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iPhone Restored: How 4.5GB of "Other" Files Ate My Storage!

Confession: I had to restore my iPhone 3G yesterday. No, I didn't want to jump on the trend-wagon just to get a build number ending in 7. No, the buggy, sluggy transitions didn't finally get to me. What happened? A huge chunk -- fully 1/4 -- of my 16GB storage was eaten up by what iTunes helpfully classified as "Other" files.

I didn't restore immediately, of course. Since "Other" data doesn't include music, video, or photos (which are each classified separately in iTunes), and most "other" data, like contacts, OS, settings, etc. is far too small to explain 4.3GB, I considered 3rd party apps (which Apple should really break out in their own color in iTunes as well). Maybe they weren't being properly uninstalled and removed from the device?

First I removed all 3rd party apps via iTunes 7.7. That got me down to 4.3GB. Then I tried removing them via the home screen's wiggly jiggly delete, just in case. Same result. Round about that time Apple released iTunes 7.7.1, and just in case this was a known -- and hopefully patched -- bug, I installed, rinsed, and repeated. And got not a step further.

That's when I decided the only way to catch this data-hostage taker was to nuke the city. That's right: full, clean re-install.

I was on the original, out-of-the-box firmware build (5A345) and iTunes restored to an incrementally later version (5A347), but it worked. Storage reclaimed. (And, as some other reports have indicated, this build in general when combined with a clean (not from backup) setup has made the more annoying sluggishness issues disappear).

Anyone else experience any mysterious "other" files taking up all their precious space? Any other/different solutions to my scorched earth approach? (Hey, I was a Windows user in a previous life, and re-install is etched into the final line of my trouble-shooting check list!)

Please let me know!

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 131 comments. Add yours.

satch3614 says:

I had the same problem with a jailbroken 1st gen iphone 8GB. This happened once I cancelled an iphone backup. The next time I plugged my iphone to sync with iTunes, it told me that the phone needed to be restored (previous saved settings). That took about 5 hours and then, I was stuck with this other crap. I had to restore to custom firmware and everything is great. I did have an issue with the battery icon showing full when in reality, I had about 20% left. I rebooted my phone and since, everything is peachy.

Brokoli says:

I had the same problem with my old 30gb ipod. the only solution is to restore it afaik..

Mike says:

I found this happen to me when deleting video files directly on the iphone. I have my itunes set to manually manage and I had season 1 of southpark on the phone. When I was finished watching I deleted the episodes from the Iphone; the next time I was in itunes with the phone connected I noticed other eating up space I also noticed in the television section the shows still listed and showing up in the phone with exclamations next to them. I highlighted and deleted them all from the phone in itunes and my space was reclaimed. This makes me leary about deleting anything directly on the phone.

owine says:

Debug logs from the 5A345 firmware.

Phil says:

I've had this happen twice with a 2g iPhone - Unplug it from a normal sync with all normal bars (music, video, other) with 800mbs remaining. I plug it back in and it just says "other" with an orange bar taking up all but 800mb. I unplug and see that my phone no longer recognizes any music or media (all other data like contacts and calendar are there, but no media). First time I re-synced and nothing happened (told me that I did not have enuff room to sync) - mind you, this all happened well before version 2.0. I gave up trying to make it work, so I did a full restore. Since it copied all anyway, it was fine after that.
Second time this happened was today. Although after showing me no more room and all orange "other", I deleted the music syncing and re-arranged the data. Since it deleted it off my iphone and reloaded, it was fine - no need to restore.
Both times it seemed to happen when syncing or other computer communication was happening when I disconnected or got a call....
hmmmm.

Joe says:

It's happen when the music index of iPhone/iPod is corrupted. All data are classified as 'other'. You have to erase all data (reset) and restore your device. This issue append when sync with PC/Mac is not correctly finished.

Leif Hansen says:

Oddly enough:
1. I discovered this right reading your article.
2. The amount it shows in orange/other is same amount -4.53
Seems like I cam get all core info to sync, but media and new apps now won't.
I also notice that my iphone screen that normally says Syncing, cancels --while iTunes itself continues to either say syncing, backing up, or stops both and the sync icon next to the iphone keeps spinning.
What a pain 2.0 is!

Alex Turi says:

I just had the exact same thing happen to me. All my music files, nearly 10GB of them turned into "Other" data. I also deleted videos directly off the iPhone and I also deleted them off itunes aswell before trying to resync it. If I try to restore it, will I lose all of my contacts, etc or does it get backed up and copy them back on?

