You know the feeling. You’ve gone to download a new app or take a photo and an annoying message pops up on your screen: “iPhone storage full.” You try deleting an app or a few photos, but your device still won’t let you add anything new. You’ve missed an opportunity because your phone has zero storage left.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to back up your phone and manage storage so this never happens again. When you go to Settings – General – iPhone storage, you may notice that a large portion of your storage is vaguely labeled “other.” What does that even mean?
What is Other in iPhone Storage?
The term “Other” is intentionally vague because it refers to a bunch of different things. Items stored under this category include Siri voice files, old IOS updates and cash files from online purchases. Often, things your phone was supposed to delete on its own end up stored here instead.
Your phone also stores cache files under “other.” These act as memory files to help your phone access apps and websites faster the second time around. However, they’re not essential and can add up quickly, especially if you spend a lot of time on your phone. Clearing out your cache every once in a while can improve phone function.
If you don’t take action to clear “other” items off your phone, they’ll eat up valuable Gigabytes. You’ll start to feel the pinch when you have to delete apps, take fewer photos and stop downloading podcasts for travel. Storage issues can be so frustrating that some people even replace their phones prematurely in an effort to regain usable space.
How to Clear Other Storage
Because “other” covers so many different things, there isn’t one place you can go to clear this off your phone. However, you can take several easy steps to reduce “other” material and free up more space on your phone. Here are two methods you can try:
- Clear Individual Caches
Since a lot of “other” represents cache, you can increase your storage by deleting this saved data from specific apps. Start with the apps you use the most often, such as Safari. Go to Settings – Safari – Clear History and Website Data. This will clear any saved data your phone has accumulated from searching the web.
If you use Google Chrome, open the app. Click the three dots in the bottom right and then History. Tap Clear Browsing Data and select Cached Images and Files, then hit Clear. If you also want to clear Cookies, be aware that you’ll have to sign back into your accounts later.
To delete cache files for individual apps, you’ll have to delete and then reinstall them. To do this, go to Settings – General – iPhone Storage. Wait for the apps to load and click on the ones near the top. These are taking up the most storage. Delete the apps and then reinstall them, free of stored cache.
- Back Up and Reset Your Phone
If you’ve already tried this fix and the “other” storage on your phone is still quite large, it’s time to back up and reset your device. This can make people very nervous because they don’t want to lose anything they’ve saved on their phones. However, you won’t lose anything as long as you back up your device properly before you perform the reset.
To back up your iPhone, go to Settings – Wi-Fi and make sure you’re connected. Next, go back to Settings, hit your name at the top and then iCloud. Run down the list of apps and make sure to turn on everything you want to back up to iCloud. Tap iCloud Backup and then Back Up Now.
Wait until the backup is finished – it may take a while. For an extra level of security, back everything up again on your computer or an external hard drive. After everything is saved, you’re ready to perform the reset. Go to Settings – General – Reset – Erase All Content and Settings.
After you agree to reset your phone, you’ll need to set it up again. To do this, follow the prompts until you find the option to restore your phone from a backup. Choose the latest iCloud backup where you just saved everything from your phone. It will take a while for everything to reload, but the “other” in your storage space should be cleared out.
Managing iPhone Storage
Your phone organizes its storage into categories like systems, media, messages, apps and other. This mysterious “other” label refers to cached data and various other items your phone accumulates through use. Follow these steps to clear “other” items off your phone and make more room for the things you care about.
In addition to clearing out the “other” in your storage, you can also save space by moving high-resolution files of photos and videos to your iCloud account. To do this, go to Settings – Photos. Turn on iCloud Photos and then tap Optimize iPhone Storage. You can also save space by offloading unused apps in Settings – App Store – Offload Unused Apps.
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