Very weird iphone storage issue, Please help if you can!

sram

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Hi apple gurus, how is it going?

This might be the only forum which I'm a member of and has a section for iStuff. So, I'm putting this here.

You all know about the "your storage is almost full" message in iphones of course. It happens when you run out of space. I have a 64GB iphone 6 plus and I have whatsapp setup to automatically download images and videos, so it is just natural the 64GB will run out very quickly. Fine, no problem: When the phone is near full, you copy the files needed into your NAS or your main computer storage and empty the phone and start all over. I have been doing this with no problems until this very last time which was about a month ago. I first deleted some large video files and unneeded photos, but the message kept on annoying me (I noticed the free disk space wasn't increasing appropriately) until I went full force and emptied the photos & camera (folder let's say). I regained some disk space but it is not near the expected value at all. When I open settings>manage storage I can easily see that the values appearing in front of each item doesn't add to the total of ~ 64GB. Heck, it is not even close to 15 GB !!!

So, where is my disk space??? I tried the tips found online, and also used some cleaner programs & storage managers but still the space will not free up. This is weird, I haven't seen it in an apple device before. I searched online of course but couldn't find an entry for my specific case?

What gives?

What is going on? I don't want to reset the device because it will be a nightmare to regain all my settings and configurations. I actually can do it and restore from a back up, but here is the thing: The backup size is close to 59GB although there isn't many photos and programs installed, so I'm afraid when I restore the problem will also be restored.

This is driving me nuts!

Please feel free to ask any question. I can post a photo of my settings page if you want.

What do you think???
 

sram

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Please post a photo of the settings > manage storage page

Doubting me:)?

There you go:

8c6U1LR.jpg


Please help
 

UnknownSouljer

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Some program has to be creating weird backups or something of that sort to be in this position. I have no idea what the problem is. But updating to the latest version of iOS couldn't hurt, it will also give better tools to see where your data is going.
 

sram

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Some program has to be creating weird backups or something of that sort to be in this position. I have no idea what the problem is. But updating to the latest version of iOS couldn't hurt, it will also give better tools to see where your data is going.

I was thinking about update but I was also worried about the latest bugs. How are things now? Is the latest iOS safe and stable? I'm also afraid I won't have enough space to download and install the latest iOS.

The other thing I was thinking of doing was to restore my backup to a higher capacity phone and then see what I can do with this one. That will require another phone though!
 

UnknownSouljer

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I would never be afraid of updating an iPhone, I'd be more worried about the consequences of not. But that could just be me coming from a very security conscious perspective.
iOS 12 will have a lot of performance improvements for all phones that it supports. But I'm on a 6S+ and 11 runs just fine. I also had it on my moms 6+ and that was also fine. I think the 5S is the only one that is slow at this point, but I think that has more to do with just not having the processing power of a phone made within the last 3-4 years (which is a crazy thing to say... longevity is quite good, compared to the competition lets say).
 

sram

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Do 11 and 12 have better storage management ? I haven't tried them myself. I say this because part of the problem is storage reporting. You just can't have 0 space left when all your programs and media files add up to only ~ quarter of the full capacity of the phone. Some program must be taking so much space but it is not being reported.

Could it be whatsapp? I can't think of something else. I'm not using many programs anyways.
 

sram

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I don't see many suggestions/comments from you guys:(

Does this mean my issue is indeed a puzzle? Haven't you seen something like this before? I'm dying to see what is taking my space!

Sounds like I will just restore the backup to a new phone:cry:
 

UnknownSouljer

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I don't see many suggestions/comments from you guys:(

Does this mean my issue is indeed a puzzle? Haven't you seen something like this before? I'm dying to see what is taking my space!

Sounds like I will just restore the backup to a new phone:cry:

Because you already know the solutions to your problems. Anyone else would just nuke the phone and move on. You have a glitch somewhere and the only way to find out what is wrong is to dig through it. The only way any of us could figure it out is by doing the same things you already know you need to.
Sorry, but no one is going to empathize about your data. Nuke the phone, get a clean slate, you're fine. This is a "problem" that isn't really a problem.
 

Zepher

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Have you tried turning it off and on again?

Other than that, maybe a full backup and restore and see if it frees up space or if it's still stuck with that hidden 50+GB of data.
 

sram

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Because you already know the solutions to your problems. Anyone else would just nuke the phone and move on. You have a glitch somewhere and the only way to find out what is wrong is to dig through it. The only way any of us could figure it out is by doing the same things you already know you need to.
Sorry, but no one is going to empathize about your data. Nuke the phone, get a clean slate, you're fine. This is a "problem" that isn't really a problem.

