What is the iPhone “Other” capacity seen in iTunes?

Jun 25, 2010 - 49 Comments

itunes other

It seems the iPhone “Other” section always takes up at least 200mb, which suggests it’s system files: the iPhone OS, database files, contacts information, settings, SMS data, core data, pre-installed apps, etc. The “Other” portion grows from there, so as you install more apps, add more contacts, send more text messages, and generally just create more data and caches for your phone to store, the system section grows just like any other operating system.

There are known flukes where the “Other” capacity starts taking up huge amounts of space, up to 8gb of this “Other” space has been reported. In this case it’s possible that the iPhone OS is misreporting files and categorizing something like a Movie as Other, this is most likely to happen after a failed sync. This is a good time to backup and sync your iPhone and then format/restore the device so that you’ll have a clean start.

The only known way to clear the “Other” iPhone/iPod Touch usage is to completely restore the iPhone through iTunes. Remember to sync and backup your iPhone otherwise you will lose your contacts, settings, music, and other data.

What if iTunes “Other” is taking up huge amounts of space?

You can fix the iTunes “Other” huge space issue by simply unchecking and re-checking “Open iTunes when this device is connected” from iTunes itself. If you’re confused, read our guide here. Thanks for the tip Mike!

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Posted by: Manish Patel in iPhone, iTunes

49 Comments

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  1. Joe says:

    My “Other” is 6.4G and growing daily. My suspicion is that email is what is fueling it the most, and deleted email isn’t getting cleaned out even though I am deleting it and it tells me it’s gone , even out of the trash can even. If Apple could just give me a chance to access these files directly, and delete what’s not valid, it would be no problem. But I’m debating switching to Android or something just because this has been a non-stop problem that I can’t get rid of.

    • paul says:

      It’d be helpful if you all would add a disclaimer to the story itself. Many have found that Backup and Restore does NOT work.

      But even worse, as in my case, it can make things worse! I went from slightly over 1 gb of Other to OVER 5 gb!!

      So it instead of being a solution it created a worse problem.

      Please add a warning about that– it could save people lots of time. There are other, faster, tricks to try first.

      • paul says:

        OK, egg on my face!

        I posted before it had finished its restore. The “Other” kept growing during the restore phase, but by the time it was done, the Other was back down to a reasonable

        .67 gb!!

        So, it looks as if this is worth doing–and won’t make things worse.

        Still, a disclaimer in the story would be useful to point out that for many it didn’t change things or that the bloat came back on subsequent syncs (I haven’t sync again yet).

    • Michael says:

      Yes, this is exactly the right thing to do. Never Apple again.

  2. CWW says:

    My “Other” is 2.3 GB, it goes away and comes back and I can’t figure out the cause.

  3. jeremy says:

    mine was up to 4.2gb
    Itues was telling me I was 1.5gb over capacity
    I changed settings to only synch contacts and it dropped to just over 1 gb

    Jez

  4. Antxoka says:

    My other data is growing AND now is 11gb..

  5. Link48010 says:

    This is becoming a big flaw. Mine is 2.7 gig on an 8 gig iPhone 3gs (6.6 gig capacity). I deleted everything off the phone and it didn’t shrink at all. I am restoring the iPhone as we speak.

  6. Jared says:

    I’ve got 7.5 gig of “other” after the ios5 update. I also use google sync to keep my calendar and e-mail in sync and I don’t want to give it up. Ideas?

  7. Angie says:

    I’ve got 8.4GB of “other” after the iOS5 update!!! someone PLEASE help me out here. the update ate 3GB of my capacity, so now i’m down to 13 instead of 16GB. Now I can’t sync any of my music, photos, or music, and none of my apps are working since they’re not compatible w/the iOS5. This is ridiculous.

  8. Mieko says:

    I’ve had the same thing.. 3.8gb of “other”. Only just noticed it after updating to ios 5 but I’m sure it’s been there for a while…
    I didn’t want to completely reset my iphone unless there was no other way..
    I started in itunes by unchecking sync items — music, photos, books, etc.. I’m not sure if this had much effect as while this was happening, I was checking my email settings on the phone itself and was checking if mail was storing deleted/draft/sent mails on the handset as opposed to the server. some accounts were storing on the phone so I changed these to store on the server and when I looked back at itunes the 3.8gb of “Other” is now 600mb!
    Hope this helps some of you!

