What is “Other” Storage in iOS and How Do I Delete it?


Cannot Install Update iPad Full

Have you ever gotten the message that the storage space is all used up on your iPhone or iPad and simple app updates can’t be installed? It is annoying when you try to find out what is taking up space and see a bunch of it is consumed by the “Other” category. Here is a look at what the Other storage is and how to start freeing up space.

This happened to me with my older iPad Mini recently after upgrading to iOS 11. When opening Settings, you can see the iPad Storage Full warning and to free up space you need to tap Manage Storage.

Manage Storage

Then you will see a breakdown of the type of data taking up space on your device. It is divided into categories that are self-explanatory like Apps, Books, and Photos. But what is the “Other” category and why is it taking up so much space?

iPad Storage Other Full

What is Other Storage in iOS and How Do I Clean it Up?

The Other category is data that iOS can’t display in its existing categories like Media, Books, or Apps. This can be data like downloaded email attachments, Safari or Chrome browsing cache, and other temporary files that iOS doesn’t recognize. Usually, the biggest space hogs are web browser cache and an app’s Documents & Data history.

documents and data iOS

In fact, a lot of your apps have Documents & Data history that includes documents and other files an app has created or downloaded. For example, eBooks from Amazon’s Kindle app you’ve downloaded for offline reading. You can see the amount of cached document and data from iOS but can’t delete it. You either need to delete it from within the app’s settings or delete and reinstall the app entirely.

For instance, with Chrome, launch the app and go to Settings > Privacy > Clear Browsing Data and select the items to delete, namely cached images and files.

Clear Browsing Data Chrome app iOS

Get a Second Opinion from iTunes

When it comes to clearing storage on a device that’s full, clearing the “Other” storage might not be enough. If clearing Other storage doesn’t give you enough space back, you can get a second opinion from iTunes. For example, iOS 11 showed me that most of the space is being taken up by Media and Other on my iPad. However, when I plugged it into my PC, iTunes gave a much better break down. It shows that most of the space is being taken up by audio files. And, the Other storage is only a fraction of what iOS showed.

iTunes Storage iPad

In my case, it turns out most of the audio files are podcasts. So, I can delete the ones I don’t want or select them all and clear up 6 GB of space.

Delete podcasts

Running out of space on older iOS devices with minimal storage is an unfortunate and regular occurrence. But you can clean it up when you know where to look.

Do you have an older iPhone or iPad and run out of space a lot? Leave a comment below and let us know the tricks you use to keep it clear and clean.