Clearing "Other" Storage on Your Mac: A Comprehensive Guide

Managing storage on a Mac can sometimes feel like a juggling act, especially when you're met with the mysterious "Other" storage category. This category encompasses files that don't fit neatly into the more common types like Audio, Video, Apps, or Photos. Instead, it includes a variety of files — from system and temporary files to caches and beyond. If you're struggling with freeing up space, this guide will walk you through how to clear "Other" storage on your Mac efficiently.

Understanding "Other" Storage

The "Other" storage on a Mac encompasses a variety of files that don't fit into the usual categories like Audio, Video, Apps, or Photos, including:

  • System and temporary files: These are essential for the operating system's functionality but can accumulate and use unnecessary space. Regular maintenance can help manage their size without affecting system performance.
  • Cache files: These speed up app and web performance but can grow large. Periodically clearing cache files can reclaim space without harming your experience.
  • Documents and archives: Encompassing all non-media files such as PDFs and office documents, plus compressed archives (e.g., ZIP, RAR), these can be forgotten but take up substantial space. Reviewing and deleting unneeded documents can free up significant storage.
  • App extensions and plugins: These enhance your apps but may go unused for extended periods. Removing unused extensions and plugins can streamline your apps and free up space.
  • Disk images: Including files like DMG or ISO, often used for software installations, these can linger after their initial use. Deleting unneeded disk images can recover storage space for other uses.

Understanding the varied components of "Other" storage is the first step toward efficient space management on your Mac. Identifying and removing unnecessary files from these categories can significantly improve your system's storage without impacting its performance.

How to Check Your "Other" Storage

To effectively manage your Mac's storage, it's crucial first to understand how much space the "Other" category is occupying. Here’s how to check:

  • Access About This Mac: Click on the Apple icon in the top-left corner of your screen and select "About This Mac."
  • Navigate to Storage: Within the window that opens, click on the "Storage" tab. Here, you’ll see a visual representation of your storage usage, divided into categories such as Apps, Photos, and, crucially, "Other."
  • Analyze "Other" Storage: Hovering over the "Other" section will not provide a detailed breakdown, but it gives you an idea of how much space it occupies. This visualization is the starting point for understanding how much of your total storage is being used by these miscellaneous files.

Understanding the volume of "Other" storage is just the beginning. From here, you can start to take targeted actions to clean up unnecessary files and free up space. It's a good practice to periodically check this storage category, as it can grow unexpectedly as you use your Mac. Regular maintenance ensures that your system remains efficient and that you have a clear idea of where and how your storage space is being used.

Clearing "Other" Storage: Step-by-Step Guide

Now, let's tackle the main event: clearing that "Other" storage. Follow these steps to free up space on your Mac.

1. Delete Cache Files

Cache files speed up your apps and browsing but can accumulate and take up considerable space over time.

  • System Cache: Go to `~/Library/Caches` and manually delete the contents inside each folder. However, do this cautiously and avoid deleting system files.
  • Browser Cache: Clearing your browser cache varies by browser, but generally, you can find this option in the browser's settings under "Privacy" or "History."

2. Remove Downloaded Files

The Downloads folder often houses forgotten files that contribute to "Other" storage.

- Open your Downloads folder.

- Review and delete any unnecessary files.

3. Clean Up Mail Attachments

Emails and their attachments can take up a surprising amount of space.

- Open the Mail app.

- Go to `Mailbox` > `Erase Deleted Items` and `Mailbox` > `Erase Junk Mail` to clear out unnecessary stored emails and their attachments.

4. Clear Old Device Backups in iTunes

If you've backed up devices to your Mac through iTunes, these can take up significant space.

- Open iTunes.

- Go to `Preferences` > `Devices`.

- Delete any old or unnecessary backups.

5. Manage Large Documents and Files

Review and clean up large files that might be lurking on your system.

- Use Finder to search for files over a certain size, then review and delete as necessary.

6. Uninstall Unused Apps

Apps that you no longer use can be taking up space unnecessarily.

- Open the Applications folder.

- Drag any apps you don't use to the Trash, and then empty the Trash.

Using a VPN to Enhance Privacy and Security

While clearing "Other" storage on your Mac, consider enhancing your device's privacy and security. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can be a powerful tool in safeguarding your online activities. A VPN encrypts your internet connection, ensuring that your online actions are secure and private, even when clearing sensitive data from your Mac.


Managing and clearing "Other" storage on your Mac can free up significant disk space, leading to improved performance. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can take control of your storage and keep your Mac running smoothly. Remember, alongside these technical cleanups, using a VPN service adds an extra layer of security to your online presence, protecting your data from potential threats. Make clearing "Other" storage on your Mac a regular part of your device maintenance routine to ensure it continues to run efficiently.

With these tips, you're well on your way to mastering your Mac's storage and ensuring your computer remains fast, efficient, and clutter-free. Happy cleaning!


Download VPN Unlimited

Get VPN Unlimited right now and start enjoying a secure and private internet with absolutely no borders!