Alex Turi says:

Well its fixed... a Restore does fix the problem without losing any contacts,etc... It was a 5 hour process though! As soon as i clicked restore, the "other" data just disappeared but i had to go through the whole back-up, restore, resync process because Apple doesnt give you an option to cancel anything once it has started! I Love how Apple's motto is it that "It Just Works..."! I have never in my life owned anything that worked as bad as this iPhone and I've only had it for a month! The thing will crash at least 3 times a week with "Apple Approved Apps". What a Joke!

Rodrigo says:

try to download "Swap tunes" from cydia. this would change your Itunes library back

Ben says:

This has happened to me 3 times now with a 3G 16gb iphone.
If you manually manage you songs you need to WIPE the iPhone & start again.
This is for a non-jailbroken iphone.
I am now having to do this... If it happens again I will have to jailbreak my iPhone :(

Josh says:

All my videos, music, and photos turned to "other" today. It happened after the pc asked what program to associate with the "camera" that was just attached. I chose Nikon 6 instead of Photoshop and things went crazy. Why does it ask to associate with a program like it's a camera? WHen I synched it was self-interupted then it said it couldn't sync because there wasn't enough free space. I did a full data and settings reset and I'm now waiting for it to finish.

JRuocco says:

Restore didnt work for me..i have followed all steps that you all have said.
3G
Not Jailbroken (unlocked legally)
iTunes v8.0
Thanks in Advnace

tejas says:

Delete 'system.log' file from var\log(I used DiskAid).If u deleted this file it will b created again by OS so dnt wry.alwys keep eye on dis file's size.

steve says:

I have a 9 gig of other, v2.1, iTunes 8
sync at night, get to work and all vid and audio gone. I believe 9gig is about how much music I had. It is possible a sync was interupted a few days back.
I am really hating this phone.

kalel says:

Hi, I've encountered this error just today.
The fix that i did was to remove all music/videos/application/podcast/photos on the iphone. After all files are removed, I ssh to iphone and access the ff directories:
/private/var/mobile/Applications
/private/var/mobile/Media/iTunesControl/Music
/private/var/mobile/Media/iTunes
Control/Ringtones
and remove all files inside them.
This is the command for removing all files on that directory:
rm -f -R *
be carefull with this command coz it will delete all files on the directory you're in, so be sure your path is correct.
After you remove all the files on the directories above, just resync it with your iTunes...
Hope this helps...

isama says:

tnx @ kalel, you've just saved my beloved iTouch!

Seanny says:

I used diskaid and went into the itunes control folder and into the sub folder for music and deleted all the music folders. I then turned of the music sync on itunes and synced the iphone to dump all the other album art etc.. Reboot phone using off and holding home button to reset. Restart phone and connect to itunes and sync all the music again, my other now has nothing in it and I have more space. I also noted that my photos had a few gigs being used when I knew for a fact that was not th case so I duimped the large 2 gig file of photos as well asn just resynced.

AndrewB says:

the same as Seanny, thank U!

Butcherk says:

Seanny, you're the man!!

GrahamMosher says:

you are honestly my hero Seanny, you saved me countless hours of backup restoring.
THANKS!! :]

katsumitsu says:

Seanny, what can I say besides that you're put my mind at ease.

Robin says:

Smooooth =)
my 15gb of "other" files are gone, all my contacts and messages are still here, and hopefully i can actually answer calls now.

AB says:

I had the same thing happen..just SSH'd into the phone and deleted the entire iTunes_control folder ..then when resyncing, set up as "new phone" and it kept my jb, and all my apps, and resycn'd my 6gbs of music flawlessly!

Aaron says:

Right on, thanks Seanny!

Mully says:

Seanny...you are a star...I absolutely go mental when my phone crashes or something odd happens (it has been hacked)... you saved me bro!

Wes says:

Seanny - great advice. Worked perfectly and saved the day!

John says:

Seanny, you saved the life of one i-phone that was so close to kissing a brick wall. Thanks.

jason says:

swaptunes from cydia worked great,didn;t wanna do a restore.

csmithi2 says:

Seanny, thank you from another satisfied customer. You saved me at 5 hours of work.

Serban says:

Definetely works! Thanks a lot!

jerbeem says:

+1 for saenny solution...thank you!!!

gosforth says:

I want to try Seanny's solution but I have a question - I'm sorry if I appear dense but I don't quite understand the part where he says to delete all the music folders.
Don't I then lose all my music in my iTunes? How would I get my gigs and gigs of music back???
And what/where is the iTunes "control" folder?
If anyone would be willing to break down the steps for his process into a simplified bullet point format I would be eternally grateful!

