If you’re an iPhone user, you may notice “other storage” taking up a large chunk of space under storage settings. If you Google how to get rid of it, there is no clear answer other than backing up your phone and restoring the data; kinda like setting up a new phone.
Backing up can be done via iTunes by saving it on your laptop hard drive or via iCloud. This is not ideal for most people – I did it once out of desperation in those 64GB iPhone days.
But after my experience of playing around, this is my tried and tested solution to dramatically reducing ‘other storage’ on iPhone.
The most frustrating thing about iOS for me is “other storage” for caches that you can’t get rid of unless you back-up and restore. Apple needs to make it easier.
— Nafisa Akabor (@nafisa1) December 2, 2020
This looks to be an ongoing thing for me, I cleared mine in December and from the above tweet, I managed to clear 40,46GB. I had to do it again in April because there was something very wonky on my settings: it showed 184GB of ‘other’ on my 256GB phone (!). But I’m going to share how I got it down to 8.93GB; bottom second pic taken today (12 May).
In my experience, it appears that your Photos app takes up a ton of other space, in addition to its own Photos allocation.
Step 1: Go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage. Either look at the colour coded graph corresponding with “Other” or scroll all the way to the bottom to see the split between System and Other and how much space it is taking up. Screenshot or take note of this figure. If it’s unnecessarily high, continue to step 2.
Step 2: Go into your Photos and start deleting pics that you don’t need. This is a lengthy process. I did mine over a few days from over 30 000 to 18 000. TOP TIP: To select them in bulk, go into Albums, tap Select on top right, and slide your finger over all the pics you want to delete, it will scroll as you scroll. Start at the bottom right and take it to the top left corner. Just hold your finger in place and don’t lift it up and the scroll will continue. Obviously only select the ones you want to delete. I let mine sometimes go up to 300 pics in one go, or over 600-700. Yes, I have crap on my phone.
Step 3: Once again, under General > iPhone Storage, see which apps take up the most space. I was shocked (not really) to see how much space my video editing app took so I went and deleted all my past projects. I deleted high res Whatsapp content, cleared my DJI app. It’s a lot of video and photo heavy apps that take up space. Apps like Instagram, TikTok, etc can simply be deleted and reinstalled so the cache disappears. Don’t do this for Spotify or any music streaming app where you downloaded offline content otherwise you will have to redownload them.
Step 4: Once all of this is done, go back and look at your reduced “Other” storage! You will have tons of free space now that caches have been cleared.
I’m glad I no longer have to back up and restore just to get rid of “Other” storage.
Welcome to Wired to the Web. My name is Nafisa Akabor and I’m a technology journalist covering business and consumer tech for the last 14 years. I’m passionate about start-ups, smartphones, mobile payments, travel tech and electric cars. ✉️ firstname.lastname@example.org