How to remove "other volumes" on Mac?

Working on mac

As you use your Mac, you slowly start filling up your storage with various files, and at some point, storage becomes very scarce. It's imperative to try and remove any unnecessary apps, but also check other volumes and even delete them as needed. Even simple tasks like these will help free up space so that you can store all your content/files without any hassle.

What does "other volumes" mean?

We could access the "other volumes" feature starting with Mac OS 10.13 High Sierra. That operating system replaced partitions with a new concept named containers. Now it's easier for the drive to have multiple containers; each container can have its own virtual volumes. The volume types included here are pre-boot, recovery, and virtual memory.

Methods you can use to delete "other volumes"

Creating another user account

If you see that other volumes take up too much space, try to create a new user account. You can do that via:

  • Going to System Preferences/ Users and Groups
  • Unlock the padlock and press the Plus button to add a new user.
  • When you create a new user, make sure that they have Administrator rights
  • After logging in to the new account, you will notice that Other Volumes is much smaller.

Use Mac cleaning software

If you lack experience with the software side of your Mac, cleaning software can help eliminate unnecessary apps and features, duplicates, and so on. It can be an excellent way to remove Other Volumes, along with random files that clog up your Mac's drive.

Stop content caching

You will encounter situations when content caching ends up creating other volumes on its own. Not only that, but it will end up clogging your device storage since it saves updates for all synced devices. You can go to the System Preferences/ Sharing, and here you can uncheck the Content Caching box.

Remove the APFS volume

Sometimes you will be able to remove the Other Volumes manually. It would help if you did this:

  • Enter Disk Utility, and then click on the View Icon to select Show All Devices
  • Select the volume you want to delete. Mounting the volume might be necessary here.
  • You delete that volume via Control + Click, and then from the adjacent menu, you select Delete APFS volume.
  • You must confirm upon deleting the volume.

Removing a container from External Drives

There are situations when your external drives might also have this "other volumes" issue. In this situation, you will have to follow these steps:

  • Go to Disk Utility in Applications/Utilities
  • Here you select View/All drives, then right-click on the APFS container and choose Eject
  • Now start the Terminal and enter "diskutil list"
  • Here you want to see the identifier of the APFS container. After you know it, you need to type "diskutil apfs deleteContainer aaa", where "aaa" is the device identifier.

Reinstalling your operating system

Reinstalling the entire operating system can be a very demanding task. That's why you may want to do it only if it's your last resort.

  • Create a backup for all your data.
  • Start your computer in recovery mode by pressing and then holding Command and R when you start the device.
  • Enter Disk Utility, and then click Erase for the Macintosh HD.
  • Here you can choose between Mac OS Extended or APFS when it comes to the format. Press Erase
  • You must delete any volumes you can find in the sidebar after the erasing process. Make sure that you leave the Macintosh HD volume.
  • Exit Disk Utility and finalize the Mac OS reinstall process.


All these methods can help you eliminate the "Other Volumes" issue. You can try more straightforward solutions or even a complete reinstall, as needed. However, professional Mac cleanup tools or even those manual steps can help you solve the problem without any worries!



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