Rachael says:

If you are as lost as I am...don't worry...here it is
actually diskaid is a program that turn your iphone to a flash drive
http://www.digidna.net/diskaid/
after installing it
open it
at the bottom change the scroll thing to media folder...and you should see the ituen control folder
and wow all of my music that was unregconised on my iphone is there...even the video in the music folders
now you can delete them and restart or else...i don't know I'm trying it out too
good luck

Dada says:

Kalel, you saved me from another restore! SSH and delete the music files work great!
Thank you thank you!

gosforth says:

Rachael,
Thanks for the help - it worked like a dream!!
Here are the step-by-step instructions:

  1. Install diskaid and connect your iPhone (always good to back it up first)
  2. Change the view to media folder
  3. Go into the iTunes control folder then music
  4. Delete each of the subdirectories
  5. Go back into into iTunes and unselect "sync music"
  6. Sync your iPhone
  7. Unplug your iPhone and reboot it.
  8. Reconnect your iPhone and recheck "sync music"
  9. Apply the changes and voila!

The "other" category is eliminated right after iPhone reboot, so as soon as you reconnect your iPhone the "other" category will no longer be there. If you still see it you've done something wrong.
Thanks for the info - this whole process took me a total of 30 minutes rather than the countless hours doing a full restore! (and 90% of the time was the resync of the music!)

Tracy Hotchkiss says:

Thank you! this worked great! for the longest time I couldn't figure out why there was so much space taken up and I couldn't even watch a movie from the cloud. I had 11g of other space taken up. Thank you Seanny and gosforth!

Michael says:

Must thank Rachel and Gosforth...you saved me a restore. Thanks.

CGB says:

Another thank-you to Rachel, and to Gosforth for the step-by-step instructions. So, so much better than a restore! And a shout-out to the creators of diskaid for a very useful freeware program. Thank you to all of you!

chris says:

i did what rachel said to do and the 'other data' is now gone. however even after i sync my iphone with sync music selected is says all the music is on my iphone but it will not play. i even tried to manually manage my music but when i drag and dropped my music it would not copy. do i have to restore?

rmwb says:

I also had to unselect 'Sync' for podcasts, restart the iPhone and then reselect sync podcasts and apply, but it all seems good now... thanks everyone...
:)

Darren says:

I would also like to extend my thanks. I went to sync my Iphone only to find that 11GB was in other and nothing was in my ipod section, no playlists nothing. I followed the instructions and voila' it worked! Thanks again Rachael and Gosforth for the recommendation and the step-by-step instructions.

Edwin says:

Thank you guys so much. I must say that I wasted 2 days trying to manage files on iphone. I week it a week ago and after deleting files in laptop before deleting it from itunes the other category started growing after every attempt to fix it. I know for sure that iphone was not designed to listen to music as you cannot easily mange it, but at least browser works. Now I still cannot come with idea how to at least have some basic success in downloading music to ipod. How would you do it with playlists? I assume that you just take out sync to playlist and the whole playlist is gone. I must say that in my wildest dreams I did not expect that cool gadget like iphone is so crippled.
Now if you jailbreak the phone, can Apple brick it by some changes in Itunes? Does it make sense to wait till iphone 3.0 and jailbreak for that release?
Thanks in advance for suggestions. I am an expert in IT and Unix field and I never expected that small little iphone was close to winning the war with me. Thanks again for saving my day.
My next phone will be Android. Apple would need to create a miracle to change my opinion about those empty heads who only think about preventing access to device you bought.
Edwin

Mikee says:

I deleted all the 'FF' folders in the music folder and followed all the instructioons except restarting my phone. Is this step necessary? It did not put my music back on..

plema says:

sean was great thanks a lot man i had to giv a full support whatever u need, just a message away thanks alot man also to rachel tnx guys

Plema says:

OMG i thought i was done it perfectly i erase all subfolders in music in itines control, i restarted iphone but when i opened itunes my iphone doesnt appear in my itunes, i reinstall itunes restart pc but still cannot appear my iphone in itunes anybody can help pls

Mattttttttt says:
  1. Clear the artwork folder also!

This solved my problem.
Also, it doesn't look like the restart is necessary & it looks like you can delete the entire music & artwork folders instead of the individual subfolders. They will be recreated during the next sync.

John says:

Thanks here also, I solve the issue with Diskaid by removing all sub-folder inside iTunes control folder then restart the iPhone and sync everything back.

Shay says:

I'm using the latest iTunes 8.10.5.2 and DiskAid 2.52 and the above doesn't work. Does it have anything to do that my 'Other' is the bad syn results of Applications instead of Music (mp3)? anyone....?!

