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How to check and clean up ‘Other’ storage on Mac

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7 min read

Checking your storage on Mac isn't difficult – but managing it can be. One of the most mysterious storage compartments is the 'Other' storage on Mac, which sounds like a catch-all for files that can't be labeled properly. 

You can find ‘Other’ in your storage breakdown on macOS Big Sur and earlier versions. If you use a more recent macOS, this chunk of storage is labeled as ‘Other Volumes in Container” on your Mac (for simplicity, we’ll just call it Other storage).  

The Other storage can get full pretty fast unless you clean up your Mac regularly. And keep in mind there's no 'how to get rid of Other on Mac' option; the partition isn't there to delete totally. Here we'll show you how to check your Other space, and offer guidance on managing it.

What is Other storage? 

Your Mac breaks down all the files you store on your Mac into a few storage categories — apps, docs, etc. Anything that doesn’t fit into any of these categories will fall into the mysterious ‘Other.’ Here are the types of files you’ll typically find in this storage compartment: 

  • System files and temporary files
  • .dmg, .pkg, archives, and all kinds of installer files
  • Caches
  • App plugins and extensions 
  • PDF, .psd, .doc, and other types of documents. 

As you can see, Other storage may hold all kinds of stuff — from redundant installer files you should have deleted a long time ago to important PDF docs you don’t ever want to lose. So there’s no easy way to manage this storage. But we know the best one. Read on to learn about it! 

How to check storage on Mac

This will be quick! Just follow these directions: 

  1. Click the Apple logo on the top left of the menu bar
  2. Select 'About This Mac'
  3. Choose 'Storage'

And there you go! That's the simple way to check the storage available on your Mac. 

Where is Other storage on a Mac?  

In the Storage tab, hover over the bar that shows the breakdown of your disk storage (it might be fully grey at first — in this case, wait a few seconds for the Mac to calculate storage). Once you see colored compartments, click on the light-grey one. That’s your Other storage. 

other storage mac

 

The best way to reduce Other storage on Mac 

Depending on how you use your Mac and what apps you run, that Other category could be taking up quite a bit of space, and you could free it up very easily with CleanMyMacX. This app is almost a must-have for any Mac owner. It manages files, folders, apps, extensions, updates, mail attachments, and the Bin. But its core function is to make sure your Mac is optimized. 

With CleanMyMacX, all you have to do to clean up Other storage is to activate its Smart Scan feature. It discovers unnecessary files and suggests that you delete them. As a nice perk, it also checks if your Mac needs any maintenance and if there’s any malware on it. 

cmm smart scan

Trusting CleanMyMacX to do its job correctly is never a question, but you can dig deeper if you like. Once a Smart Scan is complete, you can select 'Review Details' under the Cleanup task. In this Details log, you'll see two main categories: System Junk and Trash Bins (and if you’re like me, too lazy to clean up my inbox, Mail Attachments will be here, too). 

clear system junk mac cmm

System Junk is where those pesky cache files are, along with log files. You can click 'Show' to see which caches CleanMyMacX is getting rid of, too. So you control the whole process! 

How to delete Other storage on Mac

If you don’t have access to a cleanup solution like CleanMyMac X, you can try deleting some redundant files from the Other storage manually. Unfortunately, you can’t do it via Apple’s Manage menu (About This Mac > Storage > Manage). Even though you can see how much space Other storage occupies, there’s no way to access all the files stored in ‘Other.’ 

Below we explain how to clear each type of Other files step by step, but we have to warn you that it requires some solid Mac expertise. So be very careful! We don’t want to accidentally delete important stuff. 

Remove application support and log files

Did you know an app is not fully gone from your Mac once you delete it? Well, it’s not! It usually leaves many leftovers behind — such as logs and support files. The best way to get rid of every file associated with an app is to uninstall apps with CleanMyMac X via its Uninstaller module. 

remove log files mac

If you need to remove app leftovers manually, here’s how:  

  1. Open Finder > Go > Go to Folder > ~/Library/Application Support
  2. Locate a folder that has the same name as the app you’ve deleted
  3. Delete it to get rid of the associated files.  

Additionally, you can also look into these Library folders: ~/Library/Logs and ~/Library/Containers to remove other app-related files.  

Clear the cache

 Caches have to go, no doubt about that. Here's how to open Library and remove caches from there:  

  • Open Finder
  • Select 'Go' from the menu
  • Hold down Option; you should see a new option for 'Library'
  • While holding down the Option key, select 'Library.' 

