What The Tech: other files

What the Tech

(WHATTHETECH)— I guess it’s happened to most of us at some point. You go to take a photo or shoot video on your smartphone and you get a pop-up message that there’s no more room on the device. It’s not good getting caught by surprise like that as you might miss a special moment you’d like to have a photo or video record.

Millions of people save some money when they buy a new smartphone by choosing one with 32gb of storage. That’s great but it fills up quickly and one of the culprits is documents and data. As Apple lists it, “Other”. You’ve seen it if you’ve ever looked to see what’s taking up room on your iPhone.

If you find yourself running out of space on your phone, go to General Settings and iPhone Storage. That’ll show you which files and content are taking up space. And a good bit of space is labeled as “Other”. What is that and how do you get rid of it or at least some of it.

Other is simply data and documents. Think of it as “leftovers” from apps, messages, photos and even social media posts you’ve seen or liked.

A good example is Facebook. On my phone, the app is 226 megabytes, but it’s storing another 240 megabytes. Camera apps are the worst. FiLMic Pro is only a 77-megabyte app, but it’s documents and data generated from the app is hogging another 656 megabytes.

Go through your own list. Offloading the app doesn’t free up any of those documents and data. So how do you get rid of it? Delete the app. Yes, just remove it then re-install it. You won’t lose anything and you’ll gain all that storage. It can add up to quite a bit.

While you’re looking for ways to reclaim that space. Check your settings in Safari back in the main settings. Clear History and Website Data in Safari.

In Messages, your phone saves everything forever. You can review and delete images other people sent you. You can also change that setting so messages are saved for only 1 year or 30 days. You might be surprised how much space all of this frees up.

If you want to clear out most of the Other you can reset it, but back up your photos and your phone before you do. Android users you can review and manage your “other” data and documents in settings. Some Android users may find it’s easier to delete than on the iPhone but I think it takes about the same amount of work.

You can also free up more space (most of “Other” documents and data) by resetting your phone. If you do that, just make sure you back it up first to the cloud or on a computer.

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