MacMost Now 858: Managing Storage On iOS Devices

Learn how to tell which apps are using the most space on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. You can use the Settings app to list all of your apps by the amount of storage space they are using. You can delete apps, clear their storage areas and sometimes manage the files they keep. With other apps you will need to use the app itself to manage its files.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 858: Managing Storage On iOS Devices.

Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's look at managing storage on your iOS devices.

Now if I sync my iOS device with my Mac or PC in iTunes, I can see it here on the left and I can select it, then along the bottom I get this bar here that tells me all the different things that are on it. I can kind of get a general idea of this much used by Apps, by photos, by video and audio there. There is always this big Other thing here which is something you really can't micro manage at the iTunes level.

Under Apps I can also see the apps here I've got and the sizes. Then I can also scroll to the bottom and see only the apps that actually have documents that can transfer back and forth with iTunes. So it is not all apps but I can click on some and then get some information here about say the files that are on there.

Then I can go into Music and Movies and TV Shows and Podcasts and kind of manage what is on my iOS device that way.

So you can do a lot more on your iOS device. I'm going to use the iPhone here as an example but it works on the iPad too. I'm going to go into the Settings app. Under there go to General and then Usage.

Under Usage I can see here the storage used by each app. So this pretty much represents that "Other" section that we saw in iTunes. It sorts it in order here. So I can see that I'm using the most space on the iPhone here with Audible, with a bunch of audiobooks there. The second most are Photos & Camera.

So what exactly is being used by each one. Well you can actually select each one and it will show you. Now for most of them you are going to get simply Documents & Data. Most third party apps are just going to have everything basically lumped under that one category. There is nothing you can really do except delete the app right then and there.

But other apps, particularly the Apple ones, will have more information. For instance under Photos & Camera it actually breaks it up into three sections; Camera Roll, Photo Library, which are photos synced from the Mac, and Photo Stream. You saw there are really no options there, but other ones will have options.

For instance if we go to Podcasts we actually see everything per Podcast basis and I can hit the Edit button there and actually select something and delete it. So I can do that even though I am not running the Podcast app right now. I can delete it right from this section here.

Usually only the top ones are shown. I have to tap Show All Apps and I can see more. I can see videos. For instance I have the same editing ability here. Under iBooks though it is only Documents & Data there.

So it really depends on the specific app and you can kind of browse through it and see what it is that you've got and see if there is anything worth deleting.

Now in a lot of cases you are thinking like in Twitter there's no files. You are not saving any files or creating things like you would say in Pages and Numbers or using photos. But there is still settings, there is still caches, there is still things it remembers, so it will put that under Documents & Data.

In general you don't want to delete anything unless you know what is there. For instance settings and things might go away for an app if you just go ahead and just delete it.

If you look through them sometimes you find some interesting things. For instance Safari doesn't say Documents & Data but it tells you what it has stored in its Offline Reading List. You can edit and basically remove everything in the Offline Reading List right through here.

So if you see an app that just says Documents & Data and it's taking up a lot of space and there is no option to edit what is in there then you have to go to the App to actually manage what is there.

For instance in Audible I would just go in and see which books I have downloaded to my iPhone and if I've already finished with a book I can remove it from within Audible. If I'm looking at Pages I can see which documents I've got there and I can delete some of those documents. So for all the apps that don't have direct controls there usually you have control inside the app and how you do it depends on what the app is and how the app works.

At least by using this Usage list here you can see which apps are using up the most space and then you can go into them and fix the problem. For instance you may have downloaded a few audiobooks and forgotten that they are there and then wonder why your space is being taken up by a lot of Documents & Data and this will help you identify the problem. Then you can go into Audible and remove some of them. The same thing with photos, the same thing with other graphics program. You may play around with a graphics program or music program and fill up a lot of space with it and then forget to remove those documents you no longer need.

So I hope you found this useful. Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 4 Responses to “MacMost Now 858: Managing Storage On iOS Devices”

    6 years ago

    Useful stuff that is difficult to find elsewhere.

    Andy Clark
    6 years ago

    Hi Gary – just wanted to say how informative and useful I find The MacMost Newsletters and videos. I work as a Mac Specialist for an Apple Retail store in the United Kingdom. I just wanted to let you know that the information, tips and technical knowledge that you share is invaluable. I always look forward to receiving the MacMost Newsletter and following the links to your videos. Keep up the good work!

    Andy Clark
    6 years ago

    Great video. Learnt some useful information about where to find extra information about individual apps and how much storage they are consuming and how to manage that data.

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