What is “Other” Storage Space on Mac & Clear It Up

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Many Mac users will go to the About This Mac Storage tab to get a quick overview of their disk space usage, and many will see a fairly large “Other” storage space taking up. up disk capacity on their disks. If this sounds familiar, it’s probably because iOS often has a fairly large Other storage space, but that’s where the similarities largely end, and in Mac OS it’s much easier to track down exactly what “Other” is. This is basically because the Mac has a user-accessible file system and system folders, while those corresponding elements are largely hidden from the user in iOS.

Let’s take a quick look at the storage space on each Mac and then learn a little more about the other space in Mac OS X, what it is, and how you could reduce the size of the ‘Other’ storage space on a Mac when the computer is low on available disk space.

How to Check “Other” storage in Mac OS X

If you’re curious about how many files and items on a Mac drive are classified by MacOS and Mac OS X as “Other” storage space used, you can check this from the About This Mac window:

  1. Click on the  Apple menu and choose “About This Mac”
  2. Look under the “Storage” tab to find the other data on the Mac drive

Other storage in Mac OS X

The Other Store is the blue item in new versions of OS X, and the yellow item in the chart on previous versions of Mac OS X, however, Other is visible in every modern version of Mac OS X.

In versions earlier than Mac OS X 10.10, you have to click “More Info” in the About This Mac screen to see the Storage tab, otherwise everything else is the same.

Mac Other storage

The size of Other is often quite large in Mac OS X and varies considerably, as you can see in the various screenshots here, but again, this isn’t something to get too fussed about as it could be in the iOS. world. Nevertheless, knowing what those other things are can be valuable, especially if you’re low on disk space.

What exactly is “other” storage on Mac?

Maybe Ander will take up a lot of space, so what exactly is that “Other” storage on a Mac? In essence, it is everything that Mac OS does not allocate to the listed specified storage types of applications, backups, audio, movies, backups and photos. That means a very broad list of items is considered Other, including things like the following:

  • Documents and file types, including PDF, doc, PSD, etc.
  • Archives and disk images, including zips, dmg, iso, etc.
  • Various types of personal and user data
  • Everything in the Mac OS X system folders, ranging from temporary files, swap, votes, etc.
  • User library items such as application support, iCloud files, screen savers, etc.
  • User caches and system caches, including things like browser caches and locally stored message media files
  • Fonts, app accessories, application plugins and app extensions
  • Various file and file types not recognized by Spotlight e.g. virtual machine hard drive, Windows Boot Camp partitions, etc.

As you can see, this is not an unnecessary mess or mess. Basically, anything that is not one of the media types specified on the Storage tab will show as “Other”.

This makes the Mac OS X “Other” storage quite a bit different from the same label applied to iOS storage, and while there may be some bloated caches and other junk, the different storage on a Mac probably makes more sense. This often contrasts with the sometimes opaque and peculiar Other storage capacity in iOS, which can be anything from mishandled caches to data not properly deleted when apps or media are deleted, or even misallocated labels, if you happen to have a blown up Other space on you mobile devices, you can usually reclaim and delete the Other iOS storage by deleting bloated apps and their data and then restoring an iPhone or iPad from a backup.up as described here.

How to Clean Up “Other” storage on a Mac

Generally, the Other Storage on a Mac is not something to be too concerned about unless you are low on disk space. If you want to try to clean it anyway up The other storage capacity in Mac OS, you should search the following locations for data and files you no longer need.

  • User (s) downloads folders at ~ / Downloads
  • User library caches ~ / Library / Caches /
  • User Document Folders ~ / Documents /
  • App attachments and user message media files

If you go further, you can apply some broader techniques for free up disk storage and the other space. Undoubtedly, these articles will prove invaluable as you try to locate large files on a Mac and restore disk capacity on any Mac OS X machine:

  • How to free up disk space on any Mac with Mac OS X
  • Locate other large files through advanced file search in Mac OS X
  • Remove unused applications in Mac OS X

As usual when deleting things in Mac OS X, always go back up your Mac with Time Machine before you start, and don’t delete any items you’re unsure about.

Although system files and caches are included in “Other”, you almost certainly don’t want to change the / System directory or any other root directory or system directory.

What about “other” bloated system caches, temporary and system files?

To delete system-level Mac OS X caches, temporary files, virtual memory files, sleep images, and other things that could potentially count towards Other Storage, it is often enough to restart the Mac. Don’t try to change anything in the system folder unless you are an experienced user who knows exactly what they are doing and why, otherwise you will almost certainly break something. If you prefer, you can also use third-party tools like Onyx to safely clean up caches, although this is rarely necessary.

Finally, note that Boot Camp Windows and Linux partitions are also listed as Other, and they cannot be shrunk without removing those drives. This is demonstrated with Windows 10 and Mac OS X 10.11 on the same drive with dual boot partitions:

The Mac Other storage space shown in Mac OS X

Free up Up Extra disk space on Mac

The “Other” space may seem a bit of a mystery at first glance, but sometimes different types of files and data on the Mac cause the storage space to disappear. Here are some general ones tips to free up extra disk space on a Mac:

  • Resolve the ‘Startup Disk Almost Full’ Error Message on Mac by Removing Files from Space and Overcoming Disk Waste
  • Delete old iTunes backups from iPhone and iPad devices – Usually things like local iPhone and iPad backups show up as the ‘backups’ list and not under ‘Other’, but delete unwanted iOS backups provides an easy way to restore hard drive space
  • Extra simple tips to free up disk space on Mac OS X are here

Have one tricks of your own for free up restore the other storage on the Mac or disk capacity in MacOS and Mac OS X? Let us know in the comments.

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