iPhone Storage Other is 47.16 GB

Today, I received a message that my iPhone SE, with 64 GB, storage is full. I am using iOS 13.2.

I removed podcasts that were supposedly using 11 GB of storage, and I still get the iPhone Storage is full message with red indicator in settings. Storage usage is still listed at 63.8 GB or 64 GB used. “Other” is using 47.16 GB.

I have tried deleting Safari data etc. without effect. I would appreciate any suggestions.

FWIW, I use iCloud backup for the iPhone with 85 GB free out of 200 GB. Photos are optimized, etc. I use Catalina 10.15.1, but the iPhone has never been connected to the Catalina machine.

That is strange. My SE has just 3GB of “other” storage.

It took my wife’s iPhone 8 to the Genius Bar the other day and they did an “update” restart using the volume buttons before restarting to prepare it for testing. This leaves all personal data intact (but always backup to iTunes first). The instructions are here:

(note that her phone did not have the listed error messages but it seems to be good practice)
However I cannot find the equivalent instructions for the iPhone SE as I thought it might help you.
The other option is to delete apps one by one, including their data, to see if it makes a big difference to storage.

‘Other’ includes mail and attachments, iMessages and attachments, Safari Reading List, and caches that sometimes don’t get cleared properly, including things like streamed video. iMore has an article with ways to clear it out:


I appreciate the responses. I slugs through some of them starting at the top to no benefit.

I contacted Apple. Through chat the first level was of no help. On his own he escalated the case. That person I suppose helped me but it involved reset of the iPhone hooking up to a computer, etc. I’m still waiting for applications to download onto the iPhone.

Other storage is less than 4 GB at this time. Shrug. Not a very Apple friendly experience.

I will add to that that this growing tendency by support to simply suggest users nuke their entire device, install from scratch, and (maybe) play back settings/docs from backups is not at all user friendly either. It’s a huge waste of time, not to mention effort. If this were just a toy then that might be fine. But with half our lives on these devices (incl. work), removing ages worth of settings or saved info is just not an acceptable option. If such a nuke-and-reinstall path is the only viable solution, then I’d say the product (not an alpha release for devs, an actual selling product) is in an unacceptable state to begin with.

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Amen. And in my experience, even after a nuke and rebuild of my iPhone, the “Genius” had no solution to the problems I was, and still intermittently have, with Mail taking forever to download. His suggestion was to “use Gmail.”

I’m not terribly concerned with nuke and pave, as long as the restoration gets you back to where you started. At this point, I strongly suspect that these systems have become so complex, and the access to them so locked down for security reasons, that nuke and pave will increasingly be the only recourse.

So make those backups, folks!

Backups are always a good idea. But in these scenarios it’s moot. iOS backups have become corrupted which prevented proper playback. Unlike on macOS, there is basically only one backup route so if that’s lost you’re SOL.

Also, often support will suggest nuking an entire set of prefs and explicitly advise not to restore from backup. So for example, people are being asked to delete the history of their known networks to fix connectivity problems. Obviously, if you’d just play those settings back from backup you could get into the same trouble, so often the suggestion will be nuke and start over from scratch. That would be fine if this were a simple toy and there would be only little actual information lost. But this is a serious tool for many users and it’s quite unacceptable to lose hundreds of connection details just because one is corrupted and Apple has not foreseen a method by which to find and eliminate it alone. (They have this on the Mac so obviously they can do it if they want.)

I do agree with you about the complexity. I’m quite certain many of these issues stem from poor code quality that results from overbearing complexity coupled with a lack of time/focus. But only Apple can fix that. Maybe it’s time for them to nuke and start over? Just like OS X had to come in to replace MacOS. Too drastic maybe? Maybe they just need to slow down the feature bloat & release fever and instead focus on getting all the existing stuff to actually work stable. Make things more robust, facilitate troubleshooting and fixes. Weed out bloat, reduce complexity. We’ve touched on that in many discussions here lately.

Well, two: iCloud and iTunes/Finder (I assume; I haven’t tried to connect an iOS device to my Catalina test Mac).

