AppleInsider is backed by its audience and can earn commissions as an Amazon Associate and affiliate on eligible purchases. These affiliates do not affect our editorial content.
Your iPhones the low storage could be because it is being taken over by System Data, a category that could potentially consume all available capacity. Here’s how to regain space when things get too bloated to work.
Storage capacity is a major concern for mobile device users with available space on an iPhone. iPadand even a Mac is a sensitive concern for anyone. Users with large storage capacity may have less trouble than most users, while those with more modest storage may find it harder to save.
Knowing what apps are on your device, emptying or deleting them, preserving stored videos and other files, relying on cloud storage capacity, and other techniques are often used to tame storage usage.
Sure, deleting files and clearing the cache of apps can help, but it won’t help with an occasional problem involving System Data. Sometimes System Data can become very large and there is little you can do to fix it.
Here’s what you can do to get back more available free storage.
What is System Data on iPhone?
By checking your iPhone’s storage usage you will find: iOS It easily divides data usage into various categories including Apps, Photos, Media, iOS and System Data.
With Photos and Media, which consists of images, videos, and other typical media-style files, it’s all self-explanatory. Apps refer to apps downloaded from the App Store and data caches for each, while iOS is the storage consumed by the operating system itself.
How to check storage usage on iOS
- Open Settings.
- Faucet GeneralThen iPhone Storage.
- The top bar will graphically show you which storage is being used.
- The app list below shows individual app storage usage. Tap on each to see the app size and consumption of related files, and options to empty the app and clear data.
- At the bottom of the list are the iOS and System Data lists.
What the System Data and Settings app calls “Other System Data” includes many files that don’t fall under other categories.
The definition within iOS is that System Data “contains caches, logs, and other resources currently in use by the system.” This does not specify what the data is, but may consist of various logs, temporary data stores, and other items that are not strictly considered part of the listed applications.
Then some items are used by iOS but not belong to a particular app. For example, downloading different Siri voices or installing fonts can expand this section, but they are not simply defined as being used by an app or the operating system itself.
Why is System Data using up all my iPhone storage?
This data will also “fluctuate according to system needs”. This means that temporary data can be written to the storage as System Data and removed when iOS no longer needs it.
But the problem is that you can’t see what the data types used in this category consist of and you can’t delete it.
Generally speaking, Other System Data may be several gigabytes in size initially and can grow and shrink by several gigabytes over time depending on how you use the iPhone.
If this change in size of other System Data continues on an upward trajectory, the bloat issue comes into play. Over time, some users may find that their iPhone’s System Data takes up a lot of space, possibly tens of gigabytes.
in the case of someone AppleInsider Other System Data was growing to almost 85 gigabytes, consuming nearly all of the remaining available storage and causing device issues, the author wrote.
It’s not known exactly why this occurs, but it may be due to one or more caches or logs being added constantly over time, but not being deleted at a rate that can keep up with significant writes. If left too long, this can consume everything.
Users are left with little choice, as there is no way to see what is causing them to directly or selectively delete problematic System Data items.
How to reduce the use of System Data
You can do a few things to reduce the amount of System Data used, and they vary depending on the severity of what you need to do to your iPhone and its data. This guide will start with the least intense option.
Note that these are intended to be taken after other reasonable measures such as deleting unwanted videos or other files to free up space.
Also, don’t forget to back up your iPhone before proceeding. The last thing you want to do is delete valuable data while trying to recover the space.
Safari and Messages
For Messages, this can be as simple as opening Settings, then tapping Messages, going to Message History and changing how long you keep Messages “Forever” to a lower number like one year or 30 days.
Clearing the Safari Cache is a bit more extensive but still useful.
How to clear Safari cache on iOS
- Open Settings.
- Faucet Safari.
- Scroll down and tap Clear History and Website Data.
- In the alert popup, tap . Clear History and Data to approve.
Caches per app
If a specific app is causing the problem, you can try deleting the app if you have a clue as to which app is taking up space. For example, apps that use a lot of videos could potentially use this type of caching, but there’s no need to clear caches afterwards.
There’s no guarantee that doing this will delete the problematic cache capacity you want to remove, but it will still reduce the amount in active use. It is recommended that you try emptying the app, i.e. uninstalling the app, but keeping your relevant documents and data, before doing a complete deletion.
How to empty or delete apps on iOS
- Open Settings.
- Faucet General.
- Faucet iPhone Storage.
- Scroll and related application.
- Faucet Install ApplicationThen Install Application to approve.
- Alternatively, tap . Delete AppThen Delete App to approve.
The nuclear option is to restore your iPhone from a backup. This requires backing up all data on iPhone, factory resetting iPhone, and then restoring from backup.
While you will get all your user data back and continue using the apps, you may still have issues with two factor authentication apps and other related issues after a device setup.
Inside AppleInsider the editorial staff’s case was that restoring from a backup fixed the issue, so it’s worth your while to do so if possible.
How to backup and restore an iPhone from backup.
- To back up data, connect Connect iPhone to your Mac or PC and turn on either Finder or iTunes.
- choose iPhoneselect , then General tab.
- choose “Back up all data from your iPhone to this Mac.”
- Check “Encrypt local backup” to protect account passwords and all Health data.
- choose back up now and wait for it to complete.
- disconnect iphone.
- Open Settings and choose General Then Transfer or Reset iPhone.
- Faucet Erase All Content and Settings. Faucet Go on and follow the prompts to complete.
- After deletion, connect Bring iPhone back to Mac or PC, turn it on Finder or iTunesSelect and iPhone.
- Under GeneralClick Restore Backup.
- choose latest backup you just created, then reinstate. Follow the on-screen prompts.