What is Other on Mac Storage and How to Clear it
Updated · Jul 22, 2022
Oftentimes, you’ll need to free up some space on your Mac. The reasons for this are infinite – you may need to update your system, get new software, or just install a few games.
No matter your motivation, you’ll eventually go to the storage statistics and face the obscure other category.
What is Other on Mac Storage?
To answer this question, we must first know what the storage graph is and how it works.
The graph shows your disk space as a dark-gray bar. This bar holds differently colored segments. Each of them represents various file types – documents, TV, Messages, and Trash.
When you click manage, you get a complete statistic with the different categories and their size. At the bottom of the list is other. The shortest explanation is that other represents all files that don’t belong to one of the above categories. This may include movies, music, photos, and many other files.
Now that you know what other on Mac storage is, let’s discuss how to properly manage it.
How to Check Disk Usage on Mac?
When discussing the other storage on Mac, we talked about the storage graph.
Here’s how to access it:
- Go to Apple Menu
- Choose About this Mac
- From the available tabs on top, choose Storage
Here you can see the names of connected storage devices, their used and full capacity, and the colored graph we mentioned earlier. Right above it, on the right-hand side, is the Manage button which will take you to the full disk space statistics.
- Applications – This one is kinda self-explanatory; it consists of all of the applications on your Mac.
- Documents – This category relates to the documents created by the available applications. Receiving a document as an attachment in an email would be considered other data on Mac.
- Messages – Depending on your settings, iMessage and similar apps will store your conversation data here.
- Music Creation – This category holds your GarageBand files, Apple Loops, and similar music-production-related files.
- Trash – This one keeps all the files that you’ve used command + delete on.
- Other – The Mac other storage holds archival, installer, and temporary system files, plus common file extensions like .pdf and .doc.
These are some of the most important categories. However, there could be more, depending on your macOS version.
How to Clear Other Storage on Mac
Reducing other storage on Mac can help free up space and improve performance.
Here are a few tips to help you.
The cache is a small segment of memory reserved for temporary storage. Many applications need to use the same data over and over again. Instead of constantly searching for it through the entire system, they save these pieces of information in the cache. There, it can be rapidly accessed.
The downside is that over time, this can lead to a lot of useless data piling up.
To clear the cache, follow these steps:
- Stop all working applications – as we explained, active programs use the cache. If they still work, the files will be protected from deletion, as the program will consider them integral
- Access your Mac’s Finder. From there, choose Go → Go to Folder
- In the textbox, write “~/Library/” without the quotation marks, and click Go
- Access the Caches folder
- Select everything inside the folder and delete it with the buttons command + delete
- Open the Finder menu and select Empty Trash
After clearing the cache, you’ll notice that the other files on Mac have been reduced.
Remove Installation Files
If your Mac other storage is huge, there’s a chance you have forgotten a few installation files. Image files are similar to archive ones in that they’re both a single file that holds a collection of files in itself.
All installation files on Mac are image files with the .dmg extension. Even though they’re usually not a problem, collecting too many of them may take a significant portion of your storage space.
Here’s how to delete them:
- Go to Finder
- Write “~/Downloads/” without the quotation marks and click Go
- Select all .dmg files and other files you find unnecessary
- Use the buttons command + delete to move them to the trash
- Open the Finder menu and select Empty Trash
Remove Safari Extensions
There may be a lot of unused Safari extensions that clutter your storage and pile other memory on Mac. Getting rid of them is easy:
- Open Safari
- Open the Safari menu and choose Preferences
- From the available buttons, click Extensions
- Here you can see all of the available extensions. Choose the unused ones and click Uninstall
Use Third-Party Software
There’s a lot of specialized software to help you delete other storage on Mac. You can spare yourself a lot of reading and rummaging through directories by simply using one of these programs:
As the name suggests, this is an application dedicated to keeping your Mac clean and smooth running. It can automatically clean your trash directory. It also scans for junk files produced by the system, iTunes, or other sources and helps you remove them.
CleanMyMac offers optimization options, like allowing you to set which applications will run at startup.
That’s another good recommendation for freeing up macOS other storage.
Cleaner One automatically deletes temporary files which would otherwise clutter your system. Besides that, it offers a plethora of useful functions. Disk Map creates an easy-to-read map of all your directories, which makes managing them much faster. It even has a Similar Photos function which can scan your images for duplicates and warn you about them.
CCleaner has been around since 2004.
It employs smart cleaning, which scans your storage for junk files and removes them. You may also schedule cleaning procedures, so they start when you’re not working. Among CCleaner’s other functions are the duplicate finder and disk analyzer.
Changes in Newer macOS Versions
macOS is an ever-changing environment. From the Sierra update on, Apple has tried to make the macOS other storage more readable and informative. Many of the file types that would’ve previously been considered other are now designated to more meaningful categories.
Another improvement is the Optimize Storage option. It lowers the cluttering of junk files by automatically removing iTunes movies and TV shows that you’ve already watched. It also limits the number of stored email attachments.
It’s important to keep your storage clean, but something as ambiguous as other can be quite difficult to understand. Apple has admitted this problem by implementing updates to better clarify all categories and through the limitation of junk file pile up.
Still, it’s good to keep an eye on your directories and occasionally perform some manual clean-ups.
Why is my Mac other storage so high?
A lot of files get classified as other, which inflates the category. On the other hand, every application leaves behind junk in the form of undeleted temporary data. This data can quickly pile up, and it’s good to perform the occasional clean-up to save storage space.
How do I get rid of other storage on my Mac?
If the other storage on your Mac gets too big, it’s normal to want to tidy up. For this purpose, you must locate files such as old installation images or temporary and cached files and delete them.
If it seems like too much work, you can always rely on a third-party application aimed at cleaning and optimizing storage. Such programs are CleanMyMac, Cleaner One, and CCleaner.
How do I find out what other is on my Mac storage?
It’s difficult to pinpoint what other on Mac storage is because the category itself is too broad. It could contain old conversations, email attachments, iTunes shows, installation files, etc. As a rule of thumb, anything that doesn’t have a specific category is considered other.
Deyan has been fascinated by technology his whole life. From the first Tetris game all the way to Falcon Heavy. Working for TechJury is like a dream come true, combining both his passions – writing and technology. In his free time (which is pretty scarce, thanks to his three kids), Deyan enjoys traveling and exploring new places. Always with a few chargers and a couple of gadgets in the backpack. He makes mean dizzying Island Paradise cocktails too.
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