How to Clear ‘Other’ Storage on an iPhone


If your iPhone is running low on storage, a great way to check on what you can delete to up clear a bit of space is by heading to the Settings app. You can check out the iPhone Storage screen under the General menu for a detailed breakdown of your device. However, you may be frustrated to see a portion of your iPhone’s storage is taken up by content merely labeled as Other. In this guide, we’ll review what that Other storage category might be comprised of and how to clear it to free up additional space.

Trying to make room on your iPhone? Be sure to also check out our guide on how to free up space on your iPhone.

What is ‘Other’ storage?

It can be frustrating to stare down the Other category in the iPhone Storage screen. While Apple labels space taken up by installed apps, system files, multimedia, and messages, the Other category presents a mystery. Put simply, the Other section is comprised of anything that Apple hasn’t sorted into one of its assigned categories. Common files categorized within the Other section include system files, application caches, and update files.

iPhone 12
Andrew Martonik/Digital Trends

How to clear ‘Other’ storage

It can be challenging to determine precisely what is categorized as Other storage. Here are some of the most common culprits that could be stealing your iPhone’s storage and detailed instructions on how to clear them:

Safari cache and website data

Safari is the default web browser on iOS devices. To load webpages with increased speed, it may store files on your device for later use. If left unchecked, Safari cache files and website data may grow out of control. Here’s how to clear Safari’s cache on your iPhone:

Step 1: Open the Settings app.

Step 2: Scroll down and select Safari.

Step 3: Tap Clear History and Website Data.

Old iMessages and text messages

Despite having a dedicated Message category, old messages on your device can take up space under the Other category. If you don’t feel the need to keep your iMessages and text messages forever, you can set them to auto-delete after a set amount of time.

Step 1: Open the Settings app.

Step 2: Scroll and select Messages.

Step 3: Find and click on Keep Messages under Message History.

Step 4: Select to auto-delete messages after either 30 Days or 1 Year.

Mail app cache and files

Another application that stores a local cache on your device is the iOS Mail app. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to clear the cache and all associated files. Our recommendation for tackling this category is merely removing your email account from your iPhone and then re-adding it.

You can manage all current email accounts by opening the Settings app and navigating to the Passwords & Accounts section, then tap the account and choose to Delete it. If you need further assistance after setting up your email again, check out our guide on adding your email account to an iPhone.

Streaming app cache files

Many streaming apps will use a cache to ensure your experience remains smooth, but this can begin to take up space on your device. Streaming apps include options such as Spotify, Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Prime Video, HBO Max, and more.

To clear an application’s cache, you will need to uninstall it and then reinstall it. Before proceeding, ensure that you know the password to your streaming account so you don’t have an issue logging back in.

Step 1: Find the application on your home screen and hold down your finger on it until the context menu appears.

Step 2: Tap the Remove App option.

Step 3: When prompted, select Delete App.

Step 4: Open the App Store and re-download the application.

The iOS 13 storage problem

Person holding iPhone 11 with a customized home screen layout.
Bill Utaegbulam/Digital Trends

If you have an iOS device running iOS 13 or iPadOS 13, and your Other storage is out of control, you may be experiencing a bug. Apple has noted that an issue in iOS and iPadOS 13 may prevent the system from automatically freeing up storage. Updating your device to iOS or iPadOS 13.6.1 or later may fix the problem. Follow our guide on updating your iPhone for more information on obtaining the latest version of iOS.

Still having issues with ‘Other’ storage?

Suppose you’ve followed the above instructions and are still finding that the Other storage category is consuming your iPhone. In that case, you can try resetting your device and restoring it from a backup. Be sure to check out our guide on how to reset your iPhone if you decide to take this route. Remember to take caution when resetting and restoring your iPhone as not to lose any unrecoverable data.

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