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Photo: Lane V. Erickson (Shutterstock)

Managing storage on any device can be a challenge. Your Mac will often say, “Hey, I’m full, friend, without warning. Erase some things. ”Of course you are required, but there is a catch:“ Other ”files hold a lot of data, and your computer doesn’t tell you what those“ other ”files are. How are you supposed to delete the files if you don’t even know what they are?

What are the ‘Other’ files?

In macOS, other files are just that – files that don’t fit well into categories like music, movies, documents, and photos. Often times, these Other Files are system files that Apple does not want you to interact with, simply because it is usually not required.

Many of these files can be cache files, which are data intended to help start and run applications and services. Over time, however, these files can add up, and their total storage size can cause more problems than they’re worth, especially if you no longer use the app or feature they are tied to.

Not all other files are junk, however. Apple includes certain types of files in this collection such as PDFs, ZIP files, DMG files, fonts, and other useful or important data. Because of this, even though Apple has revamped its storage management system over the past few years, Apple still doesn’t want you to interact with or delete other files.

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You can see how much space on your hard drive is being used by these “other” files by clicking the Apple icon in the upper left corner About this Mac> Storage. After you let the system scan you will see a number of file types. miscellaneous will end up being very dark gray.

Clean up the cache

If you’re looking for a quick and easy solution to clearing your Other Files, start by clearing your cache. While Apple doesn’t disclose where these files are kept, you can get there by pressing Shift + Command + G, typing ~ library, and then finding the one Caches Folder. While you can completely delete this folder, it is possible that you will delete something important in one of your active apps.

Your best bet is to scan this list and delete things related to apps that you don’t use, especially if these files are large. But remember that the cache is constantly being filled by apps and services on your computer. As soon as you continue to use your Mac, the cache will fill up again.

Use a third-party cleaning tool

One way to bypass Apple’s restrictions on other files is to use a third-party cleaning tool. These tools can bypass macOS and show you all of your files on the system. The best of them do this in a way that also makes it clear what you are seeing so you don’t have to be a Mac file expert to know what you are doing.

One of the best is DaisyDisk, but it ships with a $ 10 price tag after a free trial. CleanMyMacX is another fan favorite, but its features are mostly hidden behind a paid subscription. If you want to pay, do it; Both are great apps. However, you can take advantage of some free features to clean up your files.

For example, let’s look at CleanMyMacX. Start with System waste. For the most thorough scan, grant the app full hard drive access. Click “Grant access, “then click”System settings“In the popup. Now click the lock at the bottom left, authenticate yourself, click the check box next to CleanMyMacX, then “Exit and reopen. “

After restarting the app, go back to System waste and click on “scan. ”Allow CleanMyMacX to access different folders on your computer as you scan. Then click on “Evaluation details”And you’ll see a full list of files that CleanMyMacX has found to be wasting space. Click “Demonstrate”Next to each item for a full breakdown of the files below. Right click on it and then select “Show in Finder“To go straight to the junk file.

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Image: Jake Peterson

Now you can simply delete that file, return to CleanMyMacX, and repeat the process for any files that you want to delete. While it can be a chore, it’s free and you take down some huge files that you may not have found by yourself.

You can also clean up other areas of your computer with CleanMyMacX, which can certainly help with disk space. But just know that the Others category is only affected by the “System Junk” files.

This isn’t your only free option. There are apps like OmniDiskSweeper which are 100% unpaid and can help locate large files. The problem is that if you don’t know what you are doing it can be a little complicated; The app looks essentially like Finder, only with file sizes next to each item. It’s easy to see what is taking up the most space on your computer, but it’s not easy to tell if these files belong to Others or if they are important files that you shouldn’t delete.