CanD says:

Hi friends ,
first of all i wanna thank to gosforth because hıs idea save my i phone :)) but at my cop. disk aid didnt worked. i write this comment for somebody who cant work disk aid. That time i use total commander for connecting iphone. here is the guide for connecting..
First get t-pot. The most recent version at the time of this writing is at: http://code.google.com/p/t-pot/downloads/list
Home page: http://code.google.com/p/t-pot/
t-pod is a plugin for an application called total commander.
Download and install Total Commander from: http://www.ghisler.com/download.htm
After Total Commander is installed, unzip t-pot to a folder. Run Total Commander and goto "Configuration/Options" in the file menu. Goto "Plugins" and then click the "WFX" menu button. "ADD" the t-pot's .wfx file that you unzipped. After adding it to Total Commander, close Total Commander, and load it again. T-pot should now be installed.
To use:
Connect the iPhone/iTouch via USB.
At the top of the two window panes is a drop down menu usually labeled [-c-]. Select Network Neighborhood [--] from it. Choose t-pot from the window pane. You should now be looking at the file system of your iPhone/iTouch. Now you can drag over files from the other window pane to it.
then further stages are same after connecting

Beanz says:

This issue came up when I was syncing my jailbroken 2.1 Iphone 3g with Itunes and i received a text message. I resolved it by using WinSCP and OpenSSH to browse the files on the phone. I simply deleted the remaining music files and problem solved. The database must of became corrupt when the file transfer was interrupted by the text ;). Google "OpenSSH WinSCP tutorial" and you should find some sites that will help!

Andy says:

I had a somewhat similiar problem. While I was using my iPhone, it froze, this had happened once before, so I did what I had done last time, press and hold the Home and hold buttons at the same time. Once the iPhone started back up, it was showing the globe and iTunes symbol with a USB cable connecting them, saying "connect to iTunes". After I connected my iPhone to iTunes I noticed that I no longer had music or videos on my iPhone, however the ammount of space that was being used before by the music and videos was then the same ammount being used by "other". "Other" was now 3.56GB. I clicked on the down arrow and checked to see if there were "!" symbol beside all of the music and videos, but the folders were blank. The refresh wiped all the music and videos off my iPhone. I still do not know where the 3.56GB of "other" came from. It appears that a restore is the only option. What happens after a restore? Do I still have all of my contacts, text messages, apps, or anything that I had before?

Chuck_You says:

I just cleared all the "other" data off of my iphone. I did a restore from itunes. After the restore, I had the option to restore from factory or restore from my backup files. I restored from my backup and after selecting my desired settings, I got all settings, apps, music, videos, ringtones, contacts, pics and calender events. Guess what I didn't get, the 3.45gb of other data.

Adaz says:

Neither of the previous solutions worked for me :(((
I tried deleting the folders mentioned, reboot, no-sync/resync, restore, etc...
My OTHER is 5.90 GB, and if I delete something it grows, if I copy something it decreases, so I think there are not lot of big files but a corrupted filesystem :( Is there an fsck (file system check) or similar for iPhone?

Adaz says:

I knew I won't restore and reinstall everything! I'm not that man!
I have found the 5.90 GB!
I use Finder on iPhone frequently for quickly delete files and set permissions. I just found that it uses a Trash folder, and there were some files there (approx. 2,2 GB), and when I deleted them permanently, the Other files in iTunes became 990 MB, and free space is 5.9 GB!

Di says:

i did what exactly what Seanny said but it showd 87mb in other and when i added more songs it went back to 500mb

problem maker says:

a very much thanks for seanny and gosforth.i got my precious 2gb back.thank you very much.........

TechMistress says:

I had over 8 GBs of "other" on my iPhone. I followed that step by step and it worked like a charm. I still have the notorious "other" but it is a much more reasonable under 1 GB amount. I appreciate the help.

lm says:

Thanks, gosforth! 22GB recovered!

costas says:

hi adaz igot finder but cant find the trash folder in it

Matt says:

Thanks All, Class Post!!!

Dane says:

I had the same problem but mine took up 7 gb of storage and I couldn't sync my movies or songs

Joel says:

Worked great, if a little nerve-wracking. You would think the iTunes sync software would help out with some of this stuff. Thanks all for the helpful instructions.

Matty says:

Seanny saved me! Thanks for the help diskaid worked like a champ!

Emily K says:

Seanny you are amazing!! I was on the phone with apple support last time this happened for 2 hours and they couldn't give me that answer...!!!

Steve-O says:

ok i did what goforth said and now my music wont play i have nooooooooooooooo other files now but no music will play. ive done everything i can think of. any help would rock. this is what i did to a T
Here are the step-by-step instructions:
1.Install diskaid and connect your iPhone (always good to back it up first)
2.Change the view to media folder
3.Go into the iTunes control folder then music
4.Delete each of the subdirectories
5.Go back into into iTunes and unselect “sync music”
6.Sync your iPhone
7.Unplug your iPhone and reboot it.
8.Reconnect your iPhone and recheck “sync music”
9.Apply the changes and voila!
email me at tryin2layadime at hotmail dot com. thanks

Don says:

Seanny, gosforth and Rachael,
Thanks! My iphone is now syncing. 2000+ songs to go, but the big orange bar is gone!

