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If you’ve ever visited the iOS storage section of the Settings app on an iPhone or iPad, you may have noticed that the ‘System’ storage section is sometimes quite large and up a significant amount of storage capacity. For devices with extra large storage capacity, this may not be a problem, but if you are using “System” up 16 GB of storage space on a 32 GB device, then that is clearly a storage load affecting the total capacity of the device, potentially preventing other uses of the device due to the inability to transfer apps, games, media or other things. download the device. Therefore, it may be desirable to reduce a large portion of “System” storage of iOS devices.
This one tip will cover a somewhat quirky way of reducing the overall size of “System” storage, as found in an iPad or iPhone’s storage settings.
Check the current “system” storage size in iOS
Before continuing, you may want to get an idea of the size of your current “System” storage before attempting to reduce the capacity. This gives you a reference point to work with. You can check the size of the system storage as follows:
- Open the “Settings” app on the iPhone or iPad and go to “General”
- Choose ‘iPhone Storage’ or ‘iPad Storage’
- Wait for storage usage to calculate, then scroll all the way to the bottom of the Storage screen to find ‘System’ and the total usage of storage capacity
“System” can be of wildly different sizes, sometimes it is 7 GB or so, but it can also easily be 10 GB, 15 GB or even as much as 25 GB or larger, often even on the same device type. That seemingly random but significant storage usage makes “System” a bit like the “Other” storage, which has long frustrated some users using device storage in iOS.
Now that you know how big your “System” storage is from scratch, let’s take a look at the process that can help reduce that storage space.
How to Shrink the “System” storage on iPhone or iPad
To use this trick To reduce the “System” capacity of your iPhone storage or iPad storage, you need the iOS device, a computer with iTunes and a USB cable to connect the device to the computer. When you have all that, the rest is remarkably easy.
- Open iTunes on the computer, it can be a Mac or Windows PC
- Connect the USB cable to the computer and then connect the iPhone or iPad to that USB cable
- Unlock the iPhone or iPad by entering the device passcode – if you’ve never connected it to the computer before, you must “trust” the computer when it appears.up shows up
- Leave the iPhone or iPad connected to the computer with iTunes open for a few minutes, no need to sync or anything, just let it sit
- Launch the “Settings” app then go to “General” and to the “Storage” section of the device, scroll all the way down to see “System”, it should have been recalculated and often (but not always) significantly should have become smaller
- Disconnect the iPhone or iPad from the computer and the USB cable and enjoy your new free storage space
Why this works isn’t entirely clear, but if you connect an iPhone or iPad to a computer and open iTunes, it likely performs some kind of maintenance or cleaning behavior that dumps caches and temporary files from the iOS system area, perhaps in preparation for a back-up to iTunes, and when it’s done, it can be free up a remarkable amount of storage capacity on the device.
The screenshots shown here were free up more than 5 GB of storage space on an iPhone by simply connecting it to a computer with iTunes and leaving it for two minutes while unlocked. On an iPad I could get for free up 2 GB does the same action.
However, this method is not guaranteed to work, and on an iPhone X with a whopping 25.6 GB system size, it was released on its own up less than 1 GB. Some users may report more dramatic changes in the size of “System”, but there doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason involved. If you have any suspicions, please share them in the comments below.
What is “system storage” anyway?
The “System” section of the iPhone or iPad storage is probably quite literal, it is the system software. That includes iOS itself, the core operating system that runs on the iPhone or iPad, including all system functions, system apps, and presumably other system components such as caches, temporary files, and other underpinnings of the iOS operating system.
The often random and widely varying size of storage usage of the ‘System’ section of iOS storage is a bit like the vague ‘Other’ storage section of iOS devices, which is still listed in the Storage section of the Settings app. but it seems that “System” is now included in the “Other” section.
Another option that consistently shrinks iOS “System” storage is much more dramatic; erase the device, reinstall iOS and restore from your backupup. That’s an important undertaking, of course, so that shouldn’t be anyone’s first resort. Likewise, iOS restore will also typically reduce the “Other” capacity on an iPhone or iPad.
General iOS storage Tips
One of the biggest complaints that iPhone and iPad users often have relates to insufficient storage space on their devices (along with iCloud, but that’s another topic), especially with smaller storage size models with 16 GB capacity and 32 GB, but even with 64 GB, 128 GB and 256 GB. GB devices too, depending on how much stuff is on them.
If you try to free up “System” storage space to reduce overall storage usage on iPhone or iPad, you may also be interested in information how to delete and delete “Other” storage on an iPhone or iPad, along with deleting “Documents and Data” from iOS apps. Other useful tips for liberation up storage capacity on iOS devices includes unloading apps from iOS that are unused, removing apps that are unused, enabling automatic unloading of unused apps, and focusing on clearing “documents and data” of apps on iPhone or iPad, especially with apps like Instagram that take large caches up storage on the iPhone.
Did this trick work for you to reduce your “System” storage space on an iPhone or iPad? Do you have any other useful tricks to reduce curiously large system or other storage capacities on iOS devices? Share your experiences in the comments below!
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