How to keep iPhone storage free for taking video
April 25, 2020 10:33 AM   Subscribe

As a newly-minted online teacher, I have been using my 32GB iPhone to shoot videos for my classes. After using AirDrop to store them on my desktop, I have to delete them from my phone to keep storage space free for the next batch. However, even after deleting them and clearing the "Recently Deleted" folder, my "Other" storage category doesn't drop. I need this space back!

I've watched this video and read other explanations saying that "Other" is just about cached Safari and other app stuff, but I do not believe this. Other than reading some Metafilter and a little YouTube, my phone is almost exclusively a video-creation device. It is impossible for me to rack up 10.5 GB of app data in one day. It is obvious to me that the iPhone holds onto the video files, or is somehow reserving that memory after I delete them and empty the trash.

To complicate things (for my understanding, anyway), this cycle of video/upload/delete/empty sometimes does the trick and I can get right back to work, and sometimes does not work for days (like right now, where I do not risk filling up the iPhone and being in the middle of a video).

I have tried restarting the phone several times. I have connected it to my computer to see if that helps. I have closed and reopened the settings app several times.

Can I delete the "Other" category? Is this "Other" category just a ghost of video's past?

Previous question about other (2010).
posted by klausman to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have the exact same problem! It's so annoying. I have some tips that I'm hoping will help.

As far as actually being able to delete the video fully - this process using Image Capture works for me:
1. Connect iphone to macbook with USB charger cord
2. Open image capture
3. Unlock iphone and hope that image capture recognizes it as a device, which it does about 80% of the time
4. Select photos/video and import to a folder on my computer
5. Check to make sure they imported
6. Use image capture to delete all selected photos
(Do not use the iphone during this process to delete the photos.)

At that point the photos are actually deleted from the storage of my phone. I heard that some people don't have image capture, which I think may be an outdated program. But if you do have it maybe this will help!

In the past when my "other storage" was out of control and I couldn't figure out how to get rid of it or what it was, I finally had to reset my phone to factory settings to get the space back. I don't remember the exact process but I believe that I backed up only my contacts and my imessage history using itunes backup, reset my iphone, and then used that backup to get my phone back to normal without filling the storage back up with everything else. It was painless but annoying because I had to reconnect all my apps and calendar, etc. It probably took me about an hour though.

I just checked my own storage and I have 32GB total too. Like ten minutes ago I moved all my video and storage to my computer using the process above. About a minute ago it said my "System" (which either is or contains "Other," idk) is taking up 16GB. I just checked again to confirm before I wrote this, and now it says system is taking 10GB and the smaller "Other" amount had changed and was reflected in the little graph. Maybe it took ten minutes to delete the video ghost stuff. Who frickin knows dude.

Hoping you are able to sort this out. In the mean time, I recommend changing your video recording settings to the lowest setting, which for me is 720p HD at fps, if you haven't already. On my phone you can access that through in Settings - Record Video - Choose new setting.

Good luck!
posted by sweetjane at 1:52 PM on April 25, 2020 [2 favorites]

I usually find syncing the phone to your computer using iTunes does the trick.
posted by ccl6yl at 2:08 PM on April 25, 2020

I screwed because I was deleting video but it was hanging around in my trash taking up space that I badly needed for new videos. I think maybe I had to go to setting/storage to empty trash (google and double check this) I don't think this happened when I used image capture to copy and then automatically delete which was why I got surprised by it when I had videos that weren't worth copying.
posted by metahawk at 11:25 PM on April 25, 2020

I usually connect my phone to a computer and then open Photos. When the iPhone is connected you can choose to import all the photos (and videos) and there is a box to check indicating that you want to delete the files from the phone once they are transferred.
posted by terrapin at 6:42 AM on April 26, 2020

Is it perhaps that your videos are getting saved in iCloud and then getting synced back to your phone?

To check: Settings > Passwords & Accounts > iCloud > iCloud (again) > Photos
posted by xedrik at 9:16 PM on April 26, 2020

Best answer: I can now answer this question (for my phone and current OS):

Delete a bunch of photos/videos and that space looks to be occupied in the “Other” data, even after emptying the “recently deleted” folder? Open up the photos app, and delete some thing else larger than a few dozen MBs. iPhone seems to see this second change and update the first. Right away, you should see the other folder drop to zero.
posted by klausman at 5:25 PM on May 27, 2020

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