How to Clean Up “Other” Storage on Mac [Guide]

Never run out of storage space on your Mac again!

by: - Last updated on: April 12th, 2021

Key Takeaways

  • macOS’ System Information tool is not the best storage analyzer, nor is it the most comprehensive with regard to giving a breakdown of specific files, which leads to the “Other” storage problem on Macs.
  • “Other” storage represents all those files that do not fall under the standard storage category labels but still consume a noticeable chunk of space on the system.
  • Keeping the “Other” storage under check and cleaning it regularly keeps the system healthy, which in turn makes your Mac operate at its optimal levels.

Managing storage space on Macs can be tricky, especially if you own one of the lower storage capacity models. Even though Apple offers a native macOS tool to give you a detailed breakdown of how much space your system takes up, the overly extensive labeling of the Other category is perhaps one of the most confusing aspects of it all. So much so that it sometimes becomes challenging to determine the files that are actually hoarding all the space on your system, let alone finding a way to remove them.

Mac System Information storage breakdown

If you are running low on storage space and seeing the Other category holding up a significant chunk of your storage space, here is a guide to help you identify what constitutes the Other storage category, how to find the Other files, and how to clean them off your Mac.

What is Other storage on Mac?

Other is a category label in macOS’ System Information tool. It represents all those files that do not fall under the standard storage category labels (Apps, Documents, iCloud Drive, etc.) but still consume a noticeable chunk of space on your system.

What exactly are these file types, you ask? Well, any types of files on your Mac that belong to one of the obscure categories like the user and system caches, disk images and archives, app extensions and plugins, and system and temporary files fall under the Other storage.

You can find these files by going into System Information.

  1. Click on the Apple menu and choose About this Mac.
  2. In the System Information window, click on the Storage tab. macOS will now identify the storage on your system and give you an overview of the consumed space.
  3. Click on Manage to view a detailed breakdown of the occupied space.

Mac System Information storage categorization

However, this approach of viewing storage breakdown is only partially useful since you only get to see the total space occupied by the Other category and don’t really have an option to see the exact breakdown of files that take up this space.

How to Find Files in the Other category on Mac?

Files in the Other category are typically found in two ways: by looking into different folders that make up the Other category, or by using a third-party disk analyzer or cleanup utility.

1. Finding Other Files Manually

A majority of the files that take up the Other storage belong to your Mac’s Library folder. Here is a quick way to navigate to this folder:

  1. Open Finder.
  2. Click on Go in the menu bar and select Go to Folder. Alternatively, you can access this using the shift + command + G shortcut in the Finder window.
  3. In the text field, enter ~/Library.
  4. Click Go.

Mac Library folder

Finder will now open to the Library folder. Here you will find a list of various folders. Most of these folders contribute to the Other storage category. However, you can find a major chunk of this category under two folders: Caches and Application Support.

2. Finding Other Files using a Third-Party Tool

There are various free and paid disk analyzer utilities for macOS that allow you to analyze your storage to find out the files that make up the Other category. Some of these utilities include OmniDiskSweeper, DiskInventoryX, CleanMyMac X, and MacClearner Pro.

How to Clean Other Storage on Mac

Now that you have broadly identified the kind of files that make up the Other storage on your Mac, it is time to remove them. Similar to the identification process, cleaning up can also be done in two ways. You can either go to each folder (that contributes to the Other storage) on your system and selectively delete the files from there or use a third-party Mac cleaning utility to handle it for you.

1. Cleaning Other Storage Manually

As we have already mentioned, a significant chunk of the Other category files resides in the Library folder. To clean it up yourself, you just need to go to that folder (and its sub-folders — Cache and Application Support) and delete the unnecessary and redundant files. [Refer to the steps on how to get to the Library folder in the previous section.] Here are the steps to clean Other storage manually.

  1. In the Library folder, go into the Caches folder. Here, delete the cache files for apps you no longer use or have uninstalled from your Mac. [Note: It is wise to know which files you are deleting beforehand since removing cache will reset those apps. Likewise, you should also do a complete backup of your Mac before performing such operations, just to be on the safer side.]
  2. After you have cleaned up the temporary files from ~/Library/Caches and ~/Library/Application Support, it is time to check for the same in the /Library/Caches folder. Most of the time, it does not hold much cache. However, there are instances when it can get overpopulated.
    CleanMyMac X system cleanup
  1. Next, you can look for more Other files in the Backup and Downloads folders on your Mac. Open Finder, and from the sidebar, go to the Downloads folder under Favorites. Here, select all the disk images (.dmg) and delete them: if you install a lot of apps but never bother to delete their installation images, this step should free up significant space for you.
  2. To delete old/unnecessary backup backups, open Finder and hit the command + shift + G shortcut. In the Go to Folder window, enter the following path ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup to go to the Backup folder and click Go. Here you will find all your backups. Select the ones you don’t need and delete them.

2. Cleaning Other Storage Using Third-Party Utility

If the manual method sounds tedious to you and you do not want to risk dealing with your system, you can use a third-party cleaning utility to take care of the task. You can find a variety of such utilities on the Mac. However, we recommend using CleanMyMac X or MacCleaner Pro, which are two popular and effective utilites.

CleanMyMac X system cleanup

Using these third-party apps is pretty straightforward. First, you need to perform a scan to identify all the temporary items (cached files and logs) and unwanted files that make up the Other storage on your Mac. Once the scan is complete, you are prompted to make a selection of the file types that you want to remove from the list of items. And that is it; the cleaning utility will now remove your selection and clean up your storage. Furthermore, if required, you can even use these apps to optimize storage on your Mac.

Keeping the Other Storage on Mac Clean

Maintaining your Mac’s storage space by avoiding the accumulation of junk or unnecessary files, such as those in the Other storage category, keeps your machine in good health and makes it function at its optimal level. If you own a lower configuration Mac, you should keep a tab on your system storage and clean out the clutter once in a while. That way, you do not have to succumb to storage issues or crumble to performance throttling issues.

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