How to erase system data or other memory on iPhone

Since there is no option to expand storage, iPhone users are no strangers to storage space exhaustion. At some point, your phone becomes full of files and you have to delete some files to create more free space.

This is the usefulness of the mysterious “System Data” or “Other” folder. It doesn’t contain apps, media, photos, or information because your iPhone clearly says which folders contain these types of files and how much space they take up. So why does “system data” take up so much space and how do you clean it up?

What is system data in iPhone storage?

Basically, the system data categories on your iPhone or iPad are your caches, settings, saved messages, voice memos, and… Well, any other miscellaneous data storage. In previous versions of iOS, Apple referred to it as another store. These files are usually too small to have separate categories, so your iPhone or iPad will group them all into system data or other folders.

Renaming “Other” to “System Data” is more appropriate and less mysterious since users can have an obvious idea of what’s in the folder. Still, since many files are grouped together, there is no easy way to identify and delete the contents of that folder.

But don’t worry, difficult doesn’t mean impossible. We will show you some tips for dealing with this problem.

Before we begin, let’s take a brief look at how to view your iPhone storage space to see if system data is taking up too much space.

How to view your iPhone system data storage

To see how much space your apps and other data are taking up on your iPhone, go to settings > Universal > iPhone Storage.

A bar chart at the top shows the storage space for the entire iPhone, including which data sets are taking up it. Below this, you’ll see a list of phone apps, and the space they take up, including the apps themselves and the data they save.




Since it takes time to scan and analyze your iPhone’s storage space, it may take a few seconds for the bar to appear. Even after it appears, you should wait a few seconds to refresh it, as the app list and storage size will adjust as your phone finishes analyzing.

To see how much storage space your system data is using, scroll all the way to the bottom of the app list. You’ll see the space occupied by that category on the right side of the screen. System data is preferably in the range of 5GB to 10GB, but if it exceeds 10GB, it is most likely already out of control and you need to do some cleanup.



How to clear system data storage on iPhone or iPad

We have determined that you may not be able to completely erase the system data folder on your iPhone. There’s nothing to worry about. In fact, it’s even better to do so – the folder contains useful data that can improve your iOS experience.

For example, if you download more sounds for Siri, they will be saved in the System Data section.

But there are still some ways to clear unnecessary contents from the iPhone system data folder.

1. Clear your Safari browser cache

Safari cache is one of the biggest culprits that cause system data storage to get out of control. Safari saves browsing history and website data to help you load websites quickly. However, Safari’s caches aren’t a necessity, and if they take up your iPhone storage space, you may have to clear them to make room for more important items.

To clear your Safari browser cache:

1.  Tap Settings > regular > iPhone storage.

2.  Scroll down the list of apps and tap safari.

3.  Click Website Data.

4.  Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Delete all site data.

2. Reduce your use of streaming if you can

The sheer volume of music and video streaming is another potential reason why your iPhone’s system data storage gets out of control. To be clear, this is not the same as downloading.

When you download video or audio from the iTunes store, TV app, or music app, it’s classified as media. Streaming media, on the other hand, uses caching to ensure seamless playback, and these are classified as system data.

So, while you try to free up some space on your iPhone or iPad, hold off on streaming, or reduce how much streaming content you consume. You can live off of downloads in the meantime.

You can also try to clear the app cache from your iPhone storage. Lock down specific media apps that you use to stream online content, such as YouTube, Apple Music (or other music apps), Netflix, or Podcasts. Then clear the data for these apps in your storage settings.

3. Delete old iMessage and mail data

If you’re a texting person, the Messages app may fill your storage space with a lot of data. You may want to change your Messages settings to save less old information.

The default setting for Messages is to save information permanently, but you can change it to 1 year or even 30 days to minimize the amount of cached data in the Messages app.

To do this, open Settings and tap on the Info app from the Default apps section. Scroll down to the Info History section and click Keep info. Next, choose the period for which you prefer to store the information: 30 days or 1 year.




Plus, when you use the Mail app on your iPhone or iPad, it saves a cache of all the files, photos, and videos you’ve viewed. This makes them faster when they are reloaded a second time. However, they can also pile up quickly, taking up valuable storage space. You can clear the outdated mail cache by signing out of your email account and signing back in.

4. Remove and reinstall some applications

Most application-stored data is classified as applications, but some caches or data are classified as system data. For example, if the Podcasts app takes up more than a few gigabytes of space, it may be filled with cached data.

Deleting and re-downloading the app can help clear the system data storage on your iPhone. To delete an app, touch and hold the app, then tap Delete app > Delete app > delete. After that, head to the App Store to download and reinstall the app.

5. Backup and delete your iPhone

The easiest way to delete excess data is to completely wipe your device and start over. This is faster than trying to find the app cache and delete them, not to mention that you can eliminate quirky mistakes that can also cause storage issues in the process.

Before you can do anything, you have to back up your iPhone or iPad. Otherwise, you will lose all the data on your device.

To erase and reset your iPhone or iPad, go to the Settings > Universal > Transfer or Reset iPhone and tap Erase All Content and Settings. If you have already set up an iCloud backup, iOS will prompt you to upgrade it to avoid losing any unsaved data.

If all the other methods fail…

If your iPhone is still getting the low storage space error and deleting data from the system data section doesn’t seem to work, you should try uploading the files to iCloud. This way you can completely remove them from your iPhone’s storage.

Still, the default 5GB of free iCloud storage may not be enough, so you may need to buy extra storage from Apple.