While taking a close look at the distribution of storage consumption, have you ever wondered what is System Data (formerly Other data) on iPhone and iPad and how to clear it to recover precious storage? If your answer is yes, you are not alone as you are surprised to see how much space this mysterious section takes up on your iOS device. Whether you’re on a cleanup drive to clean your iPhone or are eager to solve this puzzle forever, let me show you how to clear System Data storage on iPhone/iPad with ease.
Tips to Clear System Data on iPhone or iPad (2022)
If you’re bothered by the ever-growing system data on your iPhone or iPad, don’t worry. We have 6 effective methods to clear iPhone system data with ease. But before we try all the ways and ways to delete System Data on iOS or iPadOS, let’s understand what it’s all about.
As always, you can use the table of contents below to quickly navigate through this article.
What is System Data in iOS and iPadOS?
To make the task of monitoring storage consumption on iPhone and iPad a simple task, iOS offers a highly organized storage partition that divides consumption so that users know how much each category (apps, media, photos, iOS and more) has captured. . The colored section of each category can determine the amount of space each one occupies.
If you are wondering what the “System Data” section contains, you should know that it includes everything that does not fall into the brackets of the predefined categories. According to Apple, the storage category consists of things that cannot be removed, such as offline translation languages, fonts, dictionaries, Siri voices, logs, cache, local keychain data, CloudKit Database, and more. Long story short, it is a set of various miscellaneous data available on your iOS device.
note: It’s worth noting that System Data was previously called Other Data. People using iOS 14 or earlier can still find the previous name. If you are one of them, you can check out our detailed guide on how to clear other data on iPhone.
How to View System Data on iOS and iPadOS
There are two ways to view System Data on your iOS or iPadOS device.
on iPhone or iPad
- Go to the Settings app.
- Select the General option and then tap iPhone Storage to view the dump.
On Mac/Windows PC
- Connect your iPhone or iPad to a Mac or Windows computer.
- Launch Finder/iTunes.
- Select the device and look at the storage consumption bar at the bottom of the screen.
How to Clear System Data on iPhone and iPad
Fortunately, there are multiple ways to delete System Data on iPhone and iPad. It would be much better if there was a dashboard to quickly view and clear all categories of system data, but there are workable workarounds that get the job done. Of course, the whole process is tedious work that requires some patience.
Clear App Cache
It is recommended to clear the cache of apps from time to time. Otherwise, the huge pile of cached data will start creating problems like random crashes, freezing, unexpected slowdowns and even more battery draining. Fortunately, most apps allow you to clear cache from within their settings. What you should do:
- Go to an app of your choice.
- Tap on its settings and look for the option to clear the cache.
In the screenshot below, you can see the option to delete the cache of the Spotify app under the Storage section of Settings. This way you can save space on your device.
If you still can’t free up enough space on your iPhone, you can offload apps to free up additional storage. This capability deletes unused apps but keeps their documents and data. With iOS 15, unused apps are automatically emptied when the option is enabled. For this,
- Go to the Settings app and select General.
- Now, tap on Storage option. There, you will find the option to offload apps. Just Activate.
To stop offloading apps, you can disable Settings -> App Store -> Offload Unused Apps.
In addition to that, you can choose to delete or reinstall existing apps, which can help free up some space for you.
Clear Browsing History and Website Data
Another reliable way to prevent System Data from grabbing too much unnecessary storage space is to regularly delete browsing history and website data. Although saved history makes it easier to access frequently visited websites and saves you time, you should not keep website history for too long.
Personally, I prefer to get rid of the browsing history once in a while. Not only does it let me keep the browser clutter-free, but it also protects my privacy. It also plays a vital role in helping the browser run smoothly. Clearing the browsing history of all popular web browsers like Safari, Chrome, and Firefox is pretty easy. Let me show you how it’s done:
Clear Safari Browsing History
If you want to clear Safari caches, go to Settings app on your iPhone or iPad -> Safari -> Clear History and Website Data.
Clear Chrome Browsing History
For Chrome, open the app -> tap the three-dot icon at the bottom -> select History -> tap Clear Browsing Data. After that, select the time range and hit Clear Browsing Data again.
Clear Firefox Browsing History
Launch the app -> tap the menu button (three small horizontal lines) in the lower right corner of the screen -> tap History. Following that, select Clear recent history and then select Everything In the menu to clear all history.
Delete Large Message Attachments
It is always good to remove message attachments that are no longer needed so that they do not occupy the storage space of the iPhone or iPad. Apple’s Message app provides a simple way to track message attachments and remove them with ease. What you should do:
- Go to the Settings app on your iPhone/iPad.
- Select General and then iPhone/iPad Storage.
- Now, hit the Messages option. Under the Documents section, you should see different categories like Top Talks, Photos, and Videos. Now go to the corresponding category and then delete the unnecessary attachments.
For those who don’t know, WhatsApp has a similar way to manage media and delete junk files to save storage space. You can follow our guide on how to manage storage on WhatsApp to further free up your device’s space.
Reduce Message History
Apart from getting rid of junk message attachments, you can also choose to remove the history of text messages from time to time, so you can save the space of your iPhone or iPad. For this,
- Go to Messages through Settings and select Keep Messages.
- From there, choose to go for 30 days or 1 year instead of Forever. You will now be prompted with the option to delete old messages. If that’s okay, go ahead and make the changes. This way you can delete your message frequently.
Not so long ago, iOS/iPadOS 13 faced a rare issue that prevented the system from freeing up storage space on iPhone and iPad. The problem was so common that Apple release a software update to fix the problem. So, if your device storage is full and mostly consumed by System Data, try to update the software.
- Just go to the Settings app and select General.
- Select the Software Update option. Now, download and install the latest version of iOS/iPadOS.
Restore Your Device As New
If the aforementioned steps didn’t really help, I would recommend restoring your device as new. While it is a big step to clear System Data on iPhone and iPad, it is the way to go especially when you want to open a clean slate. But before trying this method, make sure to back up your device via iCloud (Settings app -> your profile -> iCloud -> iCloud Backup -> Back Up Now) or iTunes.
After backing up your device,
- Go to the Settings app.
- Select General and then Reset. (In iOS 15, you need to choose Transfer or Reset iPhone/iPad -> Erase All Content and Settings). After your device is wiped, follow the setup assistant to set up the device.
Alternatively, you can use iTunes to restore your device. Simply connect your iPhone to a computer and launch iTunes (macOS Mojave or earlier or Windows)/Finder (macOS Catalina or later). Now select your device and then hit Restore iPhone/iPad. After that, follow the prompts to complete the process.
Is clearing the cache harmful?
Clearing cached data is not harmful. In fact, it only allows you to get rid of “junk” system files that take up extra device space and slow down the device.
Why System Data on iPhone keeps increasing?
System Data (or Other data) on iPhone can quickly take up a lot of storage space. While most of this is due to things like caching, logs, and temporary file storage, there are other reasons as well. If you watch a lot of streaming video content on your iPhone, it can also quickly end up in your iPhone’s storage by adding it to System Data.
Erase System Data on iPhone and iPad with Ease
So you can monitor and delete the mysterious System Data on your iPhone and iPad. Considering that this section takes up a significant amount of storage, we wish Apple would look into this and come up with a more centralized method for managing various data. Until that happens, take advantage of these effective ways to keep your iOS device messy.
Do you have any related questions or feedback? If your answer is yes, use the comments section below.