  9. David says:

    Do I get a prize with 30.4GB of Other, on my 64GB iPad? It wasn’t there last night!

  10. Mike says:

    Sorry, close but not enough for the prize. I’m at 37.7GB of “Other”.

  11. Mike says:

    Following up here based on what I found on another thread.

    After unchecking and then checking “Open iTunes when this iPad is connected”, I went from 37.7GB of “Other” space down to 1.79GB. Neat.

  12. Tam says:

    Excellent Mike. I had 9.1 on my iphone after the update. Unchecking and then checking “Open itunes…..worked. Thank you

  13. Rob Sheffield says:

    Thank You Thank You Thank You- the simple check/uncheck itunes box worked for me as well- I had 0.5 gb of space left on a 16gb ipad with 6.8 in the other category after the ios5 update !!

    I’ve been searching for over an hour before I found this page!

  14. CrimsonPixel says:

    Under Summary/Option in iTunes, I checked and unchecked all options and removed enough music/videos to sync my iPhone (I couldn’t check the “open iTunes…” wasn’t an option for me). Once the sync was complete my 9.2 GB of Other was reduced to 0.5 GB. Thanks for the help.

  15. […] menu another nice subtle enhancement to iOS 5′s post-pc feature set. You may notice that the “Other” capacity shown in iTunes isn’t displayed here, but instead is calculated to inclusion in the overall […]

  16. Peegee says:

    good day guys!

    what is the procedure? is it unchecking then sync and checking then sync again?

    thanks!

  17. […] this works because it forces the iOS device to recalculate the “Other” space, which is supposed to be relatively small at about 500MB-2GB, depending on overall device capacity. […]

  18. carl says:

    Hey Guys if your devices are jailbroken.
    go to cydia and download “ifile” for “cydia.xsellize.com” source than when you finish open ifile go to /var/mobile/applications.here you will have all the apps that exist on your device. then press settings icon and set to on “application names” press “done”.
    to see how much every app is really taking of your device space press the small blue arrow on the right of every app .you will have the size in bytes (1mb=1.000.000bytes). some apps like “facebook” and “ibooks” and “tap dj” store over 600 mb of data but on itunes it a 10mb of download :p
    so all this data will be stored in the “other” section.

    Good luck ;)

    • Kelvin says:

      Yea, but how do we fix it ??? I have 56MB of space left on my phone !!!!!

      • NDan says:

        There is nothing to fix, it’s just mislabeled space. Imagine calling your Music or Apps “Other” for a moment, that’s all this does, they are taking up the same amount of space as always, iTunes just isn’t reporting it correctly.

    • Raselas says:

      Wow! Thanks for the iFile advice. All the other re-syncing methods weren’t working. So i used iFile and found over 10 gigs of attachments that were being classified as “Other”… I deleted all of ‘em and my other went from 10.6GB to 1.02GB! Thanks again!

      P.S. I didn’t lose any texts in the process, just photos and videos that i’ve sent and received over the past 4 years… Which more than likely are already saved in my camera roll.

    • Milan says:

      Hey Carl,
      Thanks for that but I have one problem. Once, when I was updating softwer or restoring my iPod my Cydia and Installous had gone. There are 2.2GB of ‘Other’..

      What can I do?

      Thanks.

  19. Dave says:

    I cannot check the “Open iTunes when this iPhone is connected” box because it is greyed out. Why is that?

    • Chantal says:

      You need to first go to Edit/Preferences/Device and check mark the Prevent iPods, iPhones…..from synching automatically box. Once that is check marked, you will be able to select the “Open iTunes when this iPhone is connected” box.

  20. xobaer says:

    thanks to person who discover the solution of the ‘junk problem’ in iTunes.my other portion used to take 43.4 G but now it is minimized severely …u guys are the best.

    thanks a lot again.

