Tuesday, May 11, 2021, 16:01 Tips & Reports

How To Free Up Space Occupied By "Other" In Storage – iOS/iPadOS Tip

An iPhone or iPad with too little space left can quickly become annoying. Unlike with a laptop or desktop, the device's storage isn't upgradable after purchase, and although iCloud is a fantastic way for Apple users to save some extra space and store photos, videos, and documents, it only comes with 5 GB of free space. To make matters even worse, Cupertino is known for being somewhat stingy when it comes to equipping their handheld line of products with adequate flash memory. For example, the basic iPad with minimum specs has only 32 GB of storage space. For some users, this lack of space leads to a constant cycle of checking how much space is left, deleting apps, photos, videos, and documents... Only to find themselves in the same situation a week down the line. Users who find themselves doing this often enough might even notice a large amount of space occupied by the "Other" category. We'll show you how to free up some of that space.

How Much Space Is Occupied By The "Other" Category?
In order to view how much space is left on your device, navigate to the device's System Settings and then tap on Settings > General > (Device) Storage. You'll be met with the following screen.

It's also possible to view how much storage space is left on your device by connecting it via USB to your Mac and clicking on it in Finder. This should come up with a list of what's occupying the device's storage, however, this list is extremely inaccurate and the shown values don't necessarily correspond to the actual ones. As a result of this, we recommend the former and more accurate method.



The First Step: Clearing Caches With A Restart
So, now that we've found out how much space is occupied by the "Other" category, what even is it? The "Other" category is made up of caches, system data, dictionaries, keychain data, fonts, updates, and even alternate voice packets for Siri. So, in short – there's quite a bit of room in that category to take up a decent amount of space on your device. Online streams (music, videos, and films) held in the device's cache are especially memory hungry. This cache can be emptied by simply restarting the device. In addition, you can also delete caches in Safari by going to Settings > Safari, and then tapping "Clear History and Website Data".

Further Measures & Another Culprit: Messaging Apps
If the previous steps weren't enough and your device is still low on space, then head back to the Storage are in your device's Settings. It's possible that you'll be met by the following screen and several recommended steps to clear up space.

Offload Unused Apps
For example, in my device's case, iOS was able to identify several unused apps taking up space. I enabled "Offload Unused Apps" and received 2 GB of space back. This option won't remove left over documents or data from automatically removed apps, this is still stored and viewable by scrolling down. This means you don't have to worry about iOS deleting an app you haven't used in a while and losing all of your important data as a result.

Review Downloaded Videos
The second option available to me is to review videos that my device has downloaded, in my case, there were 250 MB worth of videos downloaded by an app I had installed quite some time ago (and never used since), as well as episode 1 of a show on Netflix I must have accidentally downloaded and never watched. I deleted them all.

Review Large Attachments
The third option is to review large attachments from Messenger. As messages, texts, photos, and videos pile up on your device, they aren't simply automatically deleted. They're stored. This means if you have several strings of conversations that you are hesitant to delete, but which also contain large files, you can delete them via tapping on "Review Large Attachments" and determining which ones to keep vs. delete.

The same can also be done for other third-party messaging apps by scrolling down in "Storage" and tapping on the app in the list.

What To Do If Nothing Else Works
Should nothing else work and your device continues to lack space, the problem could be data corruption. In this case, you can reset your device completely, which will erase all data, by going to Settings > General > Reset, and then tapping on "Erase All Content and Settings". However, this is a step only worth taking in an absolute worst-case scenario once you've exhausted all other options. Prior to doing so, it's also advised to check if your device has any backups to iCloud (and, unless you've disabled this feature to save space on iCloud, is enabled by default) which you can restore to and see if that fixes things.

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