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Too Much Valuable Space Taken Up by “Other” Category? Here’s How to Fix That

If you’ve ever looked at your iOS device’s available storage space in iTunes, you’ve undoubtedly come across the perplexing, and often frustrating, “Other” category. While everything else on your device might be easy to account for—be it audio, photos, apps, and books—there’s that pesky category of “other” that a lot of people just don’t understand, including myself. The frustrating thing is that the size of my “other” category is oftentimes quite large, especially considering that I have a 16 GB iPhone 4.

Here’s an example of how my storage space from my iPhone:

That’s a 2.4 GBs of photos, videos, and apps that I CAN’T run on my phone, thanks to that dumb and confusing color yellow. Now, I try to keep at least 2 GBs of space free at all times, in case I’m in a situation that calls for a lot of photos or video; but “other” keeps making that difficult for me to do. So how do I go about getting rid of all that yellow taking up valuable space on my device?

I’ve discovered 3 ways.

Recalibrate “Other” Category

Probably the simplest and first thing you should try is to force iTunes to recalibrate your “other” category. You do this by launching iTunes with your device connected via the cable. If iTunes doesn’t automatically launch, that might be part of the problem. Follow these steps:

  1. Select your device in iTunes
  2. Click the summary tab
  3. Scroll down to your options section and click the box for “Open iTunes when this iPhone is connected.” (Even if the box is already checked, uncheck it, then check it again.)
  4. Resync your device

According to a number of forums I’ve read, this has worked for a lot of people, though I wasn’t one of them. “Other” was still laughing right in my face with its oversized sense of entitlement. If this doesn’t work for you either, you can try another option.

Recalibrate Your Device

Warning: Some readers have reported that their device got restored to factory setting during the recalibration process. It is best to backup your data before performing this step.

To begin, reconnect your device to iTunes with its USB cable once again, and then follow these steps:

  1. Hold down Home and Wake/Sleep buttons
  2. The screen will show the “Slide to power off” slider, but keep holding
  3. The screen will then go dark and the Apple logo will appear, keep holding
  4. A USB cable connecting to an iTunes logo screen will appear, this is good and you can now release
  5. Once the phone as turned back on, relaunch iTunes and sync again.

This should have the same effect as forcing iTunes to recalibrate the “other” category for you, and you should be good to go.

If NEITHER of these options did the job for you, there is one other solution, and it’s a lot simpler than it might look at first glance. I had to resort to this, and it did the trick perfectly.

iExplorer

iExplorer is a Mac and Windows app that enables you to see your device’s file structure when it’s connected to your computer with the cable. Download it for free, and then run the program while your device is connected.

All you have to do is expand the folders of your device in iExplorer and you’ll be given detailed listings of everything on your device, including the size of the files and a quick preview of whatever media might be on it. From there, it’s up to you what you erase, so take care and be sure of what it is you’re getting rid of. I found that what was taking up so much of my “other” category’s space was a very large archived cache of a game I had removed from my phone months ago. I deleted the file and was given back nearly 2 GBs of free space on my iPhone.

I would encourage you to make a backup of your device before doing anything with iExplorer, because if you delete a valuable file or media on accident, it’ll probably be gone for good.

Hopefully some of these tips will work for you if you’re running out of space on your device. If you know of any other tricks, let us know in the comments.

Leave a Comment

  • AP

    Is there any way to automatically expand all the folders or do you have to do every one individually?

  • http://www.facebook.com/eveliadesigns Evelia Sowash

    It was the iPhone4 blues. Thank you! I did all three steps and the last did it for me! Vast difference!

  • kill me

    i tried the first and it failed, so i tried the second and it actually added 1.4 GB of space on my phone um

  • iphoneuser

    When I did the second option, it forced me to reset my phone to factory settings… I had just backed it up so it shouldn’t be an issue putting my content back on the way it was, but it’s a real pain when you didn’t know that it was going to happen…

  • Makayla

    I did the second one and it cleared up over 1.5 gbs. At first I was surprised that it wanted me to restore my phone. I unplugged my phone while this was happening and held the power button until it turned back on. I plugged it back into itunes and the “other” had disappeared and I did not have to restore my phone! Great tips!

  • George

    I did the second step and my phone was restored and there was nothing I could do, I should have read more about this or backed up my phone, but you should put a warning on step 2 that if you hold down your sleep and home buttons until you see the plug into itunes, your phone is wiped

  • Upset Person

    I agree with George! You need a clear warning on Step 2! This isn’t a recalibrate, but it did a total refresh and I had to start over with my phone! I guess I should have read all the responses before following this post!

  • Dani J

    On the second option, you need to be sure that there is no passcode on your iPhone before you do this or iTunes will not allow you to sync.

  • Kendra

    if you restart your phone again you don’t have to restore it on step two.

  • Frustrated.

    Any tips on what to do if you can’t download iExplorer? My Macbook is old and doesn’t have the OS X 10.6 necessary.

  • pat

    do not do this. it resets your whole damn phone. terrible tip!

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