Macs are usually computers that come with a lot of storage space. However, when we have been using that same Mac for several years, the internal memory can start to fill up more than necessary, which is why your Mac could deteriorate its performance.
If your Mac is running very slow, we have some tricks that can help you improve the performance of your Mac.
However, if you have come this far it is because you probably know that the problem is related to the lack of space in the internal memory of your Mac.
In that case, files like photos, videos, music, documents, etc., are very easy to identify. However, there is an assignment that you will see when you access the graph that shows you the internal memory that is assigned to ‘Others’.
Many times, that mysterious ‘Others’ takes up more space than the account. It is very likely then that you are wondering what ‘Other’ is and if the ‘Other’ memory of your Mac can be erased.
What are the ‘Other’ files on your Mac?
You can get a basic overview of what is taking up space on your Mac by going to About This Mac.
- Click on the Apple logo.
- Go to About This Mac.
- Select Storage. Please wait while you calculate.
You will eventually see a bar graph showing what types of files are taking up space on your Mac, similar to this image:
In our case, yellow is ‘Photos’, red is ‘Applications’, light blue is ‘Messages’, purple is ‘Music’, dark blue is ‘Mail’, light blue is ‘iCloud Drive’ and gray is ‘System’.
Being ‘Others’ (‘other’ in the photo) the largest storage consumer – in our case 38.55 GB – you will wonder what exactly ‘Others’ is.
While most of the main categories for file types are straightforward, the variety of ‘Other’ can be a bit of a mystery. If it’s not music, documents, videos, photos, or apps, what could it be?
The system applies the ‘Other’ label to files that do not fit perfectly into those types, such as installation packages, cache files, old backups, application extensions, temporary files, and the like.
Most are the ones that are no longer needed, but have to be stored somewhere, so they are downloaded in the ‘Other’ category.
How to check what ‘Others’ is occupying in your Mac’s storage
You can use the tools accessed through ‘About this Mac> Storage’ to manage what all types of storage on your Mac occupy; To do this, you just have to click on ‘Manage’ and you will see a screen like the one below.
However, although you can make various changes to your system, choosing to store files in iCloud, for example, or reviewing files to reduce clutter, you cannot access ‘Other’ here at all – notice how it is grayed out in the left column .
So how can you tell what’s in ‘Others’?
To see what all that ‘Others’ space is using, you should go to the ‘Library’ folder, since that is where most of the ‘Others’ content is usually stored.
Depending on your system configuration, you may not be able to see the Library folder in the normal ‘Finder’ window, so the easiest way to go directly to it is to follow these steps:
- Open Finder.
- Click on the ‘Go’ option on the menu bar.
- Select ‘Go to folder’.
- Then type ~ / library and hit ‘enter’.
You will now be presented with a long list of folders, most of which will contain files considered ‘Other’. Some good ones to start with are ‘Caches’ and ‘Application Support’, but you will have to dig around to see which sub-folders within them are safe to delete.
You may also be interested in how to find and remove duplicate files on Mac.
Can I remove ‘Others’ on my Mac?
Yes, but you will have to be careful. Obvious files like leftover .dmg files from installations are fine, but when you start poking around cache files and other more obtuse types you can quickly run into problems.
For example, deleting a cache from an old application that you no longer have will not cause any problems. But if you delete one of an application that you do use, it will immediately forget all your preferences and other details.
Basically, the general rule of thumb is that if you’re not sure what something is or does, just let it be. Of course, as always, we highly recommend that you take a full backup of your system before you start removing anything, to avoid a disaster.
Just follow our step-by-step guide on how to back up your Mac and you can start cleaning your system knowing that you have a backup to go to in case something goes wrong.
How to delete files in ‘Others’
When you are in the ‘Library’ folder, the ‘Other’ files are deleted in the same way as any normal file. Although we want to remind you again to be careful what you erase.
You can delete files by right-clicking on them and choosing the delete option.
Then you will have to empty the ‘Trash’ or the file will remain on your Mac.
However, deleting certain files in this way can leave some leftovers on your Mac, so our preferred method of dealing with this type of process, however, is to use one of the packages from software dedicated Mac cleaners to help you avoid any costly mistakes.
Some of our current favorites are CleanMyMac X, MacCleaner 2 Pro and Daisy Disk, but you’ll find a selection of other great options in our roundup of the best cleaning programs and optimization tools for Mac.
These often have system scan features that can highlight redundant files while retaining those that continue to be used regularly.
If you want to remove them, all you have to do is press a button instead of searching through hundreds of subfolders and hoping that nothing essential is removed.
You will have to pay for these programs, as free trials typically only offer the ability to diagnose problems rather than fix them, but most are worth it when you consider the time and frustration it can save.
Before buying any software Additional information or browsing the Library folder, take a look at our tips on how to free up space on a Mac, as there may be some simple steps you can take to get back that precious hard drive storage.