The Pesky Unwanted Data Using up Your iPhone’s Storage Space

You’ve cleared out most of your photos and deleted the apps you never use, but your phone still tells you it barely has any storage left. Sometimes purging the obvious data isn’t enough to free up storage on your iPhone. Hidden data accumulates and eats up space the more you use your phone, leaving many iPhone users baffled about what’s taking up so much storage space and how to get rid of it.

Email Caches

The reason your mail loads so quickly is the data cache your phone stores. Every email you open on your device saves data to your phone, so if you look at it again it loads more quickly. Right now you don’t have the option to stop your phone from creating email caches, and deleting individual emails doesn’t help if you’ve already viewed them. If you’ve ever connected to iTunes and noticed that the “other” portion of your phone’s storage is huge, email caches are one of the components of “other” data.

The best way to clear out email data is to disconnect your email account from your device, then to connect it over again. Disconnecting your email wipes the data cache your phone is storing.

App Data

Deleting apps that take up a lot of space is an obvious way to free up room in your iPhone’s storage. Some of the biggest space wasters are apps you don’t want to delete, like your social media apps and your favorite games. The solution is still to delete them, but with the intention of immediately reinstalling them.

The apps you use are supposed to clear out data they aren’t using, but they don’t always do so. By deleting and reinstalling the app, you start fresh with only the data the app needs to run. Be careful of deleting apps that don’t have a log-in component, because the only copy of your personal data within the app may be what’s stored on your phone. Anything you sign into, however, can handle this trick.

iMessage and Text Message Threads

Message threads, including pictures and videos, also help make up the “other” data on your iPhone. Deleting text message threads is easy. Open your messaging app and swipe left on each conversation to delete it. Even if you save conversations that have been meaningful to you, you’ll be surprised how many texts from apps, coworkers, and people you don’t talk to anymore are in the list.

Try opening up the individual threads you’re keeping, hitting “details,” and just deleting photos and videos. That’ll free up some space, too. Anything you want to save, remove it from your phone and store it in your favorite cloud storage account, or on an external hard drive.

This hidden, unwanted data builds up quickly given the amount most of us use our phones. When you purge your apps and move your photos, take a moment to attack these data caches as well to prevent that annoying notification about not enough storage space from popping up on your screen again.


Image via Flickr by The Travel Manuel


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Alexandra Shostak is a Florida-based writer with a background in English who loves to focus on business, home improvement, and the craft of writing. You can find her at or on Twitter at @a_shostak.