How to Access 'Other' Storage on a Mac

How to find and delete files in 'Other' storage on your Mac

What to Know

  • To see how much "Other" storage you're using, click the Apple menu and then About This Mac > Storage. "Other" is the far-right block.
  • Many "Other" storage items are in the Caches of the Library folder. Access by holding Option while opening the Go menu in Finder.
  • You can also clear browser caches, quit applications, and search for installer files (.dmg) or old backups (MDBACKUP).

The mysterious "Other" category in your Mac storage can take up a chunk of your storage space, and while some of it may be necessary, you can delete a lot of it if you're running out of space. Here's how to manage "Other" storage in macOS Sierra (10.13.2) and later.

 How Do I Access 'Other' and System Storage on Mac?

To see how much "Other" storage you're dealing with, you'll need to check your Mac's System Storage. Here's where to find it.

  1. Click the Apple menu in the upper-left corner of any application.

    The Apple menu in macOS
  2. Select About This Mac.

    The "About This Mac" item in the macOS Apple menu
  3. Choose the Storage tab.

    The Storage heading in About This Mac
  4. At first, you'll just have one gray bar showing all of the space in use in your Mac's storage. After a moment, however, the bar will split up into several colored blocks.

  5. "Other" is the light-gray section on the right side. Mouse over it to show how large it is.

    "Other" storage in macOS

How Do I Find Out What 'Other' Is in My Mac Storage?

Along with taking up a non-trivial part of your Mac's hard drive, "Other" storage can be frustrating because nothing in About This Mac tells you what exactly it is. Generally, however, "Other" is anything that doesn't fit under the supplied categories on the Storage screen, which include things like apps, documents, attachments from Mail and Messages, and system files like macOS itself.

Some examples of what may be in "Other" include:

  • iPhone and iPad backups.
  • App caches.
  • Installer files.
  • Browser caches.

It's hard to make an exhaustive list of what is and isn't "Other," which means it's hard to figure out exactly where to look if you need to clear up some space. But you can check a few reliable places.

How Do I Clear 'Other' Storage on My Mac?

One spot you should definitely look at if your "Other" storage is claiming too much of your hard drive is the Caches section of your Library folder, but you have to take some special steps to get there.

Be extremely careful which files you delete from the Library folder. We'll specify which ones to look for in the following instructions.

  1. In the Finder, hold Option while clicking the Go menu.

    The Go menu in macOS Finder
  2. Select Library.

    "Library" under the Go menu in macOS' Finder
  3. Another window will open with the Library folder selected. Open Caches.

    The "Caches" folder in the macOS Library
  4. The Caches folder will have a lot of subfolders in it. You should be careful which ones you modify or delete because some contain important preferences your Mac and apps need to run. For example, you shouldn't touch anything with that starts with com.apple.

    Instead, look for apps you don't use anymore and delete those.

    The contents of the Caches folder in macOS Library
  5. Another folder you should check in Library is Application Support, which also probably contains some old info from apps you don't use anymore. Just make sure you know exactly what you're deleting before you send anything to the trash.

    The Application Support folder in macOS Library
  6. If you've ever backed up your iPhone or iPad through iTunes, you might also have some old backup files in the Library folder that can go. To find them, go to Library > Application Support > MobileSync, and you'll see a Backups folder. You should delete backups from devices you don't own anymore, especially since each one can be several gigabytes in size.

    Backups may appear under their own category in System Storage instead of "Other."

You can also do the following to remove items from "Other" storage:

  • Clear the cache from your web browsers: How you do so depends on the platform, but you'll usually open Preferences and go to the Privacy section.
  • Delete installation files: Your Downloads folder can quickly accumulate a lot of stuff you don't need, but you should especially look out for files macOS used to install an app. They typically have a file type of .dmg.
  • Quit applications you aren't using: Applications can create temporary files which use some storage while the application is running, and the application(s) often delete temporary files once you quit them. Some of those temporary files will show up in your "Other" storage.

How Do I Get Rid of 'Other' Storage?

Since some of the files under "Other" are important for keeping your Mac and apps running smoothly, you wouldn't want to completely remove this block of storage. If you regularly clear your backups, caches, downloads folder, and other places we've described, however, you should be able to keep it under control.

FAQ
  • How do I optimize storage on a Mac?

    To take advantage of the Mac's Optimize Storage capability, go to the apple menu > About this Mac > Storage > Manage. After the Mac finishes calculating the space used by different categories, choose from the available recommendations on how to optimize your Mac's storage, such as Empty Trash Automatically and Reduce Clutter.

  • How do I delete Mail storage on a Mac?

    To free up storage space for email accounts on your Mac, launch the Mail app, and choose View > Sort by > Size. Select a message and choose Remove Attachments to delete space-hogging attachments. You can also empty your Trash mailbox and limit the time message copies are saved on your account. To do this, go to Mail > Preferences > Accounts. Click the account and choose Advanced, and then choose a shorter storage timeframe.

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