Storage space on your Mac is precious, especially if you have a 128 GB or even 256 GB SSD. Your Mac may start to slow down and not perform as well when your storage is almost full, so it is. important to know what is consuming your disk space and to eliminate redundant files that accumulate over time.
Most things are easily identifiable – photos, videos, music, documents, etc. – but you’ll also find an allocation of something called Other Storage which will undoubtedly be several gigabytes on your disk. So what is the others, can you delete it and should you delete the others?
What are the other files on Mac?
You can get a basic overview of what’s taking up space on your Mac by going to About This Mac.
- Click on the Apple logo.
- Go to About This Mac.
- Select Storage. Wait while you calculate.
You will eventually see a bar graph showing which types of files are taking up space on your Mac, similar to this image:
In our case, yellow is Photos, red is Apps, light blue is Messages, purple is Music, dark blue is Mail, light blue is iCloud Drive, and gray is System.
Since Other is the biggest consumer of storage – in our case 38.55 GB – you’ll wonder what exactly Other is.
While most of the major categories of file types are straightforward, the variety of the others can be a bit of a mystery. If it’s not about music, documents, videos, photos or apps, what could it be?
The system applies the label “Other” to files that do not exactly match these types, such as installation packages, cache files, old backups, application extensions, temporary files, and so on. Most are the ones that are no longer needed, but need to be stored somewhere, so they are uploaded to the Others category.
How to check what your other storage is taking up
You can use the tools available through About This Mac> Storage to manage what’s occupying all types of storage on your Mac; To do so, you just need to click on Manage and you will see a screen like the one below.
However, while you can tweet your system multiple times, choosing to store files in iCloud, for example, or browsing files to reduce clutter, you can’t access Others here at all – notice how that is. is gray in the left column.
So how can you tell what’s in others?
To see what all of this “Other” space is using, you need to go to the Library folder, as this is where most of the “Other” content is typically stored.
Depending on your system settings, you might not be able to see the Library folder in the normal Finder window, so the easiest way to directly access it is to follow these steps:
- Open Finder.
- Click the Go option in the menu bar.
- Select Go to Folder.
- Then type ~ / library and press Enter.
You will now be presented with a long list of folders, most of which will contain files that are considered other. Some good ones to start with are caches and app support, but you’ll have to poke around to see which subfolders can be safely deleted.
Before you start, please read on, as deleting some of these files may affect the way your Mac works!
Can I delete other files?
Yes, but you’ll have to be careful. Obvious things like leftover .dmg files from installations are fine, but when you start getting into cache files and other more obtuse types you can quickly run into issues. For example, deleting a cache from an old app that you no longer have will be a problem. But if you delete any of the apps you are using, it will immediately forget all your preferences and other details.
Basically the rule of thumb is if you’re not sure what something is or what it does, let it be. Of course, as always, we strongly recommend that you take a full backup of your system before you start removing anything, to avoid disaster.
Just follow our step-by-step guide on how to back up your Mac and you can start cleaning up your system knowing that you have a backup to take if something goes wrong.
How to delete other files
When you are in the Library folder, other files are deleted just like any normal file. Again, we warn you to be careful!
You can delete files by right clicking on them and choosing the delete option.
Then you will need to empty the Trash or the file will remain on your Mac.
However, deleting some files in this manner may leave some leftovers on your Mac, so our preferred method of dealing with this type of process, however, is to use one of the packages in Software Dedicated Mac cleaning tools that help you avoid costly mistakes.
Some of our current favorites are CleanMyMac X, MacCleaner 2 Pro, and Daisy Disk, but you’ll find a selection of other great options in our roundup of the best cleaning programs and optimization tools for Mac.
These often have system scan features that can highlight redundant files while still retaining files that continue to be used regularly. If you want to delete them, all you have to do is press a button instead of searching through hundreds of subfolders and hoping that nothing essential is deleted.
You’ll have to pay for these programs, as testing usually only offers the option of diagnosing issues rather than fixing them, but most are worth it considering the time and frustration they can save.
Before buying Software In addition to or browsing the Library folder, take a look at our tips on how to free up space on a Mac, as you can follow a few simple steps to get that precious hard drive storage back.