How Do I Get Rid Of The “Other” Data Stored On My iPad Or iPhone? [Ask MacRx]

iPad Other Data

Along with music, movies and photos, many people have some mysterious “other” data on their iDevices, which seems to increase over time. One reader is wondering how to get rid of this data and free up space:

When I look at my iTunes summary of my iPad it shows that there is 2.9GB of “Other” stored on my device. I haven’t put much stuff on my iPad and have no idea what is taking up so much space. I only have a 16GB iPad and like to put movies on it for when I travel, so space is a premium. How do I find out what is taking up so much space, and what is the best way to maximize storage space on my iPad?

Thanks, Kyle

Hi Kyle,

I get asked this question often by my clients, and unfortunately I haven’t found one single answer. Sometimes it may be app data, album art, etc., other times it may be bad storage disk optimization or caches not getting cleared after the system has been in use for a while.

You can usually reclaim the space by making a backup of your iPad, then doing a Restore to the latest version of iOS. After the process completes reload from your backup, and in most cases the “Other” data is gone.

Thanks, it worked like a charm.

• • •

Readers, have any additional suggestions on this topic, or corrections/clarifications on the advice above? If so, please leave your thoughts in the comments.

  • Jonathan Wong

    Is it possible that on JBed iDevices, Cydia apps appear there?

  • Mike Epstein

    It’s likely that in this case, there’s a MUCH faster and simpler solution.  The Videos app keeps a reference to the file it plays open even after it’s done playing it, which essentially pins the file.  So in this case:
    1. User plays video
    2. User deletes video from computer and syncs to iPad, or just deletes from iPad

    the space will become “Other” space.  The quick fix is to force-quit the Videos app (or to restart the iPad).  Then the “Other” usage will go away immediately.

  • Lake Elkhorn Park User

    I think data associated with Apps is also displayed as space use “Other”.  You can go to the Apps section of iTunes, scroll down and see how much “Other” content is associated with various programs.  I got rid of several GB of used space this way by removing files inside programs that I don’t use that often.

  • CharliK

    Other is anything that isn’t Audio, Video, Photos, Apps Or Books. 

    So that means your email, your safari bookmarks, contacts, calendars, app data etc. 

  • joewaylo

    Other can be of many instances:
    Safari Bookmarks
    Notes
    Calendar
    Contacts
    Mail
    In-App Stored Data
    Settings
    VoiceMail
    Misrecorded Synced Information (Apps appearing as Other)
    Diagnostic Data

  • ericschultheiss

    I did a backup and restore, and the “Other” is the same size it was before!  This is ridicules, Apple should better inform us of what is categorized as other, and let us delete it.  I’m sure it wouldn’t be too hard to add that functionality into iTunes.

  • martin odum

    Hello,
    I have 3.9G of ‘other’. I tried all suggestions, removing in app data but no success…also restored and after reloading my backup, the 3.9G ‘other’ returns.
    Funny though i have an ipod touch 4G, iphone 3GS and ipad (1st Gen) . Only the ipod touch is affected this badly. The other idevices have 0.44 and 0.8G ‘other”

  • Mieko Uedelhoven

    I had a large amount (about 1.5gig) of “Other” on my iPhone4, I eventually narrowed it down to sent/draft/deleted email messages being stored on the device.. setting the email preferences to store emails on the server instead of the device worked for me.. that got rid of most of it anyway..

  • Adam Rosen

    Sorry that didn’t work for you, restoring seems to be a “most of the time” solution.  I agree, it’s high time Apple provided more info about just what all this Other info is, and how to delete it.  As noted in the comments here many things can account for this data, but getting rid of it – if it even needs to be gotten rid of – is unnecessarily difficult.

  • nthnm

    This has no affect on that. At least not in my case.

  • nthnm

    Clearing cookies and history in Safari cleared about 500mb from mine.

  • petedriscoll23

    Do you know how to get rid of other on a Mac??

  • LFRGoldstein

    Man I Recovered like 3 GB when I did your advice thanks men.!

  • coreytrice

    Try deleting all of your music, reboot and sync it back to the device. I was having the same issues with my iPad 2 and that fixed it for me. It was up over 5 GB and now is down to a few hundred MB.

  • SulaymanF

    Well you could sync to iCloud and then go to Settings and Wipe the phone, then restore from the iCloud backup in the intro menu

  • OrangeNick

    when i updated to iOS 5 for a few minutes my entire iPhone was filled with “other” data, all 16GB of it! This happen to anyone else? I had to restore multiple times and now its only 0.67gb.

  • Modest Noreika

    Its like facebook app weights just about 17mb, but with all data its like 70mb. thats sucks.

  • Grace DeWitt

    OTHER is 90% text messages saved on your phone (so just delete them and you’ll see most of this “other” vanish).
    The other 8% of OTHER is your saved cookies so clear all that.
    The last 2% of OTHER is normal so don’t worry about that.

  • anderscarey7

    I have an 8 GB iPhone 4 (which of course has only 6 GB storage, screw you Apple.) and I get about 1 GB of Other accumulated pretty soon after I clear it and it’s getting very annoying and rendering my phone useless because I don’t have space for jack crap. I’m getting sick of constantly restoring my phone. clearing my music, etc all the time. How can I just prevent it from getting there?

  • Brian Brockhoff

    I solved this problem for myself by changing my “Mail Days to Sync” settings on my iPad from No Limit to 1 Week. After restarting the iPad this cleared up 9 GB of storage. Deleting texts/apps etc didn’t do much.

  • Ross Claridge

    You should Zero Out your personal data with the programs/apps like Safe eraser ( http://ow.ly/xeNGX ) which supports both non-jailbroken and jailbroken devices OR ishredder If you want to erase data permanently from your iPhone/iPad , so that no one can recover your deleted data by using various iOS recovery programs available in the market. This is true for both Jailbroken and non-jailbroken devices.

    P.S – I was also looking for something to erase my iPhone 4S (jailbroken) data permanently before selling it.

  • Susie

    Worked for me, thanks. Down to 800MB instead of 3GB

  • Keith Colombo

    So happy I decided to finally look this up. I had 11GB of Other!!! That took up serious room. I was able to get rid of most of it with the backup and restore. I think all that is left is email based on usage. I can’t figure out how to get to the attachments that are stored on the device though??

About the author

Adam RosenAdam Rosen is an Apple certified IT consultant specializing in Macintosh systems new and old. He lives in Boston with two cats and too many possessions. In addition to membership in the Cult of Mac, Adam has written for Low End Mac and is curator of the Vintage Mac Museum. He also enjoys a good libation.

(sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)| Read more posts by .

Posted in How-To, MacRx | Tagged: , , , , , , |