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A slow iPhone could mean you need to clear your ‘Other’ storage


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Jason Cipriani/CNET

New year, new iPhone! But what if you’re still using the same old iPhone, and what if it’s gotten slow lately? That doesn’t mean you should go out and ask Santa to bring you an iPhone 13 (but maybe an iPhone 14 is in order for next year?). Instead, the solution might be as simple as clearing out some of your storage space. No, not that storage space. Your iPhone’s “Other” storage.

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The iPhone’s mysterious Other storage section can be a major memory hog. If you’ve run out of storage before and attempted to manually free up space, you may already be familiar with Other storage. If not, let’s run through what that is before we dive into how to shrink this pesky category.

The Other section is a catch-all corner of your iPhone’s storage. Think of it as a place where things like system files and Siri voices can be stored. But the main reason it can be a memory hog is due to cache: Your cache stores elements of apps or websites so they load faster when next you use them. Cache collects as you browse the web, stream videos or movies and when you send text messages with pictures or video. In apps like Google Maps and Chrome, cached data can soon start to eat away at your available storage on the device. 

So, is Other storage taking up too much precious space on your iPhone? To check, you’ll need to go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage. After a moment’s calculation, you’ll see a bar graph of the categories taking up your iPhone’s storage. The other storage section is usually the gray portion on the far right of the graph. (For the purposes of this article, I’m going to assume your Other section is taking up more space than it should.)

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iOS 11 introduced new ways to free up space, including the option of offloading apps you don’t use regularly.


Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Let’s get this out of the way early: A surefire way to dump a lot of the junk contained in Other storage is resetting your iPhone, though in my experience you can’t fully empty it. If backing up, wiping and restoring your iPhone sounds intimidating for now, here are a few alternatives for you to try. 

Offload apps

Not to be confused with deleting an app, offloading an app means the app is removed from your device, but all data is retained, for when you decide to reinstall it. Take advantage of this trick, especially if you have apps like Google Maps, for instance, that use a lot of space but don’t store much data. To offload an app, go back to iPhone Storage in Settings > General, tap on the app that you want to offload and then Offload App

Here’s a tip: In the iPhone Storage section, there’s a list of apps with a number next to each name indicating the storage it uses. You can immediately get an overview of which apps are hogging memory or taking up just a…



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