How to Clear Message/iMessage Cache on iPhone & iPad And Reclaim Lots of Free Space

How to Clear Message/iMessage Cache on iPhone & iPad And Reclaim Lots of Free Space

We get a lot of queries very often regarding the huge “Other” data stored on your iPhone or iPad. Users want to know what this “Other” data is and why it’s occupying so much space. And of course, how to get rid of it.

If you are message a lot and rely on texts and iMessage for a lot of your communication, there’s a  strong chance that part of the “Other” data is made up of message cache. It’s surprising how many MBs (and sometimes even GBs) are used up by the pictures, videos and other media you send via iMessage.

Unfortunately, when you backup – via iTunes, via iCloud etc. – all of these things get stored too. This means that a restore from backup is not really going to remove message cache from your iPhone/iPad.

How to Clear Message or iMessage Cache on iPhone & iPad

Fortunately, that’s where the popular backup-editing program, iBackupbot, comes in. With it, you can edit your iPhone’s backup to remove selectively all the Message cache and reclaim a lot of free space.

Here’s how to clear out all the Message cache to reclaim a lot of free space on your iPhone and iPad:

You’ll need:

  • iBackupbot (Download)
  • Your iPhone/iPad
  • PC/Mac running latest version of iTunes

Follow these steps:

  • Backup your iPhone or iPad through iTunes. (Connect your iDevice to the PC/Mac, under the devices in iTunes, right click on your device and click on Backup Now; alternatively, you can also use the Back Up option from the Summary tab)
  • Open iBackupbot
  • From the sidepane, navigate to System Files > Mediadomain > Library > SMS > Attachments
  • All the folders within Attachments are your Message cache containing all photos, video and media that you sent/received. Clear them out. At its best, delete all folders.
  • Click on “Restore” so your iPhone is now restored to this backup.

Obviously, it doesn’t end here. If you have an iCloud backup already, you might have to flush that too. Go to Settings → iCloud → Storage & Backup and clear out any backup that exists. You can create a new backup.

Hat tip to Moe1985 for sharing the method.

  • Steven McDonald

    One word of warning..
    I did this technique and had a few problems with corrupt restores.
    It is important to realise that this bug was introduced in ios6 and a later update.
    There is no other way to fix this bar a full phone reset and setup from scratch.
    This method does work but please take the following precautions to ensure success.

    1/. First manually delete all imessages and messages on your phone. This wil not get back all the space but it ensures you have no messages and the success rate is much higher trust me!

    2/. Delete your old backup and now create a new one – if your backup was to a previous phone model – make sure you create a new backup on the new phone – I upgraded to the 5s and this did bite me!
    Go into iTunes preferences , backups – delete it and create a new one.

    3/. Now edit with ibackupbot.

    4/. Now erase all settings and data on your phone – settings – general. and restore from your itunes backup.

    5/. I had perfect success on my 5th attempt at doing this (corrupt backups , wrong phone model, error 21 etc. In short follow above steps and you will be ok).

    Good luck.