How to clean out the "Other" storage in my iPhone 5S?
October 30, 2014 6:34 PM   Subscribe

My iPhone 5S has a ton of stuff in "Other" storage (iTunes screenshot); I don't even have disk space to do the latest iOS update. I see this is a common problem, surely some of you have a solution?

In particular, I see there are some paid software or app options (like PhoneClean- seems to have decent reviews). I would be interested to hear what you can recommend that will help solve this! Need more disk space for baby pictures, showtunes, etc.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Have you actually tried to do the update? When mine was like that it was because the update itself was sitting there taking up all the space, even though I hadn't taken any action to download it. Once I went ahead and tried to install it, it worked fine and cleared out that "other" storage almost completely.
posted by something something at 6:42 PM on October 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: don't even have disk space to do the latest iOS update

Connecting the phone to my laptop and updating via iTunes enabled me to update mine and my wife's phone, even though both didn't have space for the update.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:49 PM on October 30, 2014

Best answer: I also deleted the backup that was stored in iCloud, updated the phones and then did a backup to the computer. That seemed to clear up a couple of gigs from the "Other" space.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:52 PM on October 30, 2014

Best answer: Mysterious Other explains where this other memory usage comes from, in at least some cases. Unfortunately, he doesn't have a way to clear it.

I believe you have two choices:

1. Update via iTunes, connected to your Mac or PC. This has much lower memory requirements.

2. Back up your iPhone, then erase it and restore from the backup. That will clear out the mysterious other memory. You just have to make sure you have a solid backup!
posted by alms at 6:53 PM on October 30, 2014

Response by poster: Huh, so I did do the update to iOS 8.1 through iTunes, and now I have a much more reasonable storage breakdown. Hoping that solves this problem long-term; if anyone has experience that says it won't, tips still welcome!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:22 PM on October 30, 2014

Lovely - iOS 8.1 doesn't fix this problem by any means, but the Settings->General->Usage->Manage Storage is finally detailed / powerful enough to fix some of these problems on the phone.
posted by wotsac at 7:45 PM on October 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

According to the article I linked above one major cause of "other" memory usage is streaming movies and TV shows. This video data doesn't show up in "Settings->General->Usage->Manage Storage" and I'm not aware of any way to manually purge it.
posted by alms at 8:10 PM on October 30, 2014

I've only had this when my phone somehow got into a messed up state (during a sync going wrong) where space was taken up by my music library but the phone stopped recognizing them properly as audio files, and so I couldn't delete them or interact with them in any way via either itunes or the phone. I had to reset the phone and restore from backup to get rid of the "other"; it's not actually very hard or risky to do if you have things set up properly, just time consuming.
posted by advil at 8:35 PM on October 30, 2014

FWIW, the ever-growing "Other" has been a thing in iOS practically from day-1. It's never really been an issue (other than chewing-up a ton of space with no explanation) until Apple instituted wireless updates.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:34 AM on October 31, 2014

One way to get rid of "Other" is to do a full backup of your phone from iTunes, then factory reset it and restore from the backup.

It's long winded, but the space it uses will completely vanish.
posted by mr_silver at 11:31 AM on October 31, 2014

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