Other Storage on Mac: What’s In It and How to Delete It

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Even with a regular cleaning schedule to get rid of unwanted files, you may find that your Mac is slowing down, freezing, or having some other type of performance issue. 

For optimal performance on a Mac, you need 10% free disk space at any given time, and sometimes, despite your best efforts, you may not be able to free up that much space. 

Especially for older MacBooks, this can quickly become a problem, and it may seem like upgrading to a new one or upgrading the SSD (both of which are expensive) are the only options you have.

But, there is probably one thing you haven’t tried yet – deleting the ‘Other’ storage on Mac.

Note: Make sure you back up all your files to avoid any data loss. 

What is the ‘Other’ storage?

Any file that does not fall into a standard category like photo, video, or audio is clubbed into the ‘Other’ category. It includes but is not limited to documents, cache files, archives, app extensions, and disk images.

How much of your disk space is taken up by ‘Other’?

It’s easy to check this. Go to the Menu Bar and click on the Apple icon. Click on ‘About this Mac’ and then ‘Storage’ and wait. You will see a chart that visually represents how much of your memory is taken up by ‘Other.’ For some, it may be a few GB, and for others, it may be well over 50 GB. 

Can you delete the ‘Other’ Storage?

‘Storage’ has a ‘Manage’ option that allows you to optimize your storage and empty your trash, but you cannot delete ‘Other’ from here. 

But there is a way around this, and you’ll find out exactly how. 

Step 1: Check the ‘Other’ storage

To see what kind of files are cluttering your ‘Other’ storage, you need to visit the ‘Library folder,’ which can be found through ‘Finder.’

Open Finder and hit ‘Go’ and then ‘Go to Folder.’ Now key in “~/library” (without the punctuation). 

Step 2: Browse through the different files

You will see an extensive list of folders that you can browse through, but you will really need to dig deep into subfolders to really know which files can be offloaded.

Step 3: Delete files on ‘Other’

Don’t be in a rush to delete files. Apple doesn’t want you to delete them so quickly because many of these files are essential for your Mac to function the right way. 

Let’s say you remove unneeded apps from your Mac. But those installation files may still be languishing in the ‘Other’ folder. So, anything that has a .dmg extension can be deleted since those are installation files. 

Note: If you do end up deleting an app that you needed, you can always download it from the internet or Mac App Store.

You can also delete a cache from an app you no longer use but just make sure you double-check the name of the app to avoid deleting files you actually need. 

Deleting ‘Other’ files is the same as deleting any regular file. You can right-click on a file and move it to Trash. Don’t forget to empty your Trash after removing it from your system entirely. Otherwise, the file will continue to take up space on your disk.

Files you can safely delete from ‘Other’

  1. Documents: You can get rid of text documents like .docx, .pdf and .csv files from your Mac. If these are backed up, you can always retrieve them if you need them, and they won’t impact your system’s performance negatively. 
  2. Temporary files: You will find a lot of these here: “~/Users/User/Library/Application Support/” You can review and delete these manually. 
  3. Cache files: Go to “~/Library/Caches” and delete the files you don’t need. 
  4. Plugins and extensions of apps you use: Go to your browser and uninstall plugins and extensions that you’re not using. This will not affect your system in any way, but you can disable it first and then remove it later if you’re not sure. 
  5. Disk images and archives: Go to “DMG/ZIP” and offload old archives and installation files. 

Using a cleaning software vs. manual cleaning

If you’re not well versed with technology and the workings of a Mac, you may find removing files from the ‘Other’ storage a tad difficult. You should keep in mind that this is best left to experts, so if you are unsure about deleting a file, you can turn to cleaning software for help instead. There are several that automate the process for you so that you never have to worry about a slowed-down Mac in the first place. 

The caveat is that most of these options are not free. But they are less expensive than having to upgrade your SSD or buying a new Mac.

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