iPhone / iPad Storage Issue – Other Storage

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Do you have an iPhone or iPad that tells you that you are out of space? When you look at the settings, is “Other Storage” taking up ridiculous space? Well, today’s post is for you and comes by request from several TGM readers who all report the same issue with “Other Storage” on their iPhone or iPad.  This post will cover what “Other Storage” is and things you can do to try and get the “Other Storage” space under control. iOS/iPadOS Storage Issue – Other Storage


From trying to update your iPad/iPhone to trying to take photos or download something, and suddenly you are met with the message that your device “DOES NOT HAVE ENOUGH AVAILABLE STORAGE”.

ios storage full

At this point, as the tech that receives the request for help, the message consists of

  • “I deleted all my apps”
  • “I cleared all of my browser histories”
  • “I deleted any music or video I downloaded for offline viewing”

…” and I still don’t have space”.  Does that sound familiar?  Well if you check your space, you will find that there is a section for “Other Space” and that is at the heart of your problems.  Unfortunately, Apple has designed “Other Space” as the find all – end all – catch-all, kind of like that drawer in your kitchen. The following is how you check your storage and steps you can do to resolve the space issue.

How Much Storage Space Do You Have 

When the issue of “not enough available storage” starts, the 1st thing you need to do on your iPhone or iPad is to See How Much Space you have and what is using up your space. To see what your storage space looks like (from the device)

  • Click on the setting icon
  • When the settings app opens, scroll down to General and click on it
  • Once you are on the General screen, scroll down to iPhone or iPad Storage and click it

And at that point, you will see exactly what space you have and what is using it

ipad storage screen

Under the general storage break down, you will then see an itemized list of all the items installed and how much space they are taking. The last thing listed will be “Other” storage.

iphone storage screen

So What Does The “Other” Section Cover? 

FaceTime, Calculator, iTunes Store, etc all make sense, when you see them you know what they are. Then you get to the bottom and see Other, and what the (BLEEP) is other. Well in Apple’s mind, the other is the catch-all section for things like system cache files, Siri voices (for those who download additional voices), log, updates, and any cache file for media that is downloaded for offline play.

So What Now, What Can You Do 

  • Manually Offload Apps Not Used 

You can use what Apple calls Offload App, which lets you remove the app without removing the history, setting of the app, in case you need to reinstall it. To Offload an app

  • Launch the Settings app and head over to the General option by scrolling down.
  • Now tap on iPhone or iPad Storage and scroll down to see which apps have high file data. From the list select an app that you wish to offload.
  • Once tapped on the specific app, you will see the choice to Offload App to remove the app from the iPhone or iPad.

Offload App iOS

By doing this you will “free up storage used by the app, but keep its documents & data”. Of course, if the documents and data are what is taking up all the space, then this won’t completely help.  In which case, you will need to delete the app, so that you clear the documents & data.

  • Clearing The Safari Cache

The next thing you can do is clear the Safari browser cache, even if you don’t use Safari as your main browser.  I know that doesn’t entirely make sense, but Safari is part of the overall OS process. To clear the Safari cache

  • Launch the Settings app and scroll down to select Safari.
  • Once the Safari window opens, scroll about halfway down until you see Clear History and Website Data and select to clear your cache.

Safari clear data iOS

Hopefully, the space being used by other storage is just a bunch of cached data from Safari.

  • Next Look At Message History 

If clearing Safari cache doesn’t handle the issue, next you can look at your message history. Do you receive a bunch of text messages? Do those messages have pictures or videos attached? You know from the family member who just had to show you what they were having for dinner, or the friend showing you where their seats at the concert are. Well, eventually that will build up and can take the space you are looking for.  So the goal here is to reduce how much of the text message history you keep.  To just the stored Message History,

  • Launch the Settings app, then scroll to and select Messages.
  • Now on the next screen, scroll down and select the Message History / Keep Messages setting.

ios messages setting

by default, this setting is set to forever, and to quote Prince “Forever that’s a mighty long time”.

ios message keep time setting

changing the setting to either 1 yr or 30 days will remove a lot of old stored messages and clear up space.  Keep in mind, changing this setting will remove a lot of old stored messages, so before you do this, go thru your messages and save anything you wish to keep.

  • Make Sure Apple Analytics Isn’t On 

Keep in mind Apple, just like Android, wants its users to “Help improve” the products and services it offers. Apple calls that Analytics. If you have Analytics turned on, you are providing Apple with details of your device, the usage, and any error logs that get created during use. To see if Analytics is on,

  • Launch the Settings app, and scroll down and select Privacy.
  • Once you are on the Privacy screen, scroll to the bottom and select Analytics & Improvements

ios privacy analytics setting

  • On the Analytics & Improvements screen, make sure everything is set to off.

ios analytics

After following all those steps, if you still have to much space being used by the “Other” section of your storage, then we get to the starting over solution.

When All Else Fails – Starting Over 

There are times when no matter what you try, the Other section will just not cooperate and when everything else fails, reloading your device may be the only option you have left.  Keep in mind before any reload

  • Check and make sure you have an iCloud account logged in
  • Check and make sure that anything you wish to save is being backed up. NOTE: Mail Apps usually staff off from iCloud backup as the email provider will have its backup.

ios icloud

  • Once you have checked your device and confirmed what is being backed up, you should also go to iCloud in your browser and verify what has been backed up.

iCloud site

WARNING: ONCE YOU ERASE YOUR DEVICE IF IT’S NOT BACKED UP, IT’S GONE. SO DOUBLE AND TRIPLE CHECK. 

  • To Erase Your Device 

Once you are sure you have a backup of everything you want to keep. To erase the device

  • Launch the Settings app, and scroll and select General
  • Once in the General section, scroll to the bottom and select Reset
  • From the Reset window, select Erase All Content and Settings

ios Reset screen

  • You may be asked to enter your Apple ID password at this point, depending on how your device is configured.  If you do, just enter the info and select ok.

Your device will now go through the process of resetting to the factory, just like the day you bought it.  Depending on the size of the storage size and age of the device, this process could take a few minutes.

  • Once Erased To Start Over

Here is the part that most people make the mistake.  During the setup process, you will get prompted to either restore from backup or to set up the device as new. You want to select to set up the device as new.

ios set up device

If you select to Restore from Backup, the device will restore all files including the files cached files you are trying to get delete from the system.  By setting up as new, you are telling the device to not get any of the cache files into the device.  Once the device is set back up as new

  • You can log into iCloud on the device and restore your data. Except for messages, which will not be available. Messages are the one thing you lose by doing it this way.
  • You will need to manually download all the apps you use from the Apple app store. Keep in mind, this would be a really good time to see if “you really need that app” anymore.

Once you complete this setup process, you will have restored the data that you want, while removing data that you don’t want.

Final Thought 

Hopefully, you will never go through this, but enough people are reporting this space used by the Other Section in storage, that you may get stuck with the issue.

 

Source(s) 

iOS/iPadOS Storage Issue – Other Storage

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