How to check and clean up "Other" storage on Mac

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

And that's sort of true! But the other volumes in container can get full, and reduce the Mac storage Other space for your Mac. 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.

How to Check Storage on Mac

This will be quick! Just follow these directions:

  • Click the Apple logo on the top left of the menu bar
  • Select 'About This Mac'
  • Choose 'Storage'

And there you go! That's the simple way to check the storage available on your Mac. Now, do you see that 'Manage…' button on the right-hand side of the window? Click it!

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 — potentially saving yourself from having to buy additional storage.

View and Manage the Other space on Mac

The next window you arrive at shows how Apple manages your system memory. In macOS Sierra, Apple added a default feature named 'Optimize' that helps balance the load between cloud storage and on-device memory use. As you can see in the window (below), 'System' and 'Other' are greyed-out.

This is because the other space is tricky to manage, and required digging into the Library on your Mac. As we cautioned in our article on deleting apps from your Mac, foraging through Library is a tad frightening, so proceed with caution.

But what is other on Mac? In essence, it's caches, plug-ins, and documents macOS wants to keep around. Here's how to open Library, so we can start to discover what 'other' is on Mac:

  • Open Finder
  • Select 'Go' from menu
  • Hold down 'option' key on keyboard; 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 trash.' Then empty the trash can, and you're done. This is how you remove files from the Other storage category.

But that's scary stuff. We have a better way

The Best Way to Reduce Other Storage on Mac

Apple's Optimize service is great for Macs with tons of on-board storage, mostly because those machines need very little interaction when it comes to managing files and storage space.

The best option is to find a file manager you can control. ForkLift is a really solid option that brands itself as  a replacement for Finder – and it's not wrong. You can connect multiple servers (FTP, SFTP, Amazon S3, AFP, WebDAV, SMB, and NFS), and archive unnecessary files or folders. Like Finder, it has a preview for files you're accessing, and also lets you compare files so you can delete duplicates as needed.

ForkLift menu app

A much more robust method is with CleanMyMacX. This app is almost a must-have for any Mac owner. It managed files, folders, apps, extensions, updates, mail attachments, and the trash bin. But it's core function is to make sure your Mac is optimized, and it does an amazing job.

With CleanMyMacX, all you have to do is activate its Smart Scan feature. It discovers unnecessary files for you, and optimizes your Mac for speedier performance. It even makes sure your Mac has no malware!

CleanMyMacX 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 before you select 'run.' In this details log, you'll see two main categories: system junk, and trash bins.

System Junk is where those pesky cache files are, along with log files. You can choose 'show' to see which caches CleanMyMacX is getting rid of, too.

Delete old files

Conclusion

The one thing to remember about other storage on Mac is it's not always going to vanish. Your Mac stores all kinds of things there, like application support and font files. You need that stuff – and 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.

This is why we advocate for apps like ForkLift and CleanMyMacX. Even if you want the more manual controls ForkLift offers, its ease of use makes storage management faster and easier.

We think most will find value in CleanMyMacX, too. Its simple one-click optimization makes system maintenance a breeze!

cmmx maintenance

Best of all, both ForkLift and CleanMyMacX are available free as part of a seven day trial of Setapp. In addition to these apps, you get access to dozens of other handy macOS apps! 

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