How I Would Fix iTunes, Part 7: Other Storage

(This is one of a series of articles looking at elements of iTunes that I think need fixing. I’ll choose one element for each article, and offer a solution. See all articles in this series. If you have any particular gripes about what needs to be fixed in iTunes, drop me a line.)

“Other” storage on iOS devices is a constant headache. It can take up several gigabytes, and even fill up the empty space on your device.

Other storage

Some of it is legitimate; Apple says that it is “Settings, Siri voices, and other system data,” but that’s not the whole story. Anyone who has problems syncing has seen this yellow section of the capacity bar expand to surprising sizes at times. In some cases, when a sync fails, all the music on a device shows up as Other, or the Other fills the capacity bar.

Ios device over capacity

There’s a lot of stuff that’s considered to be Other, much more than what Apple claims. Other includes cache files for apps, system cache files, and many other items. And there’s no way to delete it, other than restoring your device.

iTunes and iOS need to work together on this. First, there needs to be a system-wide feature to delete files cached by apps. If you look at your app usage (Settings > General > Usage > Manage Storage), you’ll see that some apps – when you tap them – show a size for the app, plus Documents & Data. In some cases, that data is essential, but many apps cache files, taking up lots of space.

Second, there needs to be a way to purge this Other space when it is made up of orphaned files, which is what happens when syncs go bad. Requiring users to restore their devices each time there’s a problem is ridiculous.

You’ll read many suggestions of how to remove this Other storage on the web. Some of them may help – for example, deleting photos in Messages threads can save space – but most are simply wrong, because the Other balloons again shortly after you do whatever magical remedy is suggested.

Apple needs to fix this. It is annoying, it takes up a lot of precious space, and it forces people to restore their devices, something that takes a long time, and should only be the remedy of last resort.

10 thoughts on “How I Would Fix iTunes, Part 7: Other Storage

  1. I definitely agree. I have been having this problem since last year in the fall of 2014. It is very frustrating and time consuming searching the web to find a fix when in reality there is no fix at all. Only temporary fixes. As of now, I do not want to sync anything else until apple find a solution. For now, I am using Pandora to listen to music and my Samsung phone.

  2. I definitely agree. I have been having this problem since last year in the fall of 2014. It is very frustrating and time consuming searching the web to find a fix when in reality there is no fix at all. Only temporary fixes. As of now, I do not want to sync anything else until apple find a solution. For now, I am using Pandora to listen to music and my Samsung phone.

  3. I agree. Another aspect of the “Other” curse, is that restoring your device doesn’t restore a growing quantity of your settings and customizations. When I restore my device, I lose my pass phrase, my ringtones, my playlists and music that wasn’t purchased from the iTunes Store, and several other settings. Not only does it take time to restore all my settings after the Apple restore, but I don’t know of a list of everything that I need to fix. I’ve noted some of them, and remember others, but it takes me a few days to run across and reset all the things that I lose after a restore.

    • I always do a backup before restoring and all my settings seems to come back. I do not have any ringtones, pass phrase or playlists. I am using a ipod touch (64GB) 5th generation.

  4. I agree. Another aspect of the “Other” curse, is that restoring your device doesn’t restore a growing quantity of your settings and customizations. When I restore my device, I lose my pass phrase, my ringtones, my playlists and music that wasn’t purchased from the iTunes Store, and several other settings. Not only does it take time to restore all my settings after the Apple restore, but I don’t know of a list of everything that I need to fix. I’ve noted some of them, and remember others, but it takes me a few days to run across and reset all the things that I lose after a restore.

    • I always do a backup before restoring and all my settings seems to come back. I do not have any ringtones, pass phrase or playlists. I am using a ipod touch (64GB) 5th generation.

  5. “Other” is a constantly reliable generator of frustration, resentment and hopelessness. I hate even the idea of stray or unnamed files and “Other” is where they all collect with no rhyme, reason or resolution. “Other” never sleeps.

  6. “Other” is a constantly reliable generator of frustration, resentment and hopelessness. I hate even the idea of stray or unnamed files and “Other” is where they all collect with no rhyme, reason or resolution. “Other” never sleeps.

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