A tale of two restores

My wife’s iPhone 5 has been complaining about space for months. To date she’d just keep reducing the amount of music she was keeping on it in order to install new apps. Finally I took a look at it yesterday. She only had two and a half pages of apps no videos and just 2 GB of music. Even on a 16 GB phone that shouldn’t fill it up.

Plugging it into her MacBook, I could see the “Other” part of the usage bar was huge, at least 1/3 of the bar if not half. So I suggested restoring it. I restored the phone to a base iOS 7.1.2 install and then restored the most recent backup in iTunes (yes, I back up to iTunes because I’m old school). If you’re going to try this, remember to select ┬áto encrypt the backup (and that you have a backup after doing that), that way you won’t have to enter all your passwords again.

I didn’t take notes of the sizes before restoring because I’m an idiot, but I can tell you she got back somewhere between 6 and 7 GB of space.

You read that right. That’s a lot of space on a 16 GB phone.

Most of it came from “Other” but some of it came from the rest of the bar, too.

It worked so well on hers, I thought I’d try the same thing on my iPhone 5s. Mine was not quite as problematic as hers, but I was still running out of room. The difference, however, is that the “Other” part of the bar on my phone wasn’t nearly as big as the one on hers. I knew where most of my space was going: more apps, particularly games.

Here were the major numbers prior to the restore of my phone:

Audio: 2.13 GB
Photos: 220.2 MB
Apps: 6.68 GB
Documents & Data: 437.2 MB
Other: 2.35 GB

What did I get back after the restore? About 3 GB of space. Not as great, but still pretty good. Here were the numbers post-restore:

Audio: 2.27 GB (why is this larger?)
Photos: 272.7 MB (ditto)
Apps: 4.29 GB (more than 2 GB less)
Documents & Data: 351.6 MB
Other: 1.54 GB (about 800 MB less)

I don’t know why it’s like this. It shouldn’t be like this. But it is. When something gets deleted, it should get deleted. That stuff shouldn’t take up almost half of your phone’s space.

If you’re running out of room, try a restore.