Avast Academy Performance Cleaning What Is Other Storage on a Mac and How to Delete It

What Is Other Storage on a Mac and How to Delete It

Wondering what that Other storage category is on your Mac and why it takes up so much space? Managing storage on any Mac or MacBook can be as annoying as it is time-consuming. Here, we’ll cover what gets saved in the Other category, how to delete Other on your Mac, and how a disk cleaner app can easily declutter your computer.

Written by Elle Poole Sidell
Published on July 30, 2021

Over time, our devices fill up with lots of junk and forgotten stuff, which causes slowdowns as your computer runs out of space. Since defragging a Mac isn’t the recommended way to make room, you’re often left with no option but to delete files off your drive. But when it’s time to give your disk drive a spring cleaning, it can be tricky to figure out what you can delete.

You might have discovered a category called “Other” that’s taking up gigabytes on your storage drive. But is it safe to delete Other files on Mac? We have the answer.

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    What is Other storage on a Mac?

    The Other category on Mac storage consists of all the files that don’t fit into any of the standard categories, such as Apps, Photos, Documents, Audio, or Video. The Other folder on Mac can fill up fast with cached and temp files and other file types.

    But before you start freeing up space, it’s important to remember that not all files stored in Other are bloatware or garbage.

    Removing important files could cause serious problems with system operations or result in apps no longer working properly. That’s why we recommend knowing what files actually get saved in the Other category before you start deleting anything off your Mac.

    Other storage on Mac can contain the following file types: 

    • macOS system and temporary files.

    • Cached files (from the system, browser, and user caches).

    • App plugins, extensions, and fonts.

    • Disk images and archives like ZIP and DMG files.

    • Personal user data.

    • Common files such as PSD or PDF documents.

    • User library files like screensavers, Application support, or iCloud files.

    • Any files that aren’t recognized by Spotlight search.

    It can be tricky knowing what to save and what to keep, but a dedicated cleaner tool like Avast Cleanup for Mac makes it easy. But if you’re set on doing it yourself, we’ll show you how to delete Other on your Mac or MacBook so you don’t remove any files you need.

    Changes in Sierra and newer OS versions

    With the introduction of macOS Sierra, Apple gave its OS X storage management feature a makeover. The Sierra update added a new Optimize Storage feature to help speed up your Mac, and more important, it redefined what Other in Mac storage is and where you can find it.

    Manage storage options on macOS Sierra and newer versions.

    While each newer OS varies slightly, the most important thing to note is that instead of lumping all file types together into Other, Apple now divides certain file types previously stored in Other into the standard storage categories to make it easier to manage your disk storage. 

    That means that if you’re using newer versions of macOS, it’s easier to clean up Other files on your Mac.

    How to check disk space on a Mac

    The first step to freeing up disk space is to find out how much space you have left on your hard drive. Whether your Mac or MacBook has an SSD or HDD, it’s easy to check your storage space on Mac:

    1. Click the Apple icon in the top-left corner of your desktop and select About This Mac.

      Open About This Mac on macOS.
    2. Select the Storage tab. This nifty screen sorts your storage by file type so you can see what’s in your Mac’s storage.

      Storage tab on MacOS showing bar chart of Apps and other file types stored on a Macbook hard drive.

    You can avoid having to check disk space manually with Avast Cleanup for Mac. Instead of digging around your files trying to figure out what’s safe to remove, Avast Cleanup will automatically clear out unneeded files and free up space.

    How to locate Other storage

    Now that you know how to check the available storage on your Mac, it’s time to view and manage the Other files on your Mac.

    Hover over each color in the Storage tab’s file visualization display to check the file type category and the amount of storage being consumed. In newer macOS versions, like the one shown in the image below, Other is referred to as “Other Volumes in Container.”

    Storage tab on MacOS showing bar chart of Other storage on Mac and additional file types stored on a Macbook hard drive.You can also access Other storage by looking in the Library folder on your Mac or MacBook. Here’s how to open your Library so you can find out what files are stored in Other:

    1. Open Finder and select Go from the menu.

      Finder menu bar with Go dropdown option selected.
    2. Hold down the Option key on your keyboard and click Library when the option appears in the dropdown menu.

