‘Other’ Dark Matter

John Moltz, back in August:

My wife’s iPhone 5 has been complaining about space for months. To date she’d just keep reducing the amount of music she was keeping on it in order to install new apps. Finally I took a look at it yesterday. She only had two and a half pages of apps no videos and just 2 GB of music. Even on a 16 GB phone that shouldn’t fill it up.

Plugging it into her MacBook, I could see the “Other” part of the usage bar was huge, at least 2/3 of the bar if not half. So I suggested restoring it. I restored the phone to a base iOS 7.1.2 install and then restored the most recent backup in iTunes (yes, I back up to iTunes because I’m old school). If you’re going to try this, remember to select to encrypt the backup (and that you have a backup after doing that), that way you won’t have to enter all your passwords again.

I didn’t take notes of the sizes before restoring because I’m an idiot, but I can tell you she got back somewhere between 6 and 7 GB of space.

A bunch of the emails I’ve gotten today from readers who’ve struggled with the iOS 8 OTA update requiring more free storage space have mentioned this factor — “Other” consuming several gigabytes of space that gets freed up if you do a full restore. Not sure what’s going on there, but it seems like something Apple should look at.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014