Maccast Members #204 - Clearing iOS Cruft
- This was inspired by a topic that came up in the iOS Help channel on the Member Slack
- If you haven’t joined the Maccast Member Slack and would like to come hang out send me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org, with the email address you’d like to be added with.
- Know that the email address will be visible to other Maccast members in the Slack
Identifying what’s eating up space
- Open Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage > and underneath the Storage section, choose Manage Storage.
- Wait a few seconds for it to gather and load the data.
- It will sort from the most used storage to the least.
- Tapping on an App you can look at the details on top and get a breakdown of the App’s storage usage. The “App Size” vs. the “Documents & Data”.
- What is documents & data?
- The Usage screens don’t give much detail
- These would be local documents and cache files that are not part of the core application data.
- For documents based apps or ones that tend to use a lot of cache you’ll tend to see larger numbers here.
- Some of the biggest culprits
- Photos - mostly because of locally loaded thumbnails, etc. Especially if you use iCloud Photo library (even in optimized mode).
- Note for iCloud Photo Library it will use what’s available if you have it and tends top self purge when the OS needs more space for other stuff.
- You can check the Data and Usage for the TV and and it will allow you to see how much storage is used locally for each downloaded video.
- The “Downloaded” section of the TV app will also show up if you have locally downloaded content
- You can see the saved message data usage
- This tends to be mostly photos and video. More on managing this later.
- These can have large asset libraries. Often several GB in size.
- RSS and “Reader” like apps that have a lot of cache.
Before you begin
- Make sure you have a full and working backup.
- If you plan on expunging apps and documents make sure you have archived that stuff and know how to get it back should you need it.
- Connect to iTunes and make sure all recent purchases are transferred.
- Consider doing an ‘extra’ iTunes backup. Better safe than sorry.
Do an App assessment
- Let’s face it it’s easy to just download an app, use it once, never use it again, but just leave it on your device. What’s the harm, right?
- Go down the App list in the Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage screen and any apps you’re not actively using (or probably won’t use again) delete.
- Just tap the app and there will be a ‘Delete App’ button right there.
Documents & Data
- This can be one of the trickiest to clean up fro some apps
- This is especially true if you want to remove some, but not all the data.
- Typically you’ll need to go into each app that has documents and ‘export’ or save data you want to keep to another location.
- Often this will be moving to a Cloud storage location like iCloud or Dropbox.
- Don’t forget about iTunes ‘File Sharing’. Connect iOS device to iTunes. Select the device and go to the ‘Apps’. Scroll down to the ‘File Sharing’ section.
- App offenders to look for:
- Photo apps
- Video and audio editing apps.
- Often apps that store cache file might have their own ways of clear that data.
- Check in the Settings > App Settings or look for a settings button within the app itself.
- My favorite RSS client, Reeder, has it in the App settings inside the app
- While you’re in the setting you might also look around and see if you can configure how the app does caching
- Often you can set the time period or total amount of storage allowed for the cache
- You can sometimes cache only text and not photo or videos.
- All of this can help save space pro-actively
- Don’t forget your Browser
- Settings > Safari > Advanced > Website Data
- You can see the total value at the top.
- Tap ‘Show All Sites’ at the bottom to see what’s using the most cache.
- swipe individual items to delete or tap ‘Edit’ at the top.
- If you use Chrome or Firefox there should be similar controls.
- Under the TV App in the Storage & iCloud Usage settings
- Tap ‘Edit’ and then delete
- Swipe an item and tap ‘Delete’
- Using the ‘Downloaded’ section of the TV App
- If you access a download video you can tap the ‘Downloaded’ button and get a ‘Remove Download’ option.
- Consider taking some time to archive and remove photos you have no intention of ever using
- Bad/blurry shots
- Screenshots. Use the ‘Screen Shots’ album.
- Burst images
- Look in the ‘Bursts’ album
- Open the image and tap ‘select’
- Scroll through and tap the images you want to keep.
- Tip: the small bust “timeline” thumbnails with the “dot” under them are the ones iOS and it’s AI think might be the best one.
- Tap done and when asked tap ‘Keep Only X Favorite’
- Do you really need every food pict you posted to Twitter?
- If you use iCloud Photo Library doing the purging on the Mac in Photos might be easier.
- Again consider backing up your Photo Library before beginning the process.
- Don’t forget your cluttered Camera Roll.
- This is another area to evaluate
- Do you still really listen to all those playlists you have sync’d. Maybe make some adjustments in iTunes
- If you’re an Apple Music user look at the ‘Downloaded Music’ section in the Library
- Tap on track or albums, then the ‘…’ icon to ‘Delete downloaded music’
- Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage > Manage Storage and then Select the Music App
- You can delete an entire artist, a specific album, or even a single song.
- Consider streaming instead of downloading
- Helpful for Podcasts especially.
- Change the settings in your media apps to stream
- Still may have some cache, but iOS tends to be more aggressive about purging app caches when you need space.
- The big culprits here tend to be old threads and images and “attachments”
- If you want to “backup” messages you can use a tool like iMazing or PhoneView
- First just sweep through and see if there are threads, especially group threads, you can just delete
- Swipe left and tap delete
- To see and save or delete the “attachments”
- Tap on the Message
- Tap the “i” icon
- Go to the ‘images and attachments’ section.
- tap and hold on an item, in the pop-up menu choose ‘More…’
- Now you can tap to select the items you want to save or delete.
- Tap ‘Save…’ or the ‘Trash’ at the bottom of the screen.
- Consider adjusting the settings in Settings > Messages > Keep Messages.
- Options are Forever, 1 Year, or 30 Days
Turn it off and back on again
- Hard reset your device
- Attach to iTunes and sync
- This is a bit of rubber chicken waving, but I’ve seen it on my own devices where storage clears only when I do a physical sync.
- My guess is it’s purging some caches that don’t get purged in an OTA sync.