iTunes “Other” Capacity Taking Up Tons of Space? Here’s a Fix for iPhone & iPad
Back on the topic of iOS disk usage, we have several solutions to that persistently annoying “Other” space you see in iTunes, which sometimes can take up huge amounts of space that are seemingly impossible to recover. We will show you exactly how to get your “Other” space back from an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, though the precise cause of that Other size growing so large may differ from miscalculations and misreporting from iTunes, to actual files on the iOS device taking up lots of space.
Follow each of these simple tips and you’ll get that space back on your device once and for all!
1: Fix iTunes “Other” from Taking Up Large Amounts of Space on iPhone, iPad, iPod
This very helpful tip was sent in by a reader who discovered that mysterious iTunes “Other” space was erroneously reporting a truly massive number, in this case 14GB taken up out of a 16GB capacity device… this is clearly an error and if the problem is that significant it’s usually just a matter of forcing iTunes to recalculate the iOS devices usage:
- Connect the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to a computer and launch iTunes
- Click on the “Summary” tab and scroll down to ‘Options’
- Click the checkbox next to “Open iTunes when this iPad (iPhone) is connected” so that is is unchecked, then click it again so that it is checked
Presumably 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. That Other space holds things like your Contacts, SMS, MMS, and iMessages databases, settings, caches, web history, etc, and it’s very unlikely for it to be anywhere near the huge numbers that are occasionally reported.
This tip comes from one of our readers, and several others have chimed in with positive results, here’s a fairly significant example:
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.
Try it out, let us know if this works for you… but if you do try that and it’s still reporting large numbers or taking up too much space, the next trick will probably solve it instead.
2: Reclaim Enormous “Other” Space on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch by Deleting Messages
If the above trick did nothing, it may be because your Messages app is actually taking up tons of space, meaning it’s not just a miscalculation that iTunes is reporting. Yes, seriously, the Messages app can grow to be quite large, because the data contained in Messages can be everything from texts, movies, to pictures, of every single sent and received text messages, MMS, imessages, from the device. This is particularly true if you send and receive a lot of multimedia messages. In this example screen shot, the Messages app was taking up 4GB, which shows up as “Other” in iTunes:
The easy solution to this is to simply delete the messages, the more you delete the more space you will recover. In general, you’ll want to focus on removing the largest message threads with lots of pictures, movies, and photos that have been sent back and forth:
- Open the Messages app and tap “Edit” then tap the red (-) button next to each message, and confirm the delete
- Repeat until all Messages are gone
- Reboot the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, then reconnect to iTunes to check on the “Other” size
If the resyncing and recalculating issue did not resolve it, then just trashing messages tends to do the trick for most users that use the Messages app, and it works universally on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, though it usually has the biggest impact on the iPhone since that device is what is most commonly used for sending and receiving messages.
This Messages size problem can be exaggerated if you use multiple devices all synced up with iCloud, because iCloud might be syncing the messages that are sent and received to and from other devices, meaning an iPad at home may have a growing “Other” space that is simply the communications your iPhone is having.
“Other” Data Still Huge? Try This to Recalculate the Size
If the above tricks didn’t work, Ken left a helpful tip in the comments which is working for some users. We recommend trying this after you have deleted any gigantic message threads and already tried the syncing method:
- Launch iTunes and with the iOS device connected, uncheck things you want to sync, excluding apps
- Apply changes
- Re-enable the items you want to sync
- Apply changes again
That should force everything to recalculate as well and recover your Other capacity bringing it back to a normal level.