macOS Sierra, macOS categorizes content differently than older versions like macOS El Capitan. With the latest macOS versions, including High Sierra, it takes fewer steps to clean files in Other. To get started, click Manage.

Now, follow these instructions to remove documents from Other storage space:

  1. Press Cmd+F from the desktop.

  2. Choose This Mac tab.

  3. Open the first field with modifications and click Other…

  4. Search and tick such attributes as File Size and File Extension.

  5. Next look for PDF, Pages, and CSV files by typing their extensions in a search field.

  6. When you find something you don’t need, delete it.

Clean up temporary files located in Other
What are the temporary files? To be clear, macOS can’t work without them. The system creates these files when it launches apps and performs different processes. The operating system produces temp files constantly and they quickly get outdated. These files aren’t deleted automatically, but instead moved to Other. That’s why you should clean them from time to time to avoid having to deal with a sluggish Mac.

Here’s how to find temporary files and remove them manually:

  1. Go to ~/Users/User/Library/Application Support/. This folder contains many temporary files that you can find in browsers’ folders, for example, or piles of old backups in the MobileSync folder.

  2. Delete the files that you’re certain you don’t need anymore.

Being certain is the key. After all, you don’t want to accidentally delete something that your Mac really needs. That’s why thousands of users prefer to use special software like MacKeeper for this purpose. This app automatically deletes the files that macOS doesn’t need anymore. It’s a much easier and safer way to clean your Mac.

Another place macOS accumulates tons of unnecessary files is the Cache folder. There are different types of cache, however all of them take free space on your Mac. Here’s how to delete cache files from Other manually:

  1. Click on Go menu from the desktop.

  2. Select Go to Folder…

  3. Type ~/Library.

  4. Find a Cache folder and copy it to the desktop just in case.

  5. Move the Cache folder to Trash, then Empty your Trash.

To learn more about cleaning cache on your Mac, see this article. Although deleting cache files from the Other data section manually isn’t very difficult, it’s better to delegate this process to software that specializes in this, like MacKeeper.

Images and archives are file types that macOS stores in Other as well. These files don’t belong to the system, but rather are downloaded exclusively by users. That’s why you should clear Other of disk images and archives manually. The archives are .zip files and the images are .dmg files. To locate them:

  1. Go to Finder.

  2. Type ZIP or DMG in the search field.

  3. Choose to search This Mac.

  4. You can also sort the files by size to quickly find and delete the largest ones.

Remove app plugins and extensions from Other storage

Interestingly, app add-ons are stored separately from the Apps section in your Mac storage. Browser plugins and extensions are moved to Other, making the section bigger. Sometimes, you might curiously download and install an add-on and then forget about it.

To delete useless extensions, you need to remove them from the browser. You should do this in each browser you use (Chrome, Safari, Firefox). Generally, the steps are the same. First, open your browser. Then, find the extension/plugin/ tab or panel, or open Tools. Choose the add-ons that you don’t use anymore from the list and remove them. If you are not sure about the importance of a plugin, disable it first, and then check if the app works correctly. If so, you can remove the add-on for good.

Get rid of everything else from Other disk space

Now it’s time to remove other files from the Other section. More Other in Other? It sounds strange, but even after all these steps, there are items that can’t be categorized under the existing categories (screensavers, for example). They usually don’t take up that much space, but every bit helps. To delete them, go to the Finder > Choose Go > Go to Folder… > type in ~/Library/Screen Savers > click Go.

Now you know how to reduce wasted precious space on your Mac. Remember, the majority of actions detailed here can be handled by specialized cleaning apps. Investing in one can significantly save you time and protect you from removing important items.

Got some experience cleaning your Mac’s storage? Sound off in the comments.


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