The ‘Other’ category in iPhone and iPad’s storage doesn’t have to take up so much space.
The “Other” category on your iPhone and iPad is basically where all of your caches, settings preferences, saved messages, voice memos, and… well, other data is stored. There is no simple way to identify and remove data in the Other storage category. With a bit of patience, you can reduce the amount of space it takes up on your iPhone or iPad. Follow the steps below to get started.
- How to check your iPhone or iPad’s storage space
- How to check your iPhone or iPad’s storage space using iTunes
- How to clear Safari caches and the offline Reading List
- How to delete old iMessage and Mail data
- How to restore your iPhone or iPad from a backup
How to check your iPhone or iPad’s storage space
You can quickly see what apps are taking up space on your iPhone or iPad by checking out the Usage folder in the Settings app.
Your device’s storage is mapped out on a grid showing what is taking up space. If you scroll down to your apps, you’ll see, listed by size, apps that are taking up the most space on your device.
How to check your iPhone or iPad’s storage space using iTunes
When connected to iTunes, you can see a graph of your iPhone or iPad’s storage categories in the device Summary section. This is where you will distinctly see how much space the Other category is using.
- Connect your iPhone to your computer.
- Open iTunes if it does not open automatically.
Click on the device icon in the upper left corner of the screen.
Click on Summary in the menu on the left side of the iTunes window.
Hover your mouse over the Other section at the bottom of the iTunes window to see how much space the category is using.
How to check your iPhone or iPad’s storage from your Mac in macOS Catalina
In macOS Catalina, Apple has split up iTunes into three different apps, Podcasts, Music, and TV. That doesn’t mean you can’t connect your iPhone or iPad to your Mac anymore, though. It just means it’s moved.
Apple occasionally offers updates to iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS as closed developer previews or public betas for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Mac (sadly, no public beta for the Apple Watch). While the betas contain new features, they also contain pre-release bugs that can prevent the normal use of your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, or Mac, and are not intended for everyday use on a primary device. That’s why we strongly recommend staying away from developer previews unless you need them for software development, and using the public betas with caution. If you depend on your devices, wait for the final release.
- Connect your iPhone or iPad to your Mac running macOS Catalina.
- Open a Finder window.
- Click on the device icon in the sidebar under Locations.
- Click on Summary in the menu on the left side of the Finder window.
- Hover your mouse over the Other section at the bottom of the Finder window to see how much space the category is using.
How to clear Safari caches and the offline Reading List
Some culprits that take up Other space on your iPhone and iPad are history and website data in Safari. These are useful for accessing websites quickly but are not a necessity.
- Open the Settings app.
- Tap General.
Tap iPhone [or iPad] Storage.
- Scroll down and tap Safari.
- Tap Website Data
Scroll down and tap Remove all Website Data.
- Swipe to the left on Offline Reading List.
When you go back to your storage list, you will note that Safari no longer shows any data.
How to delete old iMessage and Mail data
When you use the Mail app, a cache of all the documents, pictures, and videos you have viewed on your iPhone or iPad are stored on your device. This makes reloading them faster the second time around. But, you don’t necessarily want to reopen that kitty GIF that your coworker sent you two years ago. So, you can remove the caches by deleting and reentering your email account information.
Similar to emails, all of the pictures and videos you receive through MMS are stored in the Other category in your storage. You can delete entire conversations, set messages to delete after a certain period of time, or delete individual images and attachments.
As of iOS 11, Apple has made it very easy to clear out these caches automatically. You can enable auto-delete for old iMessages, review large email attachments and remove them from your iPhone or iPad, offload unused apps, and delete music or movies that you’ve downloaded to your device, but don’t actively access anymore.
We’ve got a detailed guide for freeing up storage by setting your iPhone or iPad to automatically clear caches for emails and iMessages.
How to restore your iPhone or iPad from a backup
One of the biggest culprits of unusually large amounts of Other category taking up space on your iPhone or iPad is a wonky bug in the system. The best way to track down and remove corrupted files is to burn it all down and start over. Don’t worry. You can back up your device before you delete everything. That way, you can start fresh without starting over.
Still not fixed?
If you’re still getting an Out of Storage error on your iPhone and removing data in the Other category doesn’t seem to have done the trick, you can try offloading some additional content from your device.
Questions about Other storage?
If you’ve got other questions about clearing your Other storage, or you have some best practices of your own, let us know in the comments!
Some iPhone accessories you may need
Apple Lightning to USB Cable
Did you misplace your iPhone’s Lightning cable? You can get an official replacement cable for less than $20. Use it to connect your iPhone to your Mac to view your storage usage.
Spigen Style Ring
If you don’t “get” PopSockets, you may want something with a little more class. The Spigen Style Ring offers a similar function but doesn’t look like a toy.
amFilm Glass Screen Protector
If you’re looking to protect your iPhone’s screen but don’t want to spend a lot of money, amFilm’s glass screen protectors are high-quality at a low price.
Updated June 2019: Updated for macOS Catalina (still in beta).
This article was originally posted here