Mac Software

What is “Other” in Mac storage?

silver and black iMac s
Other place: find out what's in that odd category (Photo by Tranmautritam on Pexels.com)

If you’ve ever checked your Mac’s storage, you may come across the unhelpful category of “Other” and, sometimes, it can amount to quite a considerable amount (if this is the case, our guide on reducing Mac System storage might be up your alley). So what is it and what can you do about it?

How to check your Mac’s storage

Viewing your Mac’s storage and how it’s being allocated is quite a simple task…

  1. Click on the Apple logo in the top-left corner
  2. Select “About this Mac”
  3. On the tabs running across the resulting screen, click on “Storage”
  4. After a short pause whilst it works out your storage usage, it will show a pretty graph. This is what mine looks like, right now:
Window showing Mac storage space
  1. If you then click on “Manage…”, you will be taken to a detailed breakdown of use. Again, here’s mine:
Window showing a breakdown of the apps using up storage
  1. Clicking into any of the categories on the left-hand side will then show, on the right, further information. Alternatively, you can use the options on the “Recommendations” screen (as above) to automatically free up storage space.

What is “Other”?

Other is anything that’s taking up storage space and can’t be placed in one of the standard categories. For example, Microsoft Outlook data will often appear as “Other”.

You may also see a storage category named “Other Users”, and this is different – this represents data being used by different user accounts that you have set up on your Mac.

How can I identify what “Other” is?

This is where it gets a little trickier, as clicking on “Other” in the sidebar rarely yields anything useful. From experience, though, most content can be found in your ~/Library folder. Now you know that, you need an easy way to look through it.

There are various apps available to do this, but if you’re looking for a free solution then I’d recommend OmniDiskSweeper. Here’s a screenshot from my own Mac showing it digging down into the biggest user of space in my own Library folder…

Screenshot of the breakdown of items in the "~Library" folder on Mac

Using this you can easily highlight a folder and file and trash it.

About the author

David Artiss

Currently working for a technology company based in San Francisco, David has worked in IT for nearly 30 years. He is a keen gamer and happily admits to being a gadget nerd too.

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