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How to free up Other storage on iPhone

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9 min read

Everyone has been in this situation: you’re trying to install the latest iOS update, download a new app, or even simply save a video your friend sent you, and your iPhone gives you an error indicating there’s no more free space.

Although the newer iPhones with larger storage capacities face this problem less frequently, it’s still helpful to be aware of the particular part of your iPhone’s storage, which can be taking over all the free space that’s available. That’s the Other category. Unlike some of the rest, such as Apps or Photos, there’s no way to delete it completely.

To eliminate files and data which waste space on your device, you need to understand what is the Other in iPhone storage, so let’s get right to it!

iPhone’s Other storage: what is it?

The definition iOS gives is that system storage “includes caches, logs, and other resources currently in use by the system.” The Other storage on iPhone is the original name of that data category within the device. After iOS 15, however, Apple changed the name to System Data, while its contents remained the same.

Getting a better grasp on what is the Other in iPhone storage becomes easier when you know what it includes, so here’s a list of the most important, and large, Other data:

  • System files. Elements that are used by iOS, but aren’t owned by a particular app. For example, new Siri voices or fonts will fall into this category because they aren’t defined as being used by just one app or the operating system itself.
  • Temporary files. Temporary data can be put into storage as System Data iPhone, and removed when iOS doesn’t need it anymore. 
  • Logs and website caches. These include website logins, autofill URLs, and pre-loaded websites for faster browsing.
  • Caches of streaming media. iOS saves caches of the media you stream the most to ensure smooth playback and they become a major storage space consumer.

The Other storage on iPhone is the hardest category to maintain because it consists of an array of miscellaneous data living on your iOS device. But since “hard” doesn’t mean “impossible,” let’s find out how to purge unneeded content if iPhone Other storage is huge.

How to check your iPhone storage

Knowing how much space you have left and what exactly is taking up most of it is crucial before getting to clear Other storage on iPhone. For that, iOS has a neat section outlining storage categories and their respective sizes.

Here’s how to view the Other storage graph on iPhone:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap General > iPhone Storage
  3. Check the light gray bar representing System Data for iOS 15 and Other Storage for iOS 14 and earlier

iPhone Storage

To check precisely how much space the Other category is taking up, you can scroll down to the bottom of the app list and tap on System Data to see its size in gigabytes.

There’s also a way to view and handle your iOS device’s storage from your Mac. You’ll find the storage information in Finder if you’re running macOS Catalina or later, otherwise, all the necessary information will be in iTunes.

Here’s how to check Other storage on iPhone or iPad using a Mac:

  1. Connect your iPhone or iPad to a Mac
  2. Launch Finder or iTunes
  3. Select the device and check the storage bar at the bottom of the screen

Other iPhone's storage on a Mac

To automate the process of managing your iOS devices and free up time for other things in life, try AnyTrans for iOS — a smart alternative to Apple’s iTunes, media downloader, and backup manager.

AnyTrans for iOS offers seamless data migration between all kinds of devices, while performing instant backups on a timely schedule so your media, files, and data never go missing. AnyTrans will bring all your devices into sync and if you’re ever running low on space, it’ll help control your downloads and iCloud content with ease.

data migration between all Apple devices

How to get rid of Other storage on iPhone

Now that you’ve taken a close look at the breakdown of your iPhone’s storage consumption, you’ve likely noted that your iPhone Other storage is huge. While System Data — what is the Other in iPhone storage — should ideally be in the 5 to 15 GB range, it can sometimes spin out of control, and that’s when you have some cleaning up to do.

So how to clear Other storage on iPhone? Unless you’re trying to figure out how to free up space to install the latest software, updating to the latest iOS version available will likely be your best solution.

Here’s how to free up Other storage on iPhone by installing an iOS update:

  1. Open Settings > General
  2. Tap on Software Update for the latest version to appear
  3. Tap Download and Install

Checking for Update...

How to clear Other storage on iPhone: Cut down on streaming

Downloaded video and audio files are categorized as Media in iPhone’s storage. Alternatively, when you stream music or videos, your device uses caches to ensure smooth playback. And since cache files are stored in System Data and are the ones taking up the majority of its space, reducing their output will help clear Other storage on iPhone.

So while you’re trying to free up some space on your device, it’ll help to cut down or entirely hold off on streaming.

How to reduce Other storage on iPhone by deleting large attachments

For most people, removing a big chunk of Other storage on iPhone would be as simple as deleting large attachments, as they often take up a good portion of the free space in System Data. 

Note: Starting with iOS 15 you can’t review all large attachments, but only the media you’ve downloaded.

Here’s how to clear Other system data on iPhone by deleting large attachments:

  1. Go to Settings > General
  2. Select iPhone Storage
  3. Tap Review Large Attachments or Review Downloaded Videos
  4. Select Edit on the top right
  5. Select the attachments you want to delete and tap the trash icon if you have iOS 14 or earlier, or tap the red minus sign between each video to remove it in iOS 15 or later

While large attachments are good at wasting your storage space, duplicate files are the best at it. So if you’d like to organize and clean up your device professionally, try using a good duplicate file finder like Gemini.

Gemini performs a complete device scan in seconds and comes to you with a neat presentation of its findings, so it’s easy and quick for you to choose what you’d like to let go. And don’t worry about deleting something by mistake, as you can recover any file in just a few clicks!