Traggr says:

HI,for those of you for whom these steps did not work. U can also try using Iphone Browser or Iphone Pc Suite.
navigate to the Media folder & see if any of those are containing any large thumbnail files. In my case in the photos folder in the iphone, there were hugesized .thm/.thb thumbnail files. Deleting them brought my 'other'down from 1.2Gb to 230Mb. I then resync'd the photos...

paddy says:

SEANY, ur a legend man! on my 8gig fone, 6.95GB was "other" files, done wat you said, and how rachel discribed, and WOOLLA! fantastic. must say tho, ever sinse ive had this "ibrick" had nothing but crap with it, im apple thru and thru, but iphones can go to hell!

AC says:

Ah... free disk-space. thanks so much!

thelawprofessor says:

For those of you using applications to transfer files using wifi, Apple admits there is no way to find and delete invisible files left orphaned on the iPhone. I have 2GB of files on there because of application crashes requiring reinstallation. After reinstallation the applications did not find the folders storing the files. Result - wipe your iPhone and painfully reinstall everything again. When the iPhone works, it's nice. But the iPhone OS and iTunes is possibly the worst OS and software every created for file management and data backup.

archsan says:

to thelawprofessor: "Apple admits there is no way to find and delete invisible files left orphaned on the iPhone."
I'm sure they wouldn't/couldn't tell you to do an SSH session?
my guess is that the app in the newer installation folder is not granted access to the previous installation folders, but the folders themselves are not necessary 'invisible' from a bit 'higher' point of view.
For easier life as an iphone user, i recommend spending a few bucks for an app like diskaid (tell us if there is a cheaper alt), if you don't want to JB it.
I have a JB'd iphone and i'm using SSH via USB cable with iphone tunnel suite.
IMO, Apple just wants to ease your life most of the time, and to do that, certainly they've chosen to make it difficult for you on (many) occassions...

Jeff Haynes says:

DiskAid DiskAid DiskAid!!
This did it for me. I unsynced my iPhone, ran this program, deleted all the unindexed music files, rebooted, resynced the phone.. and all my "other data" was removed and my space was reclaimed.

mothramothra says:

used swaptunes downloaded thru cydia on my jailbrokes iphone and then resynced and it restored my entire ruined (other) library

DW2 says:

I also had this "other" problem. It took about 7 GB off my 16 GB 3GS. I managed to get the "other" column to return to its normal state by syncing to iphone. While it was backing itself up before the actual syncing I pull the iphone USB out of the computer midway threw. Then I restarted itunes and plugged my phone back into the computer. this caused Itunes to verify or recheck the phone's data. When this happened it erased the unnecessary "other" data. So now I have my storage back. :-)

Otter says:

I don't do PayPal... so I only get the trial version of Diskaid? Where do I get the software to run SSH on this apple piece of Hoohoo?

NeoFryBoy says:

I had this problem on my ipod. 12GB of "other" files that couldn't be found. Turns out after sifting through the FXX folders in Ipod_control there were three mp3 files 4GB in size. Deleting these returned my "other" back to 300MB.

aopisa says:

Thanks DW2. I suddenly had 10Gb of other files that appeared after I moved my Itunes library to an external hard drive. Your method worked great and avoided all the deleting and resyncing with diskaid.

Oliver says:

Thanks a 1.000.000! the diskaid solution works for me!

anano says:

Well today I had the absolute join of watching my others files grown from just under 1gb to ver 17gb I ended up with a classic restore! May this be the first real iphone malware??

Luke says:

woke up monday morning to my alarm on my iphone but was unable to turn it off. the screen was frozen. Forced a reboot, during the reboot it hung, forced another reboot and got it to come up. to my surprise, all my calendar events were GONE! my emails were all jacked up, and i had a voicemail indication but it didn't show up in my voicemail list. found out today i had 7.7gigs of "other" files and my iphone was 100% full because of it. found these suggestions here but all i did was sync my iphone with the music unchecked(are you sure you want to remove music, yes) after it synced it freed up the 15gigs of music. i restarted the iphone normally(slide to power off) and when i powered it back on the 7 gigs of other files were gone as well. i did not get my calendar back but i got my voicemails. i haven't synced my music back yet.
but thanks for the suggestions, and glad to share my experience.

