The 'Other' category in iPhone and iPad's storage doesn't have to take up so much space.

The "Other" category on your iPhone and iPad is basically where all of your caches, settings preferences, saved messages, voice memos, and… well, other data is stored. There is no simple way to identify and remove data in the Other storage category. With a bit of patience, you can reduce the amount of space it takes up on your iPhone or iPad. Follow the steps below to get started.

How to check your iPhone or iPad's storage space

You can quickly see what apps are taking up space on your iPhone or iPad by checking out the Usage folder in the Settings app.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap General.

    Opening the Settings app on iPhone

  3. Tap Storage & iCloud Usage.
  4. Tap Manage Storage.

    Checking storage on iPhone

You will see, listed by size, what apps you have on your iPhone or iPad. The larger apps may be the culprit for storing a lot of Other data.

How to check your iPhone or iPad's storage space using iTunes

When connected to iTunes, you can see a graph of your iPhone or iPad's storage categories in the device Summary section. This is where you will distinctly see how much space the Other category is using.

  1. Connect your iPhone to your computer.
  2. Open iTunes if it does not open automatically.
  3. Click on the device icon in the upper left corner of the screen.

    Selecting a device in iTunes

  4. Click on Summary in the menu on the left side of the iTunes window.

    Device summary in iTunes

  5. Hover your mouse over the Other section at the bottom of the iTunes window to see how much space the category is using.

    Checking the Other iPhone storage in iTunes

How to clear Safari caches and the offline Reading List

Some culprits that takes up Other space on your iPhone and iPad are history and website data in Safari. These are useful for accessing websites quickly, but are not a necessity.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and tap Safari.
  3. Scroll down and tap Clear History and Website Data.

    Clearing Safari browser history and website data

  4. When prompted, tap Clear History and Data.
  5. Tap < Settings in the upper left corner of the screen.
  6. Scroll up and tap General.
  7. Tap Storage & iCloud Usage.

    Opening the storage section on iPhone

  8. Tap Manage Storage.
  9. Scroll down and tap Safari.
  10. Tap Edit in the upper right corner of the screen.

    Managing storage on iPhone

  11. Tap the red Remove icon to the left of the Offline Reading List.
  12. Tap Delete to the right of the Offline Reading List.

    Deleting the Safari offline Reading List

When you go back to your storage list, you will note that Safari no longer shows any data.

How to delete Mail caches

When you use the Mail app, a cache of all the documents, pictures, and videos you have viewed on your iPhone or iPad are stored on your device. This makes reloading them faster the second time around. But, you don't necessarily want to reopen that kitty GIF that your coworker sent you two years ago. So, you can remove the caches by deleting and reentering your email account information.

It should go without saying that you will need to know your email login and password information before following the steps below (I'm looking at you, Mom).

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and tap Mail, Contacts, Calendars.
  3. Select the account you want to clear the cache from. It might be a good idea to do this will all accounts you have on your iPhone or iPad.

    Opening the Mail settings on iPhone

  4. Tap Delete Account.
  5. Repeat the process with all email accounts you wish to remove the caches for.
  6. Under Mail, Contacts, and Calendars, tap Add Account.

    Deleting email accounts on iPhone

  7. Select the account type you wish to add.
  8. Enter your login information.

    Signing back into email accounts on iPhone

How to delete iMessage caches

Similar to emails, all of the pictures and videos you receive through MMS are stored in the Other category in your storage. You can delete entire conversations, set messages to delete after a certain period of time, or delete individual images and attachments. We have a full guide for deleting iMessages and attachments.

How to restore your iPhone or iPad from a backup

If you are experiencing a serious issue with an excessive amount of Other storage, you may have some corrupted data on your iPhone or iPad that needs to be removed. The best way to do this is to restore your device from a backup.

  1. You must first disable Find My iPhone before restoring your device from a backup.

    1. Open the Settings app.
    2. Tap iCloud.

      Opening iCloud on iPhone

    3. Scroll down and tap Find My iPhone to toggle it off.
    4. Enter the password associated with your Apple ID.
    5. Tap Turn Off.

      Disabling Find My iPhone

  2. After disabling Find My iPhone, connect your iPhone to your computer.
  3. Open iTunes if it does not open automatically.
  4. Click on the device icon in the upper left corner of the screen.

    Selecting a device in iTunes

  5. Click on Summary in the menu on the left side of the iTunes window.

    Device summary in iTunes

  6. Click on Back Up Now if your device does not backup automatically.

    Backing up your device in iTunes

  7. When the backup is finished, click on Restore Backup.

    Restoring from backup in iTunes

  8. Select the backup for your device.
  9. Click Restore.

    Choosing which device to backup in iTunes

The backup should take about 10 minutes. When complete, any corrupted data should be removed from your device.

Questions about Other storage?

If you've got other questions about clearing your Other storage, or you have some best practices of your own, let us know in the comments!