      Accessing the library folder option in the Go dropdown menu.

      You can also select Go to Folder from the same dropdown menu and enter ~/Library.

      Enter command for Library directory in the Go to Folder text box.
    3. You’ll now see the Library in your window with a bunch of folders and files, most of which are categorized as Other.

      The Library folder on Mac holds many Other file types and folders.

      From the Library, you can go through your files and folders to figure out what you want to remove or keep.

    How to delete files from Other storage

    Now that you know where to find them, it’s time to remove some files to clear up space in the Other storage category. Be extremely careful if you decide to manually delete Other on Mac in the Library. 

    There’s a reason Apple hides the Library by default on Macs and MacBooks. Files under the Other label aren’t always junk or unnecessary files. If you’re not sure what a file does, it’s better to leave it alone, or at least research whether it’s safe to remove it. We also suggest making a clone of your drive before starting. 

    Let’s take a look at how to get rid of Other files on your Mac: 

    1. Open a new Finder window by clicking on File and selecting New Finder Window in the menu. You can also use the shortcut Cmd + N.

      Open a New Finder Window from the Finder menu.
    2. Press Cmd + Shift + G to open the Go to Folder option from the Go dropdown menu and enter the following command in the text box: ~/Library.

      Open the Library with the Go to Folder menu option.
    3. Besides ~/Library, you can also visit these locations to look for Other files you might want to delete:

      • ~/Downloads

      • ~/Library/Caches

      • ~/Documents/Logs

    4. Right-click on any files or folders you want to remove and select Move to Trash.

      Right click on folders and files and move them to trash on your Mac.
    5. After deleting all the Other files you want, empty the Trash and restart your Mac. And you’re all done.

    Note that if you’re worried about accidentally removing important files that your computer needs, there’s a better way to clean out Other storage when disk space gets tight. 

    Avast Cleanup for Mac scans your hard disk for hidden junk files, finds duplicates you never knew about, and gets rid of wasteful apps that hog space to keep your Mac running smoothly without the hassle (or the stress).

    If you’re still set on manually deleting Other files on your Mac, here’s a quick list to help you get started clearing out space on your disk:

    Clear the cache

    Cached files are temporary files that your Mac uses to save time when you open an app again or revisit a website in your browser. Periodically clearing your cached files removes any unnecessary or outdated data that may be taking up space. 

    There are three main caches you can clear: the browser cache, system cache, and application cache. To learn more, check out our detailed guide on how to clear your cache on a Mac.

    A word of caution: Some cached files exist for other purposes, such as storing your current preferences or making sure your system is optimized. Removing the wrong files could be detrimental to the overall performance of your device.

    Remove installation files

    If you’re looking to save space on your Mac, a great place to explore is your Downloads folder. You’ll likely find old installation files (DMG or PKG files) that are no longer needed, as well as other common Other storage file types that you can erase.

    Searching for old installation files and Other storage files on Mac.

    Remove extensions and plugins

    Extension files (such as web browser extensions, installation files, screensavers, or app plugins) don’t take up tons of space. But they may be draining your Mac’s random access memory (RAM) or causing other issues, hampering your system performance. 

    Reducing extensions and plugins not only frees up extra space in Other storage, it can also dramatically speed up your internet connection, increase your computer’s startup speed, and clean clutter to keep things running smoothly. 

    Here’s how to remove extension files from your Mac:

    1. Remove plugins

    You can check what internet plugins you have in your Library folder by using this command in the Go to Folder text box: ~/Library/Internet Plug-Ins. From there, you can remove plugins from Other storage and also increase memory when you’re using your Mac.

    Remove unnecessary internet plugins from your Mac to save space.

    2. Remove web browser extensions

    Web browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Safari generally provide their own individual steps for managing extensions. You can do a quick online search for how to remove extensions from Chrome or from your preferred website browser on your Mac. 

    You can also use a powerful browser cleaner tool if you’re looking for a faster way to get rid of leftover cookies, cached files, and unnecessary temporary files from your favorite browser.

    3. Remove screensavers

    You can find and delete internet plugins from Other storage by navigating to the Library and using the following command in the Go to Folder text box: ~/Library/Screen Savers.

