What is Other Storage on Mac and How to Clean it Up

Do you wonder what is ‘Other’ on Mac storage and why does it eats up so much space? Along with the answer to this perplexing question, we also have tips and trick on how to clear it up.

Just like the “Other” on iPhone and iPad, it is home to a number of files, cached data and more. This section houses a mix of junk and important files. Therefore, you will have to dig a bit deep to sort, save or eliminate accordingly. Just read along to retrieve plenty of precious storage on your Mac. To understand the scenrio in better way, I have divided the content in following sections.

What is Other on Mac Storage?

The Storage tab under “About This Mac” gives a quick review of Mac’s storage space. A colorful storage map shows you the amount of storage taken by each file type. For instance, Photos take 3.38 GB in my Mac.

Check Storage Space on Mac

There is also an ‘Other’ section in the listing, that most probably takes up a sufficient space. While you may want want to clear up the space, stop before taking any critical step. First of all, understand what really “Other” means.

In the simplest of terms, the “Other” category is a combination of files that are not recognized as one of the other file types.  Here are some examples:-

  • Common documents and file types, including PDF, doc, PSD, etc.
  • Any type of archives and disk images, including zips, dmg, iso, tar, etc.
  • Your personal data.
  • Files in the system folders of OS X, including temporary files, swap, voices, etc.
  • Application Support, iCloud files, screensavers, etc.
  • Cache items, including browser cache and locally stored message media files.
  • Fonts, app accessories, application plugins, and app extensions.
  • Various file and file types not recognized by Spotlight, for example, a virtual machine hard drive, Windows Boot Camp partitions, etc.

I bet you won’t want to clear up all the things after reading the list above. However, there are some useless things one would like to remove, such as system caches, temporary files, and other junk. Before we start with our spring cleaning, here’s how you can check the space occupied by the Other data.

How to Check Storage Space on Mac

Step #1. Click on the Apple () logo from the top-left of your screen and select About This Mac.

Click on Apple Logo and Select About This Mac

Step #2. Click on Storage tab, you will see a storage graph.

Click Storage Tab on Mac

Step #3. Move your pointer over the graph to check the storage space used by each file type.

Use Mouse Over to Check Storage Space on Mac

Step #4. Further, select Manage to view more options.

Click on Manage in Mac Storage

This will direct you to the Storage Management window. Here, you will see a proper listing of file types on the left hand side with their respective space usage. Click on any to see all the files segregated under the category. As for the options on the right-hand side, they are Apple’s built-in smart storage management features.

Select Category to View Storage Space on Mac

How to Clear Other on Mac Storage

You can manage Other storage on macOS catalina via multiple ways. One of which is using Apple’s Optimized Storage settings. Head over to this complete guide to free up some space on your Mac running macOS Sierra or later. The other method includes manual cleaning or using a third-party apps. Each of which is discussed in brief below.

Free Up Storage Space on Mac Manually

Though this method include some laborious steps, it also ensures that no important file goes missing. A word of advice from my side, don’t try these method if you are a novice in the field. You might end up deleting an important file, that might hinder performance of your Mac and Apps.

How to Clear Cache Files on Mac

Step #1. Click on Finder icon from the Dock.

Open Finders App in macOS

Step #2. Select Go menu from the top right corner and click on Go to Folder.

Click on Go and Select Go to Folder on Mac

Step #3. Then, you have to type ~/Library/caches into the text box.

Insert Command and Click on Go in Mac Finder

Next, you will see the list of caches from active apps appear on your desktop.

Step #4. You need to choose the app folder you want to remove the cache from and then right-click (or control-click) on the app folder → Finally, click on Move to Bin.

Right Click on App and Select Move to Bin on Mac

How to Remove Downloaded Files on Mac

Downloads folder need to be cleaned up from time to time. All the important files you download on your computer remain in this folder. Hence, it’s better to keep a check on it regularly so that it doesn’t clutter your computer.

Step #1. Click on Finder icon from the Dock and select Go menu → Click on Downloads.

Open Finders App in macOS

Click on Go and Select Download on Mac

Step #2. Select the file(s) you want to get rid of. Right-click (or control-click) on the file and select Move to Bin.

Right Click on Files and Select Move to Bin on Mac

Just in case you wish to save some files, move them to Dropbox or transfer them to the external drive. Else, don’t forget to empty trash. To do so, right click on bin icon, click on Empty Trash and confirm.

Empty Trash on Mac

Delete Downloaded Files from Trash

Delete Old Device Backups on Mac

If you regularly back up your iOS device on your Mac, you may have a lot of old unnecessary backups. Knowing each backup can consume space up to 5GB, it’s better to clear them off.

Step #1. Tap on the Apple () icon and open About This MacStorage

Click on Apple Logo and Select About This Mac

Click Storage Tab on Mac

Step #2. Click on the Manage tab.

Click on Manage in Mac Storage

Step #3. Here select iOS Files and choose the backup and click on Delete.

Select Category to Remove Backup from Storage on Mac

Select Device Backup and Click on Delete in Mac Storage

Step #4. Confirm the action by clicking Delete.

Confirm Action By Clicking on Delete to Remove Device Backup in Mac Storage

In case, you haven’t upgraded to macOS Catalina and still have access to iTunes, the process can be done by iTunes as well. Just open iTunes → Preferences → Devices, select the backup and delete it.

Click on Preferences in iTunes on Mac

Click on Devices Tab in iTunes Preferences

Delete iPhone Backup from Mac

Delete Old iPhone and iPad Backup from Mac

Use Third-Party Software to Clean Up Your Mac Conveniently

There are several third-party software like DaisyDisk ($4.99), Onyx, CleanMac 3 ($39.99) that can be immensely helpful in letting you easily clear off cache files on your computer.

Have any feedback?

So, did you try clearing up some space on your Mac? What is the size of “Other” storage space after you followed the steps above to free up disk space? Have something to say? Comments are open!

Here are some more cool tricks to optimize your Mac usage:-

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