Well, I'm afraid to nuke it or update it. Will restoring the backup to a nuked phone get me to the exact identical state of my phone now as we are talking? I mean, is it like taking an image of a windows hard disk? I'm not sure, and I don't want to reload my fingerprint (for example) to so many programs. It is my main phone. That's the problem.

I will be more specific: The thing I'm mostly worried about is access to my main yahoo email account. The yahoo mail app is there, and the only way to get into my account from any other device or computer is if I confirmed it in the yahoo app. I don't want to change the subject, but yahoo has it setup so that you will never be able to sign in into your account if you don't have your phone with you. I actually tried it once. I acted as if my phone isn't with me (No app notifications, no sms code, no ...etc) and tried to sign in and couldn't although I know the password to my email. It will always ask you for another factor. Something you know, and something you have (the phone). I have no idea what is going to happen if I nuke the phone, and I found that it is not back to how it was exactly.

I thought one might have faced such a stupid problem and dealt with it by using some third party program or by using some apple tips. I would have nuked it in day one if it wasn't my main device which i'm highly dependent on. You don't want to lose your smart device if you are in the middle of something. I'm now in the middle of something, away from home and not with all my resources.

Sounds like the nsa stole your memory. Chips. Yeah.

Hmmm. I actually asked them, and they answered NO. So that's one possibility gone^_^

Have you tried turning it off and on again?

Other than that, maybe a full backup and restore and see if it frees up space or if it's still stuck with that hidden 50+GB of data.

Of course I did, many times and specially after some clean programs claimed they have done their work to no avail. If you ask me, it is a storage management (reporting) issue than can be fixed by none other than apple. That's my take on it.

Fine, I will just restore the backup to a different phone and see how that works, and then I will nuke the phone with the problem if the other works properly.
 

mope54

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I'm also afraid I won't have enough space to download and install the latest iOS.
What iOS version are you on? Updates are already downloaded. That's part of the storage problem you are experiencing. I'm not sure how many updates an iPhone will download. If it's more than one, you're probably going to find your answer there. I tried googling for the answer but couldn't find it. If you want to research that more for curiosity's sake, there was a class action lawsuit over this when iOS7 was released with this feature. Your screenshot doesn't show the "System" size. Is it around 7GB? Connect your iPhone to iTunes and post the "Other" category size. That contains things like these automatically downloaded iOS updates, mail and MMS cache. I'm not sure if those cached files will show up in the "how much is this app using" section.

Don't bother restoring to a new device. You already know the result since the backup file is roughly the same size as the issue you are trying to resolve. Also, since your phone is set up as a security device for your mail account, if you *do* restore a backup to that device it will lose its ability to authenticate the user even if you just backed up your phone right now and restored it immediately. *All* of your security data will be lost except for what you have saved/synced to iCloud.
 

sram

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What iOS version are you on? Updates are already downloaded. That's part of the storage problem you are experiencing. I'm not sure how many updates an iPhone will download. If it's more than one, you're probably going to find your answer there. I tried googling for the answer but couldn't find it. If you want to research that more for curiosity's sake, there was a class action lawsuit over this when iOS7 was released with this feature. Your screenshot doesn't show the "System" size. Is it around 7GB? Connect your iPhone to iTunes and post the "Other" category size. That contains things like these automatically downloaded iOS updates, mail and MMS cache. I'm not sure if those cached files will show up in the "how much is this app using" section.

Don't bother restoring to a new device. You already know the result since the backup file is roughly the same size as the issue you are trying to resolve. Also, since your phone is set up as a security device for your mail account, if you *do* restore a backup to that device it will lose its ability to authenticate the user even if you just backed up your phone right now and restored it immediately. *All* of your security data will be lost except for what you have saved/synced to iCloud.


WOW. Thanks man. This is the kind of answer I was looking for. I also couldn't find something via google, but it is worth finding out what the culprit is. I don't see system size anywhere? Where exactly can I find it? I can't find it in the regular iphone settings and in other third party storage management software I tried to use to solve the issue. I'm not an itunes guy, I don't use it often. Where exactly is this other category size? I don't see it.

As for restoring the backup, I have a another iphone with a higher capacity so I was hoping I will restore the backup, get a functional phone identical to my current one and then try to solve the storage problem some other way since I have much more storage to play with. But it sounds like I suspected, the iphone will not be able to authenticate me. This is actually the most important point, That's mainly why I don't want to nuke the phone.
 
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mope54

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My suggestion is to set up an appointment for a replacement battery using the $29 dollar replacement program, backup the phone to your computer (you must select encryption if you want to save all of your passwords and configurations) right before you go into the appointment, then ask the Genius to update your phone to the latest version.

