So your Mac which used to run ten tasks at the same time is now operating at a speed of a sloth, running that multicolored wheel for ages when you try to open a new task. And if your device is less than three years old — yes, Macs are notorious for being reliable, safe, and resistant to aging — then something has to be done, and quickly.
Very often the problem can be resolved without turning for expert help. Mac is built in such a way that it treats the whole hard drive as its virtual, or operating, memory. The more files you have in your storage, the less memory Mac has to operate its daily workload.
The first step in resolving the problem with Mac’s slow performance would be checking how much memory is actually left and what is taking up most space. To do this, head on to the main with Apple () icon and choose the very first About This Mac option. From here navigate to Storage. Calculating the data can take up to a minute. Then you will see a colorful graph indicating which categories of data are occupying most space. Most often, Documents will dominate, followed by Apps, iCloud Drive, Mail, iOS Files, Photos, and a grey crisscrossed area named “Other Volumes” in Contained. This is your shady area which can eat up to 10 gigabytes of virtual memory space. You may see this vague category “Other” taking more space than Photos or Apps! Learn more what’s “other” is here.
Contrary to the popular belief, “other” files are not dangerous, although in most cases they are junk that can be safely removed from your computer. macOS places everything that it cannot categorize into documents, apps, or photos there.
So how can we remove these files safely? Let’s take a hint from Apple and click “Manage” option.
– Store in iCloud: From here you can send files to iCloud, and did we mention that the storage plan is very affordable? Only the optimized versions of large files are downloaded when you need them, and you can also access all your data when you need it, from any device, as long as you have your Apple ID credentials.
– Optimize Storage: here you can erase all movies and series episodes that you have already watched. If you are an avid iTunes watches, this is one of the main reasons why your “Other” storage is overflowing — and overslowing — your computer. Note that this option does not force you into buying additional iCloud space.
– Set up automatic Trash removal, so that all files older than 30 days will be deleted without you getting involved.
– Reduce Clutter: this is probably the most time-consuming process. You will have to manually check the largest files on your computer. If you are connected to corporate Dropbox, chances are that your company’s files such as presentations and videos have been lodged on your hard drive. Consider space-saving options offered by Dropbox such as “Smart Sync” where you can indicate which folders should be synced at all times, and which ones should be accessible in online-only mode.
Another feature of this option enables you to choose which category of large files to clear first. By going to Review Files option, you can select the file type in the left sidebar menu, for example, Applications, Documents, GarageBand, iOS Files, iTunes, or Trash. And did we mention your Trash should always be empty?
Which brings us back to the question on the topic of this article — how did we accumulate so many files in our “Other” category? One answer would be downloading and experimenting with too many apps. Another would be hoarding on files from your company’s file repository. Other reasons would be downloading too much data from the internet, not clearing your cache, keeping apps that you no longer need, and saving too many intermediate versions of photo or video files.
By emptying “Other” data you can save yourself not only valuable virtual memory space but also from spending money on additional iCloud storage.