Documents & Data: A mysterious black hole of data storage in iOS

I’ve got a 64GB iPhone SE; you know, the one that has a capacity of 55.21GB. (The old “my bits aren’t the same as your bits” marketing trick.) On my phone, I have a bunch of apps, and a fair amount of music. I’ve already mentioned how iTunes and my iPhone show different amounts of free space, and today, iTunes shows me that I have 5.34GB free, and the iPhone says 3.53GB.

But there’s also a lot of space used for Documents & Data, though I don’t know what takes up nearly 7GB. I want to free up some space on my phone to copy some videos, but it’s hard to know how to reclaim space (other than deleting music). Ignoring the infuriating inconsistency of the iTunes/iPhone free space numbers, I thought I would try to delete some Documents & Data. The problem is, I can’t find those 7GB.

Read the rest of the article on Macworld.

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2 thoughts on “Documents & Data: A mysterious black hole of data storage in iOS

  1. Comments on Macworld are cropped on the right making them difficult to read.
    This is less than ironic as I’m using a Apple product to view it.

    I’ve been in touch with Macworld a few times, it’s been like it for years, and it doesn’t change. Apoarently it’s being looked into. But not with any great enthusiasm.

  2. In fact Apple does require developers to keep files that can be recreated with a download in a separate ‘Caches’ directory , and they are reasonably strict about that during the review process.

    They also provide a directory for temporary files.

    The problem is that they never seem to clean out those directories.

    Part of the reason for that is that apps are ‘suspended’ but not terminated when they move offscreen. If iOS were to clean those directories, they would need to jettison the app in order that they don’t remove files that are actively in use by the process.

    With respect to the caches directory, the problem gets a little more dificult in that the OS doesn’t know which files would be good candidates for removal. There’s nothing that distinguishes a file absolutely vital to running the app and an image that a web view cached a few weeks ago.

    Of course, these issues are surmountable, but solving them doesn’t really align with Apple’s goals of getting you to buy a device with more storage.

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