That will be the least amount of effort while maximizing your success.

You can also just do an encrypted backup of your iPhone and then update it to the most current version. There won't be any negative effects from this and at least some, possibly all, of the unaccounted for space is due to one or more iOS updates. The difference of doing it at home is that you'll still need to make an appointment for the battery (you have until December to use the program) and if it doesn't clear the data you'll be in the middle of an appointment so the Genius can trouble shoot it.

FWIW, whenever I used to experience this on my iPhones it was because of jailbreaking. By the point it got to where your iPhone is at and the newest jailbreak was released, I'd simply wipe it and start fresh.

So those are your three options--pick your poison. They all have an encrypted backup and updating to the newest iOS version in common, however, so I suggest starting there :)
 

sram

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Didn't really have time to play with it but I restored the backup to a different phone and updated to the latest firmware (iOS) and now I can see where my gigabytes are gone. It says System is occupying 55GB alone. So there you go. But what is in there exactly? I don't know as I can't expand it further. I'm surprised apple doesn't have a tool to clean up the mess accumulating in system folders.
 

sram

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I just found this entry in google:

https://forums.developer.apple.com/thread/81938


So that's what happened to me! As I was deleting contents, it was immediately consumed by system.


Edit: I confirmed it. As soon as you free up some space, it will be sucked in by the black hole called "System"

What's up apple? I would call this a bug.
 
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mope54

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It's not a bug. It's NAND storage so the "System" takes it up and then reallocates it according to various wear algorithms. If you transfer something large, like 4 to 8gb movie(s), to the iPhone the System category should shrink by the same amount you add to the device.
 

Brian_B

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I had a similar issue on my phone. Text Messages were using 75% of my system space. All those dick pics.
 

l337*g0at

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I work Tech Support for Apple, and what we would suggest is that you back up your iPhone with iTunes. Encrypt it so your health data stays if you need. Once backed up, restore, set up as new. Once set up and working as expected, apply back up from your PC/Mac to your iPhone.

Edit: I made a typo.
 

sram

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I work Tech Support for Apple, and what we would suggest is that you back up your iPhone with iTunes. Encrypt it so your health data stays if you need. Once backed up, restore, set up as new. Once set up and working as expected, apply back up from your PC/Mac to your iPhone.

Edit: I made a typo.
Thanks for participating. Well, the problem is actually now solved. Sorry I didn't report back as I had to travel several times. I didn't want to nuke the phone like how I explained before since I want to retain my configurations and settings. I made a backup with two computers just in case, and then I decided to update hoping that this will somehow resolve the issue with better storage management from apple. Well, it did !!! The program which was eating up all the space was actually whatsapp!! About 60 GB was taken by whatapp, and I could go to whatsapp (with the new update) and do some storage management there (inside the whatsapp app). I could delete images/videos that I don't want. They were taking much space although I didn't really know how to access them (supposedly they should exist in photos and once deleted from there they should be gone). So I started removing huge videos and images from whatsapp and my space started coming back and the problem is solved. The annoying storage message is gone and I can install new programs. However, there is still a minor problem : whatsapp is still showing that it is taking 60 GB of storage in iphone's storage management although few inches above that it shows me that I have like 30 GB of free space. So I guess there is still minor work that needs to be done from apple when it comes to storage management.

Note: All programs are working nicely after the major update, no harm done.


Thanks for all of those who contributed.
 

Stugots

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I work Tech Support for Apple, and what we would suggest is that you back up your iPhone with iTunes. Encrypt it so your health data stays if you need. Once backed up, restore, set up as new. Once set up and working as expected, apply back up from your PC/Mac to your iPhone.

What he said. Backup your phone to iTunes or iCloud and do a DFU restore to the current version of iOS. Keep in mind that you will lose any possibility for a jailbreak if that is of any concern to you.

How big is your current backup?

I'm still using an iPhone 6 running the public beta for iOS 12. I think you'll be surprised at how well iOS 12 runs on and older device like yours. Mine runs much better on 12 than it did on 11.
 

sram

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What he said. Backup your phone to iTunes or iCloud and do a DFU restore to the current version of iOS. Keep in mind that you will lose any possibility for a jailbreak if that is of any concern to you.

How big is your current backup?

I'm still using an iPhone 6 running the public beta for iOS 12. I think you'll be surprised at how well iOS 12 runs on and older device like yours. Mine runs much better on 12 than it did on 11.

I already said that the issue has been solved thanks to the update. See my previous post. I didn't need to nuke the phone. Thanks though.
 
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