Juan carlos says:

Same here. I have a 16 gb jailbreaked iPhone but is full. The (other) files took 13.8 gb of my storage memory. I deleted all my music photos and still I only have one gb left. Any ideas on how to delete this files without restoring?

juan carlos says:

SOLUTION....STEP ONE..go to cydia
step two...download ifile. its free if you have xsellize repo if you dont have it then add it or just buy the app. open it, look for media/itunes/control and delete all your media which is music videos ringtones artwork and pictures by sliding your finger on each item to delete. after even when your media is not using all the other memory on your itunes it will fix the problem. BUT..BEFORE that make sure you back up your phone on itunes to save your pics and contacts. ok then turn you phone off then back on. open itunes it will ask if you want to set it up as new phone. just restore from back up to get you contacts back.. DONE DONE YOUR PHONE IS LIKE NEW AGAIN WITHOUT HAVING TO RESTORE..

Luke says:

Update on mine. about 3-4 hours later i plugged my iphone into itunes and my "other" category had grown to 3.4gigs. About 4 hours after that i plugged it in again and now it has grown to 9gigs! what the hell. i'll try some of the other solutions suggested above including diskaid.
thanks

Luke says:

well i apologize for so many updates but i found my culprit. my rockapp log which i noticed was dated today (located in /var/mobile/Library/RYP/logs) was 12gigs. i have both rock and cydia installed btw.

is250 says:

LUKE you are a F_N genius seconds later I got my memory free, mine used 22.21 gigs of space it WORKS thank you very much!! I deleted the logs file hope my rock still works? Either way I can delete and reinstall, I used both methods Sean and Luke I am running a 3GS old bootloader 32GB unlocked & JB snowbreeze on 3.1.3

dtaust says:

Seanny's post was on the spot for me.....after eliminating all other possibilities diskaid worked a treat, deleted all Music files, re-synced iphone with no Music, turned unit off and re-synced with Music selected, all fixed!

TLB says:

Kalel, for jailbroken users your answer is 100% right. Clearing those temp files worked like a charm.

Smaug says:

DW2 - I stand in awe of your brilliance. Had 4gb's of "Other" storage after a failed sync and ended up with no music. Resynced and got the music back but the disk space was still being taken by the Old music files. Decided to try DW2's trick of pulling the USB cable out after a few seconds of Syncing. Plugged the USB back in and it verified the disk and "voila" disk space was returned

gstriph says:

Somehow my 3GS jailbroken iphone had many gigs of "other" -- I can see the culprit -- many of my app folders are duplicated (like Navigon which is 1 gb by itself). Each folder has a long hex name but there are no dates on the folder -- I don't know which one is the trash folder making up other and which one is the currently used one. I could delete them both but I am concerned about some index being out of whack and bricking the phone. I also would prefer not to lose the saved data in many of the current apps. Will try DW2s technique but wonder if there is some way just to tell which folders are which?

adrian97c says:

/private/var/mobile/Applications
deleted everything in that folder using ifile, or whatever method you use to delete folders/files.
After 2 days of going nuts :) thx all

Trailhiker says:

DW2 has it right. Pull out the USB cable while backing up. Restart iTunes and then reconnect iPhone. After verification and sync 3GB --> 0,35 GB "Other" files!

Sniper says:

Thanks DW...that did the trick. "Other" went from 3.3GB to .72GB.

Joel says:

Thanks to #6 above, Chuck. I had 8.1 gigs of other on my iPhone 4. I did what Chuck said, now only less then 0.4 gigs of other, everything else synced back exactly the way it was prior, including the exact order with my apps.

Joel says:

28 above from DW2 is the best and quickest way to get rid of you Other problem on the iPhone. I just did it. It works, it is fast and you do not have to restore then re-load all you stuff on the iPhone. Thsnks DW2! You da man!

Wil says:

I pulled the cord and went from 2.1GB to .63GB. Thanks.

AJ says:

Guess what! My other was 7.5 freakin GB!!!!!!! I seriously was shocked as my iphone is 3gs running on 4.1 with 14gb memory.That takes up half of my memory!

Hunter says:

DW2 Rocks! I had almost 3 gigs of "other" taking up space. Your easy method works great! Thanks for saving my phone from a restore!

Praneeth says:

Hi,
I too have the same problem. But, restoring iphone is a very inelegant way to go around this problem. Could you please suggest any other solution. Also, my worry is that would the data esp. the to-dos and app related would be deleted.

Brie says:

@DW2: I tried the pulling the chord thing but the "other" files are still there. When do I pull the chord? when it says "backing up" or "starting sync"

CH says:

Er, perhaps I'm being naive here but isn't this an Apple-caused problem that deserves an Apple solution?

KA says:

I changed my mail settings from display 50 messages to display 25 messages, and my "other" space went from 2.5GB to 1.24 GB

TH says:

Iphone 3Gs Windows Vista ... i tried the diskAid method to the letter 4 times, it did not work for me. I deleted all my music from the iphone, which is ok i can just re-transfer it from my itunes. I found a few voice recordings and thumnails i thought i deleted, so that's cool. But it did not touch the "other" file. Does anyone know what the Artwork folder is? i have 7 files in that folder. like f30011, f30021 and so on ... it is no where near the size of the "other" folder but i was jusy curious. Any futher help would be .... well.... helpful.

