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!