free up disk space

Did you know that every second, every person in the world generates about 1.7 MB of data? Summing it up, all humans produce some 2.5 quintillion bytes of information each passing day. That’s 2.5, followed by a staggering 18 zeroes.

Moreover, researchers say people store 90% of all new data in magnetic media. Hard disk drives (HDDs) and solid-state drives (SSDs) are the most common storage media.

In your Mac, a huge chunk of data you produce gets stored in a folder system called “Others.”

If you’re not sure what is Other in Mac storage, it’s time you learn now, as it can quickly fill your HDD or SSD with tons of data. This can then impair your Apple computer’s speed and performance.

Don’t worry, though, as we came up with this guide covering the basics of Mac system storage. Read on to discover what exactly that “Other” folder is and how to free it up from useless files.

What Is Other in Mac Storage?

Macs categorize saved data as “Documents,” “iOS Files,” “Apps,” “Messages,” or “Photos.” Files related to your operating system also get stored in the “System” folder. If you have audio files, these go into the “Music Creation” folder.

When a Mac encounters data that doesn’t fit those above, it will send it to the “Other” folder. These include most installer packages, temporary files, and cache files. Old backups and program extensions usually end up in the Other folder too.

Why Should You Even Care to Check Storage on Mac?

Macs with depleted storage systems perform at a snail’s pace and often crash a lot. Moreover, a full start-up disk can no longer download and install new apps or save new files.

The possibility of your Mac slowing or crashing should be enough to prompt you to free up disk space in it. Otherwise, the problem can spread to the critical components of your operating system. If this occurs, your entire system may lag, hang, and crash, and this can lead to a fatal system error or kernel panic.

A full Mac storage also restricts the system from downloading OS updates. This can then result in failed OS patch installations. Not only can this lead to buggy OS and apps, but it can also raise your risks of malware infections.

Now, you may have heard that Macs have a lower malware penetration rate. This is true, but for the most part, it’s because Apple is quick to roll out system updates. So, if your Mac storage is too full to accommodate these updates, it won’t be able to stay protected.

Also, note that experts say Mac threats have increased by 400% from 2018 to 2019. One reason for this is complacency, as a lot of folks think Apple devices are immune to malware.

It’s not, so you also have to be proactive by ensuring your Mac has enough storage. This way, it can download and then install critical macOS updates.

How to Check Your Mac Storage

First, close all active apps or programs to keep them from creating more temporary data. Then, click on the Apple logo at the upper left-hand corner of your screen. Select “About This Mac.”

A small window that contains an overview of your current OS will pop up. Click on the “Storage” tab and wait for it to finish calculating all the stored data in your Mac.

Once the Storage “status” bar populates, you should see various colors in it. You can see that lines separate each storage category, like Documents and iOS files. The rightmost “consumed” section (to the left of the “Available” category) is the “Other” folder.

You should also see a “Manage” button on the right side of the window. Click on this to open a larger window wherein you can make changes to your stored data. The new window should also show all the storage folders to the left, including the “Other” category.

How to Know What Is Other in Mac Storage

You’ll notice that the “Other” folder isn’t clickable, unlike those for apps and docs. To determine what’s in the Other folder, you need to go to your Library folder. This is where the largest chunk of the Other files get dumped in.

Note that the “Library” folder usually doesn’t show up in a regular Finder window, either. However, you can open this by first pressing “Command + Shift + G” on a Finder window or your desktop. This should bring up the “Go to the folder” command line wherein you can type in “~/library” (less the quotation marks).

Once you hit enter, a new window should appear with a very long list of various folders. Each of these primary folders has subfolders, many of which contain “Other” files. It’s vital you research which ones contain “useless” files that you can safely delete.

The best folders to start with are those for Application Support and Caches. Installation files that end with .dmg are usually safe to remove. You can also remove caches from apps you no longer use.

Don’t forget to empty your Trash folder once you finish deleting Other files.

If you’re wary of deleting items in your Library folder, you can use a dedicated Mac storage cleaner. These are programs designed to scour storage systems for useless Other files. They detect and only remove data that won’t affect your programs and operating system.

Clean up Mac Storage to Speed up Your Device

There you have it, your ultimate answer guide to the question, “What is Other in mac storage?” Now that you know what it is and how to deal with it, it’s time to recover all that valuable space. The sooner you do, the sooner you can speed up your Mac again and ensure it stays up-to-date.

Looking for more tech, lifestyle, or even business tips and tricks like this? Then be sure to check out our other blog posts and news categories!

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