How to Identify and Get Rid of “Other” Files on Your Mac


Is your Mac constantly running out of storage? Are you having trouble finding space to save new files? The culprit behind a lack of storage on your Mac could be "Other" files. We have created an easy to follow, step-by-step guide to help you identify the "Other" file problem and how to fix it.

What Are "Other" Files?

"Other files" consist of all the data on your Mac which is not part of any specific category. This may include any temporary system files, cached files, and archives. These files can sometimes take up just a few gigabytes, way through to several hundred GBs of space. So it is absolutely crucial to clean them regularly.

How To Check For Other Files?

You might not know exactly how much space these files are taking up, or if they are even worth cleaning. Luckily, there is a simple way to check if the "Other" data is taking up too much space. Here is how to find the amount of storage these files take up.

  1. Click on the Apple logo on the top left-hand corner of the screen.
  2. Click on "About this Mac."
  3. A window will pop up.
  4. Select "Storage."
  5. Hover over the grey bar.
  6. It will show "Other Files," along with the amount of storage it takes up.
  7. If too much space is being used compared to your other categories, then you will have to free some up using the steps provided below.

How To Delete "Other" Files?

Now that you know how much storage space these files take up, you can delete them. However, removing the files isn’t as simple as just selecting a folder and deleting it from your finder. Your "Other" folder isn’t even fully accessible, and so you will have to employ a few different methods to clean it all out.

We have listed five ways below and we recommend using a mixture of all of the methods to remove files from your "Other" section.

We also recommend backing up all your data on an external hard drive, so no accidental data loss happens during the process.

CleanMyMac X (Large and Old Files)

CleanMyMac X is a piece of highly useful software that can be used to save storage. It scans your computer for unused data and deletes them with your consent, making sure that you don’t delete anything important. It deletes unneeded or outdated files such as caches or broken downloads. In our case, CleanMyMac X helps in removing "Other" files too, surfacing a drastic reduction in the category. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Download and open up CleanMyMac X.
  2. Click on the "Large and Old" option on the left-hand panel of your screen.
  3. Click on scan.
  4. After a few seconds, you’ll be shown a list of large and old files, along with the storage they take up.
  5. Select all the files that you think you don’t need anymore.
  6. This will probably total up to a few GBs.
  7. Click on remove.
  8. After a few seconds all, the selected files will be removed.

CleanMyMac X (Space Lens)

CleanMyMac X has another powerful feature called Space Lens. It basically allows you to quickly see what files are taking up a lot of space. All the files are neatly categorized and are presented in bubbles that are of varying sizes, based on the storage space they take up. This feature allows you to deepen the search for files categorized as "Others" and remove them. Here is how to do it.

  1. Click on "Space Lens"", which should be right above the "Large and Old Files Option".
  2. Click on scan.
  3. Multiple bubbles will be displayed, on which you click and explore further.
  4. You can select a specific category or a file stored in the category.
  5. Once you’ve chosen all the useless files, press the remove button.

DMG

A DMG file is stored on your Mac when you download a piece of software from the internet. It’s not the software itself, but merely a software installer. These files should be deleted after your software is installed and running, however a lot of people overlook removing them. If you download a lot of software and applications, then these files can quickly start to take up alot of storage. Here's how to find and remove them:

  1. Open Finder.
  2. Search "DMG" on the search bar, which is located on the top right-hand corner.
  3. Select all the files that are displayed.
  4. Drag all these files to the trash bin.

File Extensions

A lot of files categorized under "Others" are simply documents with different extensions. These documents can sometimes take up a few megabytes, to several gigabytes worth of space while providing no real use. A few of these extensions include PDF or Pages. Like DMG files, you have to search for them manually as well, and then delete them. Here is how to do it.

  1. Open Finder.
  2. Sort the files in order of size, from those that take up the most space to those that take up the least.
  3. Search up a file extension like ".pdf."
  4. Select the unneeded files.
  5. Delete these selected files.

Clear The Trash

A lot of people fail to realize that simply deleting a file once doesn’t permanently remove it from their Mac. In addition to eliminating the files, you also need to empty the trash. It is astonishing how this simple step can quickly free up a lot of storage that was previously categorized under "Other." Here’s how to do it.

  1. Locate the trash icon on the bottom of the screen.
  2. Right-click on the icon.
  3. Select "Empty Trash."
  4. Confirm your decision.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we suggest you first identify how much storage space "Other" files take up. Once you have that figured out, you can use one of the five methods, or all of them, to remove the said files. These include using CleanMyMac X, the Large and Old File feature, and the Space Lens feature. Or you can do it manually by removing DMGs, files with useless extensions, and cleaning out the trash.

Muaz Ashrafi

Hi! I am Muaz, a Mass Communication major. I like to think I am a free urban spirit. I write blogs with a focus on tech and gadgets. When I'm not writing, you can find me with my headphones on, relaxing to some good house EDM music. I'm also a hobbyist photographer, you can find me on Instagram @mzwithacamera.

One Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. I didn’t realize how much space the “other” files were taking up. CleanMyMac worked really well and now I have a few extra gigabytes available to me. I also really like the other features this app offers, especially the optimization. My Mac is cleaner and faster than ever now, glad I purchased!