What is "Other" Storage on a MacBook?

"Other" storage on a MacBook has been a perplexing concept for many users. This ambiguous category often occupies a significant portion of your hard drive, leading many to wonder what it consists of and how to manage it. Whether you're using a MacBook Pro or a MacBook Air, understanding and controlling this storage category can free up valuable space.

This article will explain what "other" storage is, why it can become so large, and what steps you can take to reduce its size. Let's dive in!

Understanding the “Other” Storage on a MacBook


The "Other" storage is a collection of files that don’t fall into the standard categories of Photos, Documents, Apps, Audio, and Movies. This can include:

System Files and Temporary Files

These are files necessary for your macOS to operate. It includes temporary files, system cache, and logs. Over time, these files can accumulate, especially if not regularly cleared.

Archives and Disk Images

This refers to .zip files and disk images like .dmg or .iso, which other primary storage categories may not immediately recognize.

User Library Files

Every application you use can create support files. These might be preferences, saved states, or even cached data, all stored in the user library.

Why "Other" Storage Can Become Huge

Accumulation Over Time

As you use your MacBook, it continually creates temporary files. Whether it's browser caches from surfing the web or system logs, these can quickly add up if not periodically addressed.

Redundant Backups and Old Updates

Older backups and no longer-needed software updates can contribute significantly to the "other" storage.

Learn More: Macbook Basics: Master Copy, Paste, Restart, and More

How to Manage and Reduce “Other” Storage


Accessing "Other" Storage on Your Mac

Navigate to Apple Menu > About This Mac > Storage. Here, you can get a visual representation of your storage allocation.

Deleting Unnecessary Files

If you're wondering "how to delete other storage on Mac," start by removing old backups, clearing caches, and deleting unused .zip or .dmg files. Tutorials like "How to delete 'other' storage on Mac - YouTube" offer a step-by-step guide.

Use Cleanup Tools

Several tools can help automate the cleanup process, ensuring your Mac stays optimized. Some users have discussed their favorites in forums such as "Mac other'' storage is huge Reddit," providing insights into effective solutions.

File Types in “Other” Storage

The "Other" storage is more than just system files and caches. It contains many essential file types yet belongs to something other than the primary categories like Photos, Videos, or Documents.

Diverse File Extensions

Within the "Other" storage, you can find file extensions such as .pdf, .psd, .doc, and other document or design formats not immediately recognized by Apple's categorization.

Application Support and Plugins

This segment can have data from third-party apps, plugins, and extensions integral for certain functionalities but not categorized under "Apps."

Local Email and Attachments

If you're using an email client on your MacBook, the stored emails and their attachments often reside here.

Learn More: Boost Your MacBook Experience: Benefits of a Stand

Other Storage Across Different MacBook Versions


Whether you own a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro, the "Other" storage exists. However, how it's categorized or prominent may vary slightly.

MacBook Pro

Given its professional orientation, the MacBook Pro often has a larger "Other" storage due to more advanced apps, developer tools, and professional software that contribute to this category.

MacBook Air

While also susceptible to accumulating "Other" storage, the MacBook Air, geared towards casual users, might have a slightly different composition, with more documents, emails, and personal files.

How to Locate "Other" Storage on Your Mac

To find out how much "Other" storage you have, click on the Apple Menu > About This Mac > Storage. This will give a color-coded storage map, allowing you to identify the space taken up by the "Other" category.

Deleting Files from “Other” Storage

Start with the Basics: Empty the trash, clear browser caches, and delete old email attachments.

Dive Deeper: Navigate to ~/Library on your Mac and look for large files or folders that are no longer needed. Before deleting, ensure they aren't crucial system or app files.

Third-Party Apps: Consider using apps specifically designed to clean up Mac storage. They can help identify and safely remove unnecessary files from the "Other" category.


While "other storage on Mac is huge" can be a common complaint, understanding what it comprises and how to manage it effectively can ensure your MacBook, be it a Pro or Air, runs smoothly and efficiently. Remember to periodically check and clear out unnecessary files to ensure optimal performance. A MacBook's "Other" storage culminates various file types and data. While it might seem overwhelming, understanding its components and regularly managing it ensures that your MacBook remains efficient and has ample storage.

What exactly is the "Other" storage on my MacBook?

The "Other" storage comprises files that don't fall into Apple's primary categories like Photos, Videos, or Documents. This can include system files, temporary files, application support data, local emails, and more.

Why is the "Other" storage on my MacBook so large?

The "Other" storage can accumulate for various reasons, such as browsing caches, redundant backups, old software updates, and collected system logs.

How can I reduce the size of "Other" storage?

You can manage and reduce the "Other" storage by clearing browser caches, deleting old email attachments, removing unused apps and their associated files, and using third-party cleaning tools.

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