What is Other storage space in Mac OS X & how to clean it

Confused about why your MacBook Air computer is low on space? You most likely only have a 60GB or 120GB SSD drive? Or Perhaps you don’t have that many photos, music or documents but are still low on space? If you’ve checked ‘About this Mac’ and the storage tab says you have a huge amount of ‘Other’ storage used up here is what it is.

Firstly check how much space you have

Let’s get an idea of how much space we are really using for everything.

  1. Click on the Apple symbol in the top left hand corner of your screen
  2. Select ‘About this Mac
  3. Navigate tot he ‘Storagetab to get a breakdown of what data you have
    1. You will see how much your Photos, Apps, Audio and Movies are using up
    2. You will also probably see a large amount of ‘Other’ storage on your Macintosh HD

Understanding what “Other” Storage in Mac OS X is

Now that we can see that Other storage is what’s taking up a chunk of the space let’s determine what it is! It’s important to know what the other storage is particularly when you are low and disk space. Especially for those of us that are on MacBook Pro and MacBook Air laptops with small SSD drives.

Simply put Other storage is storage that isn’t automatically assigned to backups, applications, movies, photos, videos and music. Here is a list of some of the other items that count towards this storage:

  • Fonts, app accessories, application plugins and app extensions
  • User cache and system caches, including things such as temporary internet browser storage and locally stored message media files
  • Archives and disk images, including zips, dmg, iso etc…
  • Documens and file types including PDF, doc, PSD, AI, docx
  • Various types of personal and user data
  • Anything in the system folders of OS X, including temporary files, swap files, voices etc…
  • User library items like Application Support, iCloud files, screen savers, etc

To learn more about computer repairs or to get help with Mac OS X get in touch with us.

How do we clean-up ‘Other’ storage on Mac OS X

Some of the common places where you can quickly and easily reclaim space can be found below:

  • Check your Downloads folder and remove old downloaded files that you no longer need
  • Clean up your Library caches ~/Library/Caches/
  • Check inside your Documents folder for other files you may not need
  • Check the Messages Attachments folder ~/Library/Messages/Attachments/
  • Delete old iTunes backups for iPhone and iPad devices
  • Uninstall unnecessary Applications

You can also search for the largest files using advanced search by clicking on Kind and select other and set the File Size to is greater than and enter a value.


This article is for educational purposes only, use at your own risk. Please contact us for expert Mac & computer repairs.

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