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What is Other storage on a Mac and how do you delete it? 

Are you the proud owner of a MacBook Air/Pro, iMac, or Mac Mini, and want to keep your beautiful device running the way it did when you first lovingly unboxed it? Then it’s time to explore the “Other”. No, we don’t mean PCs, but “Other storage”. What is it exactly and where can you find it? Read on to find out why the files that populate it could cramp your device’s style if they take up too much space. Then learn how to solve the problem fast with the free clean-up tools from Avira. Available for Mac and iOS, they do more than clear out: They can help speed up boot times and boost overall performance.   

Let’s lift the lid on “Other” storage: What’s inside?

Many files fall into clear, standard categories, such as photos, applications, audio, video, and documents. Then there are the file rebels—those that defy such easy categorization—like plug-ins, application logs, and caches. They’re simply labelled “Other” and refer to all the junk and forgotten bits and bobs lurking out of sight in “Other storage”. Before you feel sorry for them, remember that allowing these files to pile up can slow down your device’s performance if they take up too much space on your hard drive. Although they’re not directly harmful, it’s recommended to clean out your storage drive regularly if you want to help optimize device performance.    

What does Other storage contain? It’s a broad list of items, including: 

  • Documents and common file types (PDF, doc, PSD, etc.) 
  • Disk images and archives (ZIP, DMG files, etc.) 
  • Cached files (from the system, browser, and user caches) 
  • Application plugins, app extensions, and fonts 
  • Personal user data 
  • User library files like screensavers, Application support, or iCloud files. 
  • Any files that aren’t recognized by a Spotlight search and don’t fit into the main macOS categories   

How can you access other memory on a Mac? 

You’ll have to do some delving around, but if you know what to look for, you’ll get there fast. If you’re unsure which MacOs you’re using, see here 

Are you running macOS Monterey and earlier versions?  

Click the Apple icon in the menu bar and choose “About This Mac”. 

Then click the Storage tab. 

Are you running macOS Ventura? 

Apple has made some changes in the storage categories with the recent macOS update and replaced Other storage with a new System Data tab. For macOS Ventura follow these steps to view storage usage: Open System Settings and click General in the sidebar. Now choose Storage from the right-hand panel. 

Regardless of your operating system, you’ll see a bar containing various file categories (Apps, Documents, Music, Photos, etc.) in different colors. The last category, in a rather unexciting shade of grey, is “Other,” which estimates the storage space used by files that don’t fit any of the previous categories. 

It’s important to remember that a file isn’t necessarily junk or bloatware just because it’s found in Other storage! A scorched-earth policy of simply deleting all these files could cause problems with system operations or result in apps no longer working properly. So please don’t be tempted to nuke all those files before you’ve read on.  

How to clear other memory on a Mac? And is it safe? 

Now that you’ve found your Other storage, you may be panicking at the size of it. Relax—you’re not alone. It’s not unusual for Other storage to be so huge that it takes up more space than other file categories! That’s because applications have their own fonts, plugins, extensions, and other service files, so they usually create loads of temporary files. If you have many applications, and haven’t cleared their caches for a while, you’re likely to have a lot of Other storage. Plus, if you keep all iCloud files on your Mac, or save a lot of emails, you’ll expand your Other storage.   

Be extremely careful if you want to manually delete Other storage files from your Mac Library! Apple keeps the Library hidden from view by default for a reason as fiddling around here can cause problems.  The rule of thumb is: If you’re not sure what a file does, it’s best to leave it alone, or research whether it’s safe to remove it. Experts also suggest making a clone of your drive before starting.  

If you decide to forge ahead despite the warnings, here’s what to do:  

Click on File and select New Finder Window from the menu—or use the shortcut Cmd + N. Then press Cmd + Shift + G to open the Go to Folder option. Now enter the following in the text box: ~/Library.  

You can also type these commands into the text box to look for more Other files: 


Ready to proceed? Right-click on any files or folders you want to delete and select Move to Trash. Deleting files will free up storage space but could disrupt the running of your machine and some applications. There are files that are safe to remove though, such as Time Machine backups, old iOS backups, and unused disk images. Find out how to manage and delete Time Machine backups here 

How much disk space can be recovered by deleting data in Other storage? 

Users tend to find that Other storage takes up between 10 and 40 percent of used disk space. So, clearing out Other storage can free up a generous chunk of space, leaving you with even more room for your beloved movies and photos. Don’t forget to empty the trash can and delete your downloads too. Uninstalling apps you don’t need and clearing your browser cache are also great ways to free up space on your Mac. Manually cleaning out files can take ages—and it’s risky though! To more safely and easily reduce the size of Other storage, it’s best to get in some expert technological help. 

The ultimate spring clean: Combat Other storage bloat with Avira optimizer tools 

Cleaning apps are designed to help safely sweep away large hidden files and help remove the incomplete downloads and temp files that may be weighing you down. Despite the name, Avira Free Antivirus for Mac offers more than protection against malware: It comes with a clean-up tool for Mac to help optimize your device’s performance over time. It gets rid of junk in all key areas for more disk space and more stable performance. Plus, it helps remove traces left behind from your programs and browser and also deletes cache files.  

Did you know that Avira is a German quality brand and has more than 35 years of online security experience? Whether you’re looking to help protect your data, or lighten the load your device is carrying, trust is key and peace of mind priceless.  

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Freelance Cybersecurity Writer
Nicola Massier-Dhillon is an experienced cybersecurity and technology writer. Nicola spent many years as a senior copywriter and creative lead in marketing agencies, crafting compelling content and campaigns for major tech brands like HP, Dell, and Microsoft. She originally hales from Namibia and is a passionate advocate for the conservation of wild habitats--also putting her words to work for charities, eco-tourism, and healthcare. Nicola spends her time looking after her (wild) twins, rescue cats, and a crested gecko called Giles.