TheiPhoneDoctor says:

I had this problem although it was much less serious.
My "other" files jumped from .5gb to 1.15gb in a single sync.
Here is where paying attention to what you sync to your device comes in handy.
I was syncing tv shows to my iPhone and iTunes did it's typical freeze and after almost an hour it finished syncing.
That is when I noticed that my "other" files doubled in size.
Understanding what “other” files is crucial to fixing this problem, especially when the space designated for them doubles in a sync.
Question: did you sync music or videos when the space doubled?
Question: was the sync process interrupted or did iTunes freeze?
Your problem is an “orphaned” file.
When iTunes gets interrupted the file that it is syncing during the interruption gets saved onto the iPhone but without the right designators to put it in the correct area so you can remove and sync it properly.
Here’s how to fix the “Other” files issue, step by step.
Step 1: No interruptions
Put your iPhone into Airplane mode. A simple phone call or text message while you’re syncing can disrupt the process and cause files to become “orphaned” and send them into the void known as “other”.
Step 2: Download Disk Aid.
Simple as that, download the appropriate version of DiskAid for your computer.
Here are the links to the website:
Step 3: Remove all media from your iPhone
In order to find the files that are taking up space you need to remove all media from your iPhone.
When you go to look in the file system using DiskAid, anything left over is what is causing problems.
Go into iTunes and uncheck the “Sync Music”, “Sync Photos”, “Sync Video”, and “Sync TV Shows”.
Then Sync your iPhone to remove the files.
Your “Other” files will remain the same, even though you have removed all media.
Step 4: The Search begins.
With your iPhone connected to your computer via USB, launch DiskAid.
Under the navigation panel on the left hand side of the window, click on “Places”.
Then, go to “Media Folder”.
In “Media Folder”, select, “iTunes Control”.
Now, select the “Music” folder.
Note: Music, Music Videos, Movies, and TV Shows are all saved in this directory.
Once you’ve selected the “Music” folder, a series of folders with the designation “Fxx” will appear.
Using your keyboard’s arrow keys and the middle navigation directory, move down one at a time to verify that the folders are empty.
If a folder has a file in it, delete it. Remember, you have already removed all media from your device.
Step 5: Restart iPhone
Now, once you have gone through all of the files and deleted the ones that are left over from the earlier sync, using iTunes, disconnect your iPhone.
Once disconnected, power it down and restart it.
Once restarted, re-connect it to iTunes and click on your iPhone in the left navigation plane.
Look under “other” files.
If done correctly, your “other” files should be around .30gb to .60gb.
Now you are free to simply re-sync your media, but I recommend taking time with this process.
Sync a movie at a time, a tv season at a time and so on and so forth.
Music you can do all at once, as well as photos.
Hope this works for you as well as it worked for me.

Nishant says:

Thanks Doc. its really working . . . .i got prize from ma fader as he bat me 2 remove oders frm his i-phone.................
sorry 4 ma english....

Arturo hernandez says:

I found where corrupt apps go, after finding out I had a chunk of 'other' in my iPod I looked and found that in mobile/media/AplicationArchive there were .zip files when the last sync there was not, I used iFile to delete the .zip files and BAM most of my other that were based on applications were gone. hooray

TH says:

NO method stated above worked for my NOT jailbroken iphone 3Gs. A nice clean restore is what i did. I took the time to write everything down before doing this (contacts, settings, email settings, notes, etc ....) took a while, but it was done and my "other" file went from 1.43 GB to .22 GB ..... nice!

Michael says:

Hi folks,
The same problem happened to me, and none of your tricks could help. What I did to solve the problem eventually was :
- Connect to the iPhone with WinSCP (you must have a jailborken iPhone with OpenSSH installed)
- Do a search on any media files like *.mp3 or *.avi , etc ...
- Delete all the files that appear to be in kind of temp directories
In my case, a few days ago, I had downloaded a .avi movie on my iPhone and had tried to read it with OPlayer app. I tried 5 or 6 times,but it failed everytime. As a result, I got 6 times the same 700M large .avi file in /private/var/spool/mdt directories.
Hope this helps,
Michael

gorkem says:

michael's solution works fine, my "other" files reduced to 0.7 gb from 5.2 gb

serhat says:

it WORKS!!! a lot of thanks for michael.. u save me a terrible trouble! .)

Spartak says:

VERY EASY SOLUTION
I had about 3gb free when I started syncing my jailbroken iphone 3gs using itunes 10. I had to interupt the sync bc I ran out of space on my netbook HD. Subsequently, I had none of the free space and about 3 gb of "other". In addition, I had a message pop up telling me the iphone was out of space and I need to delete files.
This is what worked for my jailbroken 3GS. I unclicked auto sync, then connected the iphone back to laptop and clicked transfer purchases. As I was watching, the other space was converted to free space. Very easy.