  21. JoJo29 says:

    The checking and unchecking didn’t work for me unfortunately but when I cleared the history, cookies, and data under safari on my iphone, the “other” category went way down. I also went through and turned off any of the iCloud features I didn’t really need and that seemed to help as well.

  22. JohnJ says:

    I tried the uncheck fix, didnt clear out my 14g of “other”. I deleted tons of old text messages, this didnt change the “other” at all. I’m assuming my contacts cant be taking up that much space. Any other thoughts on how to clean this up?

  23. JohnJ says:

    I just went through the restore process as well, and I still have 14g of “other”. Need some help if anyone knows.

  24. David says:

    Hey people! There is one thing that I managed to try in order to sync my music to my iPod. I have the same problem on my 8GB iPod Touch by having over 2 GB of “other” and even though I still haven’t got rid of it to this point, one way you can try to sync your music is by going to the “Summary” menu and clicking on the “Convert higher bit rate songs to 128 kbps AAC.” What that does is make your songs file sizes significantly smaller while still maintaining the same quality.

    • Dan Johnson says:

      Hi David:

      Great tip. Hadn’t done that and it saved half a gig. Other tricks aren’t working (check/uncheck “Open iTunes…” for example) on my iPad 1, but your trick helped. Really no sound quality difference? (Haven’t listened yet.) Anyway, thanks!

    • Leah says:

      Thanks this went from 750 mb left to 3gig left now I can add my daughters games back

  25. Eva Bolanos says:

    HElloo!
    i had uptdatd my phone last night and befor i would do tahat i had backedup my phone to itunnes. so my problem here is that i no longer see my contacts and or other data i had in my phone. but, i do see “other” on the summary of the iphone, and thats supposedley my contacts and or messages right? well i dont see any of that stuff on my iphone. please plesase help me, I will appreciate if you get back to me
    thanks
    looking forward to get a responde back from you!
    thanks again!!!

  26. Alex says:

    For jailbroken iDevices with MewSeek:
    Navigate to /var/mobile/Media/MewSeek and delete the folder named “Import.” Erase your trash. Mewseek saves all of the music you have transferred to your iDevice and saves it in this folder!! I deleted this and had no problem playing music in the music app that I had downloaded and transferred. I got over 1 Gig of “other” space to go away (that is how much music I had gotten from MewSeek.) Create another folder in the same directory called “Import” and reboot your device to be sure you can still download and transfer music correctly.
    Hope this helps!

  27. […] “Other” capacity in iTunes is supposed to estimate the size of system software, contacts, Messages data, and things […]

  28. Jaydeep says:

    Hi All,
    I was facing the problem related to “OTHER”. In my case I was deleting movies from my ipad directly and once i just aborted the Sync sequence that time the Other memory consumption went up considerably.
    After that I tired th suggestions mentioned above and I was able to bring down the “Other”.
    But still I would like to know how does other add up?? Any theories on this

  29. bemboi says:

    This is helpful guys. My “others” turned to 0.34 from 0.72 and my apps to 3.8 from 4.5(with deleting other apps).

    I just did restoring from factory settings and then restore from backup of course.

    Thanks to this thread!

  30. bemboi says:

    i mean “w/o deleting apps”. Sorry!

  31. Fadi says:

    Hi all,
    I tried all the tips suggested here but nothing worked for me. The “other” space is always at 2.4G
    I’m using a jailbroke 8g iPhone 3G

    Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  32. Neo says:

    Save your contents on your iphone using ifunbox etc.
    Get another iphone.
    Connect to PC. let it back up
    Restore the other iphone’s backup on your phone.
    This worked for me

  33. Ue says:

    Same issue….after updating the iOS, I had 6.5GB in “Other” even after I had unchecked sync music, videos and removed most Apps.
    Unable to Sync as it would disconnect halfway through and go back to showing everything as “Other”.
    A restart of itunes worked for me…just in case some of you hadn’t tried that already. The Other then showed as Audio/Video/Photos/Apps.
    After syncing that, the amount of content was then corrected.

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