If you’ve ever filled your iPhone to capacity, you may have suddenly noticed a gray section of stored data titled “Other” in iTunes. What could this mysterious data be?
Well, there could be a couple things that could be contributing to it, but the most likely culprits are your apps. More specifically, one culprit: iMessage. You’re probably not aware of this, but every time you send or receive a file within an iMessage — whether it’s photos or various documents — your iPhone stores that data. If you are like millions of other users who enjoy sending silly photos to friends and family (or inappropriate ones if you’re into that sort of thing), that data can accumulate very quickly over time.
On the rare occasion, restoring the iOS on your iPhone can resolve this issue, but the less invasive solution is to locate problematic apps on your phone that could be taking up space.
To free up that space, follow these instructions:
- Make sure your phone and apps are synced in iTunes.
- If possible, make sure you have backed up or copied off any documents or data you might need, as you will lose it. A lot of apps allow you to email documents and data.
- On the phone, go to Settings/General/Usage. You should find a list of all the apps.
- On the right hand side is a list of the total storage space each app is using, including the app itself. The list is also handily listed in descending order of size. If you tap on on one of the apps on the list, it shows you how much space is being used by documents and data. You also have the option to delete the app.
- To delete the app, simply tap on “Delete App.” The app is deleted, and so is the data stored in the ‘other’ area. Repeat for other apps if necessary.
- To re-install the app(s), plug it in to your iTunes and re-sync your phone. The app(s) are re-installed with no data taken up in the ‘Other’ area.
If you want a visual representation of your data, the third party app iExplorer is very easy to use and available as a temporary demo. You can also buy it if you want.