Tayyib Ahmed says:

MAAAAAAAN finally the diskaid thing worked :O been looking for this for the longest time! love you who ever thought of it

Ash says:

its not that mysterious, the "other" file is a saved backup copy of save files and in app purchases of all your previous apps. if u have a jailbroken iphone u can access it using iFile app and all those "other" file are located at /var/mobile/library/safeharbor. u could delete those file if u think u no longer need them.
another way to reduce these "other" file is to reinstall your previous app as this will take those backed up save files and in app purchases for your app from the safeharbor folder and put it in your apps folder thus reducing your "other" file sizes

Holybastard88 says:

i tried looking up at the safeharbor directory but the problem is there is no such directory on my phone. Any help?

guest says:

iphone 3g , i haved 4 gig of other on 8gig iphone,, i delete cuple of folders in /var/mobile/library/safeharbor with diskaid. now i have 0,4gig other :) nice!

Bcsemple says:

I downloaded diskaid but cannot find /var/mobile/library/safeharbor. Can you tell me where it is?

Bcsemple says:

I found solution and it workshttp://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/8456/how-to-clean-up-other-stor...
It totally cleared all the 'other' data which seems to be deleted music in memory.

Guest says:

I had a big instalation zip file in iphone folder (AplicationArchive). If I deleted it, everything was right. For windows user, use T-pot plugin for total commander. http://modmyi.com/forums/os-apps-development/24551-t-pot-plugin-total-co...

feeblepawn says:

I have about 9.x Gb of music on my iphone. After upgrading to ios 5 I had 9.x of other and no music. So I told itunes to not sync music, synced the phone and it started to add odd apps to the grey 12th screen. Deleted a couple of apps from this grey screen in the apps bit and suddenly all the oojah had gone. Could then sync more photos and music.

Xlucasss says:

I also have about 10 gigs of music on my iPhone 3Gs, and upon updating to OS 5, my iTunes showed there was no music, but 10 gigs of "Other" data on my phone. All I did was re-sync my iPhone, and the problem resolved itself.

Kyureusjorj says:

I had the same problem... and when i tried to re-sync my phone it froze in the sync step 6... i waited for like four hours... nothing, holding pattern. Cancelled, re-tried... like 5 times... I think i'm going to head to the scorched earth route... I have lost my customization for contacts, ringtones, apps don't work, and if they do they crash... not thrilled

Gowtham says:

Even after deleting files (unwanted) of your iPhone, present in,
/private/var/mobile/Media/iTunes_Control/Music
or
/private/var/spool/mdt
or
/private/var/.../.../safeharbor
(... dots are intermediate folders, I don remember the path)
via openSSH or DISKAID did not clear/delete/refresh your iPhone other memory, then one can possibly try this path too, go to
Root/private/var/mobile/library/applicationsupport 
Delete the folders in it. 
This folder is likely/surely will be filled with all video/audio files that is being played using VLC player. 
This happens when video/audio files in one app (not VLC) is played using VLC player through open with VLC player option.
I had 10.5 GB of other memory out of 14 GB. It was all Video/audio files that got stored in the path given above when I played them in VLC(video) & Media player(audio) from DOWNLOAD LITE  APP.  
After deleting all, you gotta do is just one sync of your phone with iTunes. 
Music box checked/unchecked does not matter. Just sync. You will get back your memory. I hope this helps. 
If not here too, then for sure files that's occupying the memory would be in  
Root/private/var/mobile/.... 
do a folder by folder search and remove the files when you find them.
I did it using DISKAID app Free version. This app is easy and is really cool.

Flabby says:

I only have 0.47 gigs of "other" space and i want to get rid of it because i am just afraid of it growing to the space that it does to everyone else here who left comments. What is an EASY way to get rid of this space?

building link says:

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Amin allahabi says:

I had my other space up to 7g and I got it down to 1.1g by doing this :
1-Installed diskaid -you can google it and download it.
2- i deleted syslog that was taking 6.6g of my space - under var/system/
3-power off
4- sync in iTunes
Hope this could help

MatthewJ says:

Well, first off, I don't have any music or videos on my phone, but I tried everything recommended here. Nothing worked. DiskAid proved to be no aid at all. Guess I'm stuck with restore.

Jungjustice says:

a massive 13gb of my 16gb in this iPhone are being taken up by "Other" I don't know what the heck.. but it's makin me crazy cuz I can't even take a picture or save anything unless I delete like 5 apps! I hate that I can't just throw another micro sd card in it like I could w my droid....