What Is Other in Mac Storage & How to Clear It Up Efficiently

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As a Mac user, there’s a moment when you run out of space to install new apps. If you need dozens of apps to do multiple tasks, then this should be quite common. But for others, even if you keep the picture and video count low, and don’t have a lot of things installed, one day you come across the message that “there is not enough space on your device”.

Do you have the same problem? Don’t worry. In this article, we will explain what other storage on mac is, where it is located, and how to delete “Other” on Mac.

Part 1: What is Other Storage on Mac?

As you look at the storage graph of your Mac, you’ll see the storage space that apps, photos, audio, and movies are taking up. The other category is used by Mac OS to designate a wide range of data and files that don’t neatly fall into the categories we mentioned above. Here are the kinds of files that you’ll find with this label:

PDF, .doc, PSD and other document files.

.zip (compressed files), .dmg (app container files) and .iso (disk image files).

Multiple types of user data.

Files present in Mac OS’ system folders, such as temporary files.

User library items, such as iCloud files, App Support, screen savers and more.

App extensions, accessories, plugins, and fonts.

Other files and file types not recognizable by Spotlight, like virtual machine data.

Not all of these files are junk, many of them are quite important. In contrast with the iOS category of the same name, where you can find mishandled caches, apps that were not removed correctly and even misallocated labels, the Mac OS other category can contain important files.

Mac OS doesn’t have another classification method to give an accurate representation in the storage dialog of what is what, so a lot of different files are put together in this unclear “other” category. This doesn’t mean you can’t reclaim some gigabytes of space from here, it just gives you an idea of what this category might contain.

Part 2: Where is Other Storage on a Mac?

Many of the files in other storage can be found in the hidden Library folder. It is hidden for security reasons, to prevent users from accidentally deleting or modifying files that might lead to system instability. Because of this, before you make any changes to anything inside this folder, please make sure you know what you’re doing. If you’re following any guide, follow rigorously each of the steps being laid out to avoid modifying or removing important system files, as doing so can lead to errors.

To access the Library folder, follow these steps:

Open Finder.

Here, click on Go in the Menu bar.

Click on Go to Folder.

On the text field, type “~/Library”.

Where is Other Storage on a Mac

You’ll see many different folders, such as “Assistant”, “Caches”, “CoreData”, and many more. The space these folders take inside your hard drive is marked as “other” in the storage information.

Where is Other Storage on a Mac

Part 3: How to Delete Other Storage on Mac?

Now that you know what is other in Mac storage and where to find it, you can start taking the steps to delete the files you don’t need. Bear in mind that some of these files are still important and useful, and you should only target old files that you’re not using, as deleting the ones related to apps that you use daily could affect your preferences and your user experience. Follow these steps to clean up other storage on Mac.

1Check the Other Storage Status

Before we start deleting anything, let’s take a look at how your storage is looking right now:

Step 1: Go to Finder.

Step 2: Select the Apple Menu in the upper left corner.

Step 3: Click on About This Mac.

Step 4: Click on Storage.

Step 5: See the breakdown of the different categories and how much space each one is taking.

Check the Other Storage Status

2Delete Cache Files

Cache files store app preferences and other data about your apps. You can delete old app data to get some space back:

Step 1: Open Finder, select “Go”>” Go to Folder”.

Step 2: When the window appears, type “~/Library/Caches” into the text box.

Delete Cache Files

Step 3: After that, choose the app folder you want to remove the cache from. Next, drag it to trash to delete them from your Mac.

Delete Cache Files

Step 4: Next, you can repeat all the above steps to delete cache files.

3Clear Up the Downloads Folder

If you download lots of files frequently, use them and then forget about them, you might have a very big Downloads folder that you need to take care of:

Step 1: Go to Finder, then select the Go menu.

Step 2: Click on Downloads, and look through the files and move the ones you want to keep to a separate folder.

Step 3: Select all the files by using the Command + A shortcut.

Step 4: Right-click on  the selected files and select Move to Trash.

Clear Up the Downloads Folder

4Remove App Plugins and Extensions

These particular files are not very big, but you can still get some extra space by cleaning them. As a plus, some of these plugins can sometimes cause trouble in your Mac, so removing the ones you don't need will be highly beneficial and might also increase your system's speed.

3.4.1. To remove extensions from Safari

Step 1: Open your Safari browser, tap on Preferences.

Step 2: Go to the Extensions tab.

Step 3: Choose the extensions you want to delete, click “Uninstall”  to clear or make it Enable to Disable.

Remove your Safari Extensions

3.4.2. To remove extensions from Chrome

Step 1: Open the Google Chrome browser.

Step 2: Click on the icon that looks like three dots, at the top-right corner of the window.

Step 3: Click the More Tools and then, choose Extensions.

Step 4: Disable and remove extensions you no longer need.

Remove your Chrome Extensions

3.4.3. To remove extensions from Firefox

Step 1: Launch Mozilla Firefox, find the menu with three horizontal lines, at the top-right corner of the window.

Step 2: Select Add-ons.

Step 3: Click the Extensions and Plugins tabs, disable and remove extensions you no longer need.

Remove your Firefox Extensions

If you’re unsure whether a particular extension or plug-in is essential to your apps or your system, disable it first and test if everything works well. If it does, it is safe to remove it.

5Delete Old Device Backups in iTunes

Old device backups in iTunes generally take a lot of space, especially if you tend to get new iOS devices frequently. Each backup can have 4 to 5 gigabytes on average, so it’s good to clean them if you no longer have the device or if it is already backed up in the cloud.

Step 1: Run iTunes in your Mac, tap the iTunes menu and choose Preferences.

Step 2: Click on Devices.

Step 3: Choose the backups you want to delete. If you have multiple backups for one device that you’re still using, you can delete the old ones and leave the most recent one for safekeeping.

Step 4: Click on Delete Backup.

Delete Old Device Backups in iTunes

Part 4: How to Recover Accidentally Deleted Files on Mac?

Sometimes, in the haste of completing this cleanup, a misclick can happen. If during this process you accidentally deleted very important files, don’t worry. It is still possible to get them back with AnyRecover, an app specifically designed to help you with this problem.


1,000,000 + Downloads

Features of iMyFone AnyRecover:        

AnyRecover detects all kinds of files in your drive, even if hidden or deleted, either by emptying the trash or previous drive formatting.

After scanning, it will list all the files found and you can double-click to preview them before restoring.

High recovery rate by looking through data paths and locations.

Since you don’t have to take your computer to a recovery store, your privacy is protected.

It can even get your files back in the following cases: formatted drives, lost partitions, RAW partition recovery, external hard drives, data loss from virus attacks or after a system crash.

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Here’s how you can recover accidentally deleted files on Mac with AnyRecover:

Step 1. Download AnyRecover, install it on your Mac and launch it. Select the drive you wish to scan for deleted files and click Start button.

select hard drive

Step 2. AnyRecover will start scanning. Depending on the size of your drive and the specifications of your Mac, this could take some time.

scan selected drive

Step 3. When the scan completes, the deleted files will be listed on the screen, sorted by file type. You can preview each individual file by double-clicking on it. Select the files you want to get back and hit the Recover button.

preview and recover


We hope the “Other” category in your Mac isn’t as mysterious as it used to be before. It contains a lot of important files essential to the health of your system, but, at the same time, there are others that you can live without. Now you know how to clear other storage space on Mac and maintain the free space in your hard drive. Not only that, but you can also rest assured that even if you delete something important, you can get it back easily with AnyRecover.

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By  Simon Marcus , to Hard Drive Recovery

Updated on Apr 08, 2020

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