    In this folder, you can view the screensaver files on your Mac and move the ones you don’t need to the Trash.

    Find and remove screen saver files to make room on your Mac.

    Remove application support files

    All of your applications create and store temporary support files, such as logs and preferences. Even when you uninstall apps on a Mac, some of these files may stick around and clutter up your storage. 

    You can find the majority of these temporary files using the following command in the Go to Folder text box: ~/Library/Application support

    Look in the Application Support folder to find temporary files you can remove from your Mac.

    Remove old iOS backups

    You might not realize it, but iOS device backups take up a lot of space (4 to 5 GB each) on your computer. If you have older backups for an Apple device you no longer have, you might rediscover gigabytes of space on your Mac or MacBook. 

    You can find and view old iOS backups by using the following command in the Go to Folder text box: ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup.

    Application support files like mobile backups can take up disk space.

    But manually searching for all these different files can take forever, which is why you should use dedicated cleaning software to help you regularly remove unnecessary files from your Mac.

    Delete files from Other storage using Avast Cleanup

    A specialized app like Avast Cleanup for Mac will help you automatically find Other files and safely remove them. Why do all the work manually when there’s a much easier option? 

    Here’s how to use Avast Cleanup to delete files from Other storage:

    1. First, download Avast Cleanup and install it on your Mac or MacBook.

    2. After installation, click the Scan button under Clean clutter in the main dashboard. This will automatically scan your Mac for redundant cached files, logs, and trash data that’s safe to remove.

      Quickly and automatically scan your Mac for clutter using Avast Cleanup.
    3. You’ll see a detailed overview of file categories. Select the files or categories you’d like to remove and click Clean to remove.

      Scanning and removing unneeded files with Avast Cleanup for Mac.

    And there you have it — three easy steps to clean up Other storage on your Mac!

    Cut down on space-wasting Other files with Avast Cleanup for Mac

    Every Mac requires some maintenance to keep it clean, especially when you start running out of valuable storage space. And while there are lots of personal files you want to save, there are plenty of junk files (like those in Other storage) that you can get rid of to make room for new stuff and keep your Mac running smoothly. 

    But manually cleaning Other files can take ages — not to mention how risky it can be for your Mac if you accidentally delete the wrong file. That’s why you should use a dedicated cleaning and optimization tool to take out the digital trash with just one simple click. 

    Avast Cleanup for Mac automatically finds and removes cached and temporary files, duplicate files you didn’t know were there, and other junk hiding on your disk. With Avast Cleanup, Other file tidying is so easy, you can do it whenever you want, hassle-free.


    Why does Other take up so much space on my Mac?

    “Other” files consist of cached data, installation files, PDFs, downloads, and other miscellaneous data from your system. Because Other files steadily accumulate through normal usage, if you don’t proactively free up disk space periodically — such as by clearing your Mac’s cache — junk files and other bloatware can quickly pile up in your Mac’s storage.

    Is it safe to delete Other files on Mac?

    Many of the items classified as Other files on Mac are junk files that can be safely discarded. But there may be some Other files that you want to keep, and deleting certain data caches can have negative impacts. Before you delete anything, consider cloning your Mac’s hard drive to create a backup. And use a Mac cleanup tool to detect and delete detritus you don’t need. 

    How else can I clear my Mac storage?

    Uninstalling apps you don’t use anymore and cleaning your browser by clearing its cache and removing browser extensions are great ways to free up space on your Mac. If your machine doesn’t have an SSD, you can consolidate and organize disk storage by defragging your Mac.

    How do I get more storage on my Mac?

    It’s possible to increase your internal storage capacity by upgrading your SSD. Using cloud-based storage services can also give you extra storage space. Or, use an external hard drive to store files. But before you find additional storage space, make full use of what you’ve already got by cleaning up your Mac with a dedicated Mac cleanup tool.

    What’s the best Mac cleaner?

    When it comes to finding and safely deleting junk to boost Mac speed and performance, Avast Cleanup is one of the best all-in-one Mac cleaners. There are a variety of other free and paid Mac cleaners available, so choose one with strong reviews built by a reputable company.

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    Elle Poole Sidell