What is System Data in Mac Storage and How to Delete it?

Macs’ storage is often notorious. Unless you bought a full-fledged Mac with plenty of storage, your Mac is likely to run out of space from time to time. However, when trying to free up space on your Mac, you’re probably looking for something called “System Data” (or Other data). If you are wondering what it is and how to clean it from your system, read on. In this article, we will discuss what is ‘System Data’ in Mac storage and how to delete it.

How to Delete System Data / Other Storage on Mac

Even if storage isn’t an issue for your Mac, keeping junk files at bay does work for the overall health of the system. Otherwise, even a solid machine will struggle to deliver the best for you. System Data storage on Mac requires special treatment as well as a better understanding of how it accumulates various files. Therefore, we will first delve deeper into how it works and then talk about the safer way to clean it.

What File Types Are Included in System Data Storage on Mac?

For better storage management, macOS provides a handy tool that lets you track storage consumption and also find out which categories are taking up the most space. This is where the mysterious “Other” (or System Data in macOS 12 Monterey) appears in the Mac storage.

  • go to: apple menu select it in the upper left corner of the screen and About This Mac.
  • Next, choose Storage Click the tab to check your Mac disk space usage.
What's More in Mac Storage?
Image courtesy of: novabatch (macOS Big Sur or earlier)
Check System Data in macOS Monterey
The other is renamed “System Data on macOS Monterey”.

Since macOS doesn’t make it clear what’s included in this huge set, many of us keep pondering what kind of files might be inside. To solve this mystery, Mac System Data consists of a number of different files. Them:

  • macOS system
  • temporary files
  • App extensions/plugins
  • Cache files such as system cache, browser cache, user cache
  • .dmg, .zip etc. such as disk images and archives.
  • old backups

Now, it’s pretty obvious that the “Other” Mac storage tag consists of various files. Because Photos doesn’t fit into certain categories like Documents, Mail, or Messages, Apple presents it as “Other” or “System Data.” Since most of these files are useless and you may no longer need them, but will need to be stored somewhere on your Mac, macOS dumps them all in a separate folder.

While this automatic storage management functionality is good, it’s very confusing that there is no simple way to get into the System Data storage, check the files in it, and delete what is no longer needed. Worse still, macOS doesn’t offer much help on how to clean it safely. And this is where it gets pretty painful for the average consumer.

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If you click on Manage next to the disk storage consumption bar, you will be presented with a screen (like the screenshot below) showing how much space each category has, such as Apps, Documents, iCloud Drive, Mail, Messages, TV, Bin. took etc. Other/System Data appears at the bottom of the sidebar.

Now, if you click on a specific category like Photos and Messages, you will find a pretty easy way to get rid of the associated files. Unfortunately, this is not the case for Other storage as it is greyed out.

How to Delete More on macOS

Note: It’s worth noting that on macOS Big Sur or earlier, you’ll see “System” just above “Other” storage. In macOS Monterey, System was renamed macOS and Other was renamed System Data.

How To Find Out What’s In The System Data On Your Mac

Once you know what types of files are dumped into the System Data store, you’ll want to check out what’s in the Other storage on your Mac. To do this, you need to enter the Library folder on your Mac.

For those who don’t know, the library folder on Mac is used to store a number of different files, including application support files, application caches, preference files, user account settings, and other important data that plays a vital role in helping the Mac work as it should. . Be warned that making random changes to your Mac’s library folder can damage the entire system. This is why macOS hides this folder by default. So make sure you modify this folder with extra care.

  • Start finder on your Mac. Then click on To go select the option in the menu bar and Go to Folder.
Go to Folder in macOS Finder
  • Next, write ~/library and press enter.
go to library folder
  • Here you will see a long list of folders like Accounts, Caches, Sound, Assistant, cookies and more. Now you can dive into folders like Caches, Cookies and Accounts to check what’s inside. Again, be careful not to mess with anything unknowingly as it can damage the system.
What's Inside the Other on Mac?

How to Delete System Data Files on Mac

Now, you will be faced with the big question, “Can you delete Other storage on your Mac?”. The simple answer is “Yes” you can. But as I said above, you have to be very careful when dealing with this.

While clearing the obvious stuff like app extensions, plugins, and .dmg files is effortless, deleting cookies, caches, and other obscure stuff can get you in big trouble. And you can even damage the system. For example, if you clear the cache files of an app you use, all your preferences designed to provide a personalized experience will be deleted. So keep this in mind when getting rid of any app’s cache and cookies. If you have no idea what you’re getting into, you better leave it as is.

To delete System Data files in Library folder on Mac right click on a file and choose Move to Trash/Trash. Note that deleted files will stay in the Trash/Trash for up to 30 days, so you can restore them (if you need any files). So you will have to go to Bin/Trash and then permanently delete the files.

Erase Other storage on Mac

Be sure to back up your Mac beforehand via Time Machine so you can recover files you accidentally deleted later.

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The Best Mac Storage Cleaners You Should Try

Note that not all file types are permanently deleted on Mac. This means that even after you delete an app or obscure files, some remnants will remain in your Mac storage. But don’t worry, that’s where the best Mac cleaner software packages come in.

While there is no shortage of Mac storage cleaners on the market, not all of them do what they advertise. There are three essential macOS storage cleaners that I would recommend you try. These software packages provide a free trial to let you test the functionality, so be sure to get them up and running before upgrading to the premium version.

1. CleanMyMac X

CleanMyMac has long been a reliable Mac storage cleaner. What I love about this software is the highly efficient analysis feature that quickly deepens the Mac storage and highlights all the junk files. Thus, it becomes quite easy for you to navigate through all the junk files and clean them with one click. While you have to pay a fee to clean your Mac using CleanMyMac (the trial version only lets you diagnose your device), it’s worth the money given the high efficiency.


To organise: ($35/year)

2. Daisy Disc

If you’re looking for a relatively affordable Mac storage cleaner, DaisyDisk might be a safe bet. The app provides a detailed breakdown of your disk space, showing all the junk files you can delete to restore a ton of valuable storage on your Mac. It has arguably the fastest scanner that takes a few minutes to reveal junk files. It also has a handy QuickLook that lets you preview the file contents before completely clearing them.


To organise: ($9.99)

3. MacCleaner Pro

Another Mac cleaning software package that has caught my attention is Mac Cleaner Pro. It comes with six storage cleaning tools designed to let you delete useless files and speed up your Mac. The software includes a powerful disk space analyzer that helps you keep a tag of junk files and clean them easily. But the thing that impresses me the most is “Funter”, the hidden file manager that lets you quickly find lost files.

Mac Cleaner Professional

To organise: (56 dollars)

Tips to Clear System Data Store on Mac

So you can find out what kind of files are in the System Data store and delete them on your Mac. Always use a little more caution, as it’s not like other storage components. I wish Apple offered a better way to deal with System Data. And that is just as confusing as clearing System Data not only on Mac but also iPhone. There is no way to overlook it, as it generally covers a large area. Do you have any questions or feedback about it? If your answer is yes, mute the sound in the comments section below.

Moyens Staff
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