You'll see a Library folder in the list. Click it to see all your apps and associated files. There are also folders with names like 'Caches.'

We can't caution you enough: if you're not sure what it is you're looking for, don't delete it – and remember you can't delete Other on Mac entirely. There's a reason Apple hides the Library; small changes can have deep, lasting effects.

Caches in macOS Library folder

But, if you know what needs deleting, this is where you'll find it. If you're positive an app's files or plugins need to go, this is where you'll find them. Simply right-click the folder or file you want gone, and select 'move to Bin.' Then empty the Bin, and you're done. This is how you remove files from the Other storage category. Check info about how to recover files from a hard drive on Mac.

Delete temporary files

Temporary files — old iOS backups, application support files, and so on — are another big storage hog. Just as with caches, there’s no easy way to locate and delete them without CleanMyMac X. However, if you have experience working with Library, you can get rid of some temporary files you’ll find here: 

  1. Open Finder > Go > Go to Folder > ~/Library/Application Support
  2. Open Finder > Go > Go to Folder > ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup 

delete temporary files mac

Delete old Time Machine backups

If you back up your Mac with Time Machine, your Other storage is definitely cluttered with old backups. And if you have the ‘Back up automatically” option enabled, your Mac also holds numerous local Time Machine snapshots. 

Before we explain how to get rid of old backups, here’s a tip: stop backing up with Time Machine and install Get Backup Pro instead. This robust tool lets you create bootable backups that can be stored externally. And you control the whole process! You can select the files you want to back up in the first place, decide how often they should be backed up, and so on. 

delete time machine backups

Now, if you want to fix the Time Machine problem, delete old backups: 

  1. Connect your external backup drive to Mac
  2. Open Finder and choose Time Machine under Locations
  3. Access the Backups.backupdb folder 
  4. Select all the backups stored in the folder and delete them
  5. Empty your Bin before disconnecting the external backup drive. 

Remove extensions from Other storage  

Apps have their own sit in your Mac’s storage — but not their add-ons (plugins and extensions). The latter usually fall into the Other category. If you know which plugins and extensions may be removed, you can free up a good chunk of storage by deleting them. CleanMyMac X has a one-click option for this, but you can also do it manually. 

 You can delete plugins via Library: Finder > Go > Go to Folder > ~/Library/Internet Plug-Ins. Delete redundant plugins (but only if you’re sure you can delete them!) 

To remove browser extensions, you should follow a set of instructions that are specific to your browser. Here are the most common ones. 

Remove extensions from Safari: 

  1. Open Safari 
  2. Choose Preferences in the Safari menu 
  3. Go to Extensions
  4. Select the extension and click Uninstall. 

Remove extensions from Chrome: 

  1. Open Chrome
  2. Click the three dots in the upper-right corner
  3. Choose More Tools > Extensions
  4. Delete the unneeded extensions by clicking Remove.  

Remove extensions from Firefox: 

  1. Open Firefox 
  2. Click the hamburger menu in the upper-right corner
  3. Choose Add-ons > Extensions and Plugins
  4. Remove whatever you want. 

Delete disk images and archives

Consider deleting redundant .dmg files and archives to free up some space. The manual way of removing those is very simple (but laborious):  

  1. Open Finder
  2. Type the file extension in the search field (zip or dmg) 
  3. Search ‘This Mac’
  4. Sort files by size — it’s wise to delete the heaviest ones first. 

Keep your storage tidy with Setapp

One thing to remember about Other storage on Mac is it's not going to vanish by itself. Your Mac stores all kinds of things there, like application support and font files. You need that stuff – and this is again why we caution you not to simply clear out everything in your Library that doesn't immediately resonate. 

But you don't always need caches, and cleaning your files manually can take a long time. When you're ready to clear 'Other' on Mac, it's almost always because you want it to run smoother, or stay running at optimal performance levels. And we understand that!  

This is why we advocate for apps like Get Backup Pro and CleanMyMac X. Get Backup Pro will help you stop wasting storage on redundant backups and CleanMyMac X will keep your Mac clean and optimized — just make sure to run a Smart Scan once in a while.  

Best of all, both Get Backup Pro and CleanMyMac X are available as part of a free seven-day trial of Setapp. In addition to these apps, you get access to dozens of other handy macOS and iOS apps! 

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