That’s a fine troubleshooting technique since it does help isolate settings as a potential cause for problems, and you can always test without restoring the backup, and later reset again and restore from the backup then.

I think David Shayer said it best in “Six Reasons Why iOS 13 and Catalina Are So Buggy,”

Apple could address this scheduling problem by not packing so many features into each release, but that’s just not the company culture.

Perhaps we’ll see a return to the tick/tock releases where tock focuses on refinement and performance over new features, but I’m not holding my breath.

No, that’s exactly the point. Those are stored on two different mediums, but it’s the same backup. It’s not even close to something like TM backup vs. SD clone. With iOS backups the thing that corrupts one will corrupt the other. I’ve experienced that entire hassle first hand. There’s no sugar coating it, really.

What struck me about the whole process of the nuke and start over is that the process was clunky as all get out. It was not intuitive. It felt like an afterthought. It’s like no one expected this to happen.

I was literally stuck in a cycle where I could not do anything to extricate myself except go nuclear. I had tech-support wanting me to send a screenshot of my machine but I could not take a screenshot on the iPhone, as I had not enough space. I ended up using photo booth on my Mac to take a picture of my iPhone screen. It was ridiculous.

Hmm… It is true that only Apple provides a backup mechanism (well, apart from some of the utility software like iMazing and iPhone Backup Extractor), and I certainly have no knowledge about whether those are the same thing on different mediums or not (I doubt anyone outside Apple knows that).

I have had situations where restoring from an iTunes backup failed where restoring from an iCloud backup worked. And more recently, I’ve become unable to back up to iTunes because it claims my Mac doesn’t have enough free space. This was with a 256 GB iPhone X with about 80 GB used, backing up to a Mac that 140 GB free. That’s problematic, but since I’ve come to trust iCloud more than iTunes, it only really irks me when I want to do something major, like a nuke and pave, where a second backup would be welcome.

Well, it is the last-ditch effort, so one would hope it wasn’t expected to be common. But how did you find it to be that clunky, assuming you could restore from you good backup?

My wife and son just swapped phones (@simon, you’ll love this—it was because the iPhone X was too big for Tonya, so she gave it to Tristan and took his iPhone 7) so both of them did exactly this: Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings, wait a little, and then set up the phone again, restoring from backup after the Hello screen. It wasn’t quick, but both managed it in an evening while we were making and eating dinner. The main downside is that I believe (but haven’t tracked down explicitly) that some settings and logins are still lost when you do this.

I’ve had great ‘luck’ with iCloud backups. I have an original big iPad Pro from four years ago and got another a year ago. Loaded from the backup of the original iPad Pro and when done was like an exact clone of the first. I’ve done the same in years past with upgrading from one iPhone to the next. Last time was from a 4s to SE and result was great.

Agreed. I learned about this ugly design a few years ago and came across this MacObserver chat about it. Even though it is a few years old I never thought much had changed with respect to this and your post seems to confirm that.

If you want to listen you can go here:


and begin at the 22:40 mark. The show can be downloaded in its entirety.

Dave Hamilton outlines it very well imho. gastropod gave some detail in a post along with some helpful information and a link to an iMore article but as Dave states, most of the solutions many of us find never seem to fully resolve the bloated “Other” categroy except by the nuke and pave method.

Personally I have sent a few emails to Apple with respect to this but I suspect it is futile, especially given how the size of iDevice storage has grown dramatically. iDevice owners might have a severely bloated “Other” category and not realize it. Certainly they won’t until, like you, they get the dreaded “no space” alert on their device.

This problem with “Other Data” was a bane of my existence a few years ago (iPhone 6s and several versions of iOS), and re-occurred about every Nth time I synced (N being me in a hurry usually, or preparing for a trip). The OS would seemingly lose track of data it already synced and mark it all as “Other Data”, and then not be able to sync because there wasn’t room.

Nuking the phone and starting over was the only reliable cure, however, sometimes using a 3rd party tool (like iMazing perhaps? or iExplorer? I don’t recall exactly) to open the phone and delete a song or two or an image or two would enable the OS to realize the “Other Data” was in fact known data, and the process of syncing would go successfully.

The problem went away permanently when I upgraded to a new phone.