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How to clear cache and Other data to clean up your iPhone

Make your iPhone cleaner

As you use your iPhone, it gets filled up with all sorts of things: apps, photos, videos, messages. And that’s fine, but it also gets filled up with stuff you have little control over and don’t necessarily need. If you ever checked your storage, you know there’s a vaguely named Other category that often takes up more space than Photos. Even if you have plenty of storage on your phone, knowing some unspecified stuff is clogging it up can be annoying, so let’s take a closer look at what Other data is, whether it’s the same thing as app cache or Documents & Data, and how to clean it up.

What is Other in iPhone Storage?

In iPhone Storage, Other comprises your iOS and all of the files that don’t fall under labeled categories like Photos, Apps, or Media. These include app data (also known as Documents & Data), call history, notes, voice memos, Mail and Messages attachments, completed reminders, and similar tidbits of user data. Although none of these files are particularly big they tend to add up, especially if you have a lot of apps and actively use browsers, which you probably do.

Screenshot of Other in iPhone Storage

Let’s start your iPhone cleanup with the easy stuff — the files you created yourself. Go over all your apps and delete:

  • message attachments
  • email attachments
  • completed reminders
  • notes
  • voice memos
  • voicemail
  • your call history

Don’t forget to empty the Recently Deleted folders in Notes and Reminders, as well as empty the Trash in Mail. After that, we’ll move to the trickier part of Other data: files generated by your apps, also known as Documents & Data.

What is Documents and Data on iPhone?

In Settings > General > iPhone Storage there’s a list of your apps sorted by the amount of space they occupy. When you tap on each you see how much the app itself takes up, and then how much its Documents & Data do. So what are those “documents”, exactly? They can include the following

  • app cache
  • login details
  • preferences
  • offline media content

Depending on which apps you use more often, some of your biggest space hoarders will include browsers, social media apps, and content-heavy apps like Spotify or Netflix. Identify apps that have the largest chunks of Documents & Data, they will be our targets in the next section.

Screenshot of Documents and Data of an iPhone app

How to delete Documents & Data on iPhone

Now that we know what we’re after, here are several ways to slim down your apps’ data.

Clear app caches in their Settings

This works pretty well for browsers, because Safari and Google Chrome actually allow you to delete cache, either in iPhone Settings or in the Settings within the app.>/p>

To clear Safari cache, do the following:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Scroll down to Safari
  3. Select Clear History and Website Data

For Chrome, follow these steps:

  1. Open the app
  2. Go to Options > Settings
  3. Tap Privacy
  4. Tap Clear Browsing Data
  5. Select the browsing data you want to delete (cookies, history, cached images and files) and tap Clear Browsing Data

Screenshot of Clear Browsing Data in Google Chrome for iPhone

Some other apps have this feature as well, so rummage around in their Settings to see if you can clear the cache.

Delete and reinstall apps to clear app data

Unfortunately, most data-heavy apps like Facebook and Snapchat don’t have cache cleanup, so the only way to purge their Documents & Data is to delete the app itself and then reinstall it. Before you do that, make sure you have all the login info, because you probably don’t want to get locked out of your social media accounts.

Delete offline content

Many apps allow you to save content for offline use, which is a great way to stay entertained or find your way around when you don’t have internet access. But once you’ve watched an episode it’s easy to forget about it, so look around in some of your apps and see if you have offline content left behind. It can include:

  • Movies and series in Netflix
  • Music in Spotify or Apple Music
  • Areas in Google Maps
  • Files in Google Drive or other cloud storage apps
  • Videos in educational apps like Coursera and Skillshare
  • Podcasts
  • Books

With all that done, the Other section of your storage bar should shrink considerably. But if your goal is to clear all useless stuff cluttering your iPhone — not just Other data — we have a bonus tip.

Bonus tip for a cleaner iPhone: do a Photos cleanup

Sure, nobody likes deleting their photos, because those are memories and you keep them for a reason. But most iPhones have a fair amount of photos that are useless clutter, not memorable shots. These include multiple photos that look the same (taken to pick a good one later); photos of notes, bills, schedules (taken for a temporary need and then forgotten); screenshots (same case); photos that are plain bad (dark or blurred). You'd be surprised how much cleaner your iPhone feels when you get rid of all that dead weight! Here's how to do it:

  1. Download Gemini Photos for iPhone
  2. Tap Similar, and then on a set of photos
  3. Look through the photos in this set to make sure you agree with the Best Result 
  4. Tap Delete
  5. Repeat for all your similar pics!

Screenshot of Gemini Photos, an app to clean up iPhone photos

When you're done with Similar, be sure to check out Clutter (it groups all your screenshots, blurred photos, and photos of text). Finally, go to Other and swipe through all the remaining photos: up to keep a pic, down to delete it. We do recommend you give your Camera Roll a cleanup — not only will it save you some storage, but it will also make the photo collection on your iPhone cleaner and easier to navigate. That can be time-consuming, but with an app like an app like Gemini Photos you'll be done way faster. 

That’s it, hope this helped you understand the confusing Other data – Documents & Data – app cache relationship and clean up your iPhone a little bit. Be sure to come back to this checklist every once in a while to keep your iPhone clean.

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