Streaming iTunes videos eating up storage on your iPhone or iPad? Here's the fix!

However, for a small number of people, iTunes file caching seems to be eating up more space on their devices. This happens when iTunes doesn't properly delete the cached files once you're done streaming a video. This can result in your "Other" storage growing to a tremendous size, and the dreaded "out of storage" message popping up on your iPhone or iPad. This is exactly the issue our reader John is having:

If I stream a movie, it seems to buffer the whole movie, and it never lets it go. I will find that "Videos" is using many, many gigs of storage, even if I have nothing downloaded. How can I fix this?

If you're having the same issue John is, follow along for some tips on how to free up your storage and get Videos working properly again!

Make sure you're using the latest version of iOS

Apple has provided fixes for this issue at least twice in the recent past, once with iOS 7.1 and again with iOS 8.1.3. Both those fixes helped some people, and if you haven't updated yet, they could help you as well. If you aren't sure how to check for and install iOS updates on your iPhone or iPad, you can follow our guide:

Sign out of and back into iTunes

If you're already on the most current version of iOS and are still having the issue, signing out of iTunes and then signing back in can fix the problem.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on iTunes & App Store.
  3. Tap on your Apple ID at the very top.
  4. Tap on Sign Out in the popup menu.
  5. Reboot your iPhone or iPad and sign back in.

Streaming iTunes videos eating up storage on your iPhone or iPad? Here's the fix!

Since cached files are associated with your iTunes account, this should flush them. You can verify by going into Settings > General > Usage > About and seeing if your storage has freed up some. If it hasn't, continue on.

Restore your iPhone or iPad

Restoring is always a last result but if none of the steps above have resulted in your video cache being cleared, it may be time to completely restore your device. You can do this with iTunes or iCloud. Just backup and restore, and the cached video files should be gone.

What worked for you?

If you were having the same issue John was, what solution worked for you, if any? Be sure to let me know in the comments. And as always, if you found another solution to this problem that we missed, let me know that too!

Allyson Kazmucha

iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.

  • Ally, I've had this problem since ios7 and save for a total restore (which I dread) none of these tips have worked for me. My only resort is to use iBrowse, a Mac utility. I plug in and delete the CloudAssets shown in the file list. I hope Apple can get a handle on this problem. I have this issue on our family's phones and iPad.
  • If this is the only method that works for you, make sure you don't update to iOS 8.3, as that removes the ability to use file browsers with iOS devices. You probably already knew that, but you never know :)
  • Hi thanks for the reply. I saw that same notice about file browsers being blocked in 8.3. I fired up iBrowse and there was an update saying it was to "support 8.3" I ran it and plugged in and it still works great on all devices with 8.3. Go figure. Some black magic I guess. Haha.
  • This is not a fix. These are the same steps imore posts every time any apple feature doesn't work as advertised. Why is that any feature that doesn't work on an apple product requires restoring the whole stinking device? That is a nuclear option and by no means a fix, especially when the company places such a premium price on their product and says "it just works." Sent from the iMore App
  • What I've done in the past and the only way I have found to work is by going into your iOS settings, videos and where it says show all videos... Turn it off. Then go into your Videos app. It'll (should) show you what's been downloaded either manually(by you) or cache(assuming-with cloud icon next to it). Simply swipe left to delete. If you can't delete it(sometimes you can't if it is a cache file), you have to click the cloud icon next to it to download before you can delete. Just to clarify, deleting this files only deletes them from your iOS devices and not from iCloud. Check back your iOS settings and see if that frees up your usage. Remember to turn Show all videos back on when done. Hope this helps anyone.
  • Yes, this is how I've gotten around the problem before, which is why I brought it to Ally hoping for a better solution. I could only get rid of the cached video data by downloading the video I had streamed, then deleting that video. You temporarily need twice the storage to pull this off. You have one episode of a show at 1.4 GB cached, so you'll need to download another 1.4 GB before you can delete all 2.8 GB. Kinda makes streaming worthless. So many times I tap on an episode description only to have it start playing and I have to "oh crap" stop it right away before it starts caching.
  • This was extremely helpful and fixed my problem right away. The iPad Settings calculated that there was less than 1 gb of space free on the device, but when I hooked it up to the computer, iTunes indicated that I had more than 17 gigs available on the device. The space disparity was resolved after I signed out of iTunes on my iPad and rebooted the device. I've been looking for a fix for this issue, on and off for several weeks. I kept running into dead ends. I was able to avoid reinstalling my iPad from a back up. Thank you!
  • Many thanks Ally for this simple and effective tip - cleared out a good 10GB of lost space on my iPad pro - gracias!