Photo Radar

How to enable auto-deletion in Messages to clean up Other storage on iPhone

The Messages app saves all your text history forever by default and that can create a pile of unwanted cache that’ll be taking up space in Other storage on iPhone. As of iOS 11, Apple has made it very convenient to automatically delete history in Messages.

How to reduce Other storage on iPhone by enabling auto-deletion in Messages:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Select Messages
  3. Scroll down and tap Keep Messages
  4. Select either 1 Year or 30 Days

Keep Messages

Mail is another app on your phone configured to save a cache of all the documents, photos and videos you’ve viewed to reload them faster next time you open them. Clear the Mail cache by simply logging out of your account and then signing in again to start fresh.

Decluttering your Notes and Voice Memos will also help clear Other storage on iPhone, since storage space gets eaten up every time you save or open a note or voice memo associated with your iCloud account. Use Gemini in this instance also to quickly scan your device for duplicate or similar files and delete them in a flash.

How to remove linked third-party accounts to cut down on Other storage on iPhone

Apple has made it simple to link third-party accounts like Google or Yahoo! to your iPhone and that’s become a handy feature for everyday life. But sometimes, these accounts can accumulate a lot of cache that’ll get stored on your device and will add to the ever growing size of Other storage.

How to delete Other storage on iPhone by removing linked third-party accounts:

  1. Go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars
  2. Tap into the third-party account you want to remove
  3. Tap Delete Account

Delete Account

How to delete Other storage on iPhone by clearing app caches and offloading unused apps

Under the main graph in iPhone’s storage, you’ll see the list of apps and how much room they take up: both the app itself and the data associated with it. Apps on top of the list are the ones that take the most space. 

While the app itself can be of a modest size, its cache can grow to be enormous, so clearing it every month or so can save you from running into the problem of your iPhone Other storage getting huge. You can go into the app’s settings to clear its cache from there if there’s such an option.

Otherwise, remove the app’s caches and clear Other storage on iPhone, by deleting the app itself. Here’s how:

  1. Go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage
  2. Tap on the app you want to delete
  3. Select Delete App
  4. Go to the App Store to reinstall the deleted app

If you have an app that’s very large itself, but uses very little data a better solution would be to offload the app instead of just clearing its cache. Offloaded app is deleted from your device, but the cached data belonging to it remains. This way, when you reinstall the app, you can continue as if it was never deleted.

How to remove Other storage on iPhone by automatically offloading unused apps:

  1. Open Settings and if you have iOS 15 or later tap App Store, otherwise go to General > iPhone Storage
  2. Enable Offload Unused Apps

Offload Unused Apps

To take an additional step to stop more Other storage from accumulating, you can turn off background refresh for your apps and restrict your iPhone location services. Both features can be disabled from the Settings app.

How to clear Safari caches if iPhone Other storage is huge

Safari’s caches make it more convenient to surf the internet with a faster and more personalized browsing experience, but are not vital to your device’s operation. Hence they can be one of the first to go if you need to clear Other storage on iPhone to make space for more important items.

Website caches are easy to clean, but can grow up to a gigabyte if you don’t empty them. So here’s how to clear the Other storage on iPhone by removing website data in Safari and deleting offline reading lists:

  1. Go to Settings > General
  2. Select iPhone Storage
  3. Scroll down to select Safari from the list of apps
  4. Tap Website Data
  5. Select Remove All Website Data
  6. Swipe to the left on Offline Reading List
  7. Tap Delete

Remove All Website Data

Note: Clearing your website cache will sign you out of sites you’re currently logged into.

How to remove Other storage on iPhone by restoring it from backup

All the options for how to reduce Other storage on iPhone outlined above work well most of the time and will help tame storage space consumption by the Other category. However, if you’re looking to bring its size down significantly, you need to back up your iPhone and reset it. While not the fastest route, it’ll take you to a desired point of Other storage as small as 1 or 2 GB.

Here’s how to delete Other storage on iPhone by backing up and restoring your device through your Mac:

  1. Connect your iPhone or iPad to a Mac to perform the backup
  2. Open Finder or iTunes and select your device
  3. Go to General > “Back up all the data on your iPhone to this Mac”
  4. Tick the “Encrypt local backup” box
  5. Tap Back Up Now and wait for it to complete
  6. Disconnect your device and open Settings
  7. Go to General > Reset iPhone
  8. Select “Erase All Content and Settings”
  9. Tap Continue and follow the prompts to complete
  10. Connect your iOS device back to the Mac
  11. Open Finder or iTunes and select iPhone or iPad
  12. Go to General > Restore Backup
  13. Select the most recent backup you’ve created and click Restore

Quickly clear Other storage on iPhone

Never lose a handle of Other storage on iPhone again with the knowledge of these useful tricks and help from various apps from Setapp, a platform of over 240 best in class iOS and macOS apps for every occasion! 

Monitor your iOS devices from your Mac with ease and comfort using AnyTrans, while Gemini will help you get a better handle of your device’s storage space by quickly locating and removing duplicate files.

Good news! Both AnyTrans and Gemini are available to you at no cost along with more top apps Setapp has to offer. Try any Setapp app for free for a week and you’ll never look back!

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