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How to Remove Documents and Data on iPhone and iPad

How to Delete Documents and Data on iPhone

“Documents and Data” is a slightly baffling part of your iPhone storage that turns out to be a bother when you run out of space. It takes up substantial storage, and you might not even know what it is for! So, in this post, let us learn more about it and see how to delete documents and data on the iPhone and iPad.

What Are The Documents and Data on iPhone?

To put it straight, it’s browser history, cookies, logs, caches of photos and videos, database files, and more piled up by your apps. And if you don’t eradicate them regularly, they can become problematic for your device. Besides, the total file size of Documents & Data can even supersede the actual size of the associated app!

Why Do Apps Need to Store Cache?

They store cache to enhance your user experience. For instance, when you search anything in Safari, the web browser keeps a record of it to allow you to access it instantly next time. Likewise, YouTube keeps a record of your watch history to recommend the type of videos that you like watching.

Now that you know what documents and data are, you may next like to know about ‘Other‘ that takes up quite a lot of storage. According to Apple, Other data are non-removable mobile assets. It includes Siri voices, fonts, dictionaries, Keychain and CloudKit Database, Spotlight index, system data, and other non-removable logs and caches.

We already have an excellent post that shows you how to remove Other data from the iPhone. Make sure you check it out.

How to Check iPhone Documents and Data Storage

You can see your iPhone Storage by opening the Settings app → General → iPhone Storage.

check iphone documents and data storage

However, for actual Documents and Data, you need to connect your iPhone to a Mac or PC. Next launch Finder (on macOS Catalina and later) or iTunes (other Macs and Windows PC). Trust the computer if it asks. At the bottom, you will see a bar that shows the iPhone’s storage space. Take your mouse pointer on different colors to reveal the name and space occupied by that category. Here you can see how much space Documents and Data has occupied on your iPhone.

check iphone's documents and data storage on mac

How to Delete Documents and Data on iPhone, iPad

Now let us look at some ways to remove documents and data to free up space on iPhone and iPad.

Delete Documents and Data of Individual App

The easiest and most-effective way to clear documents and data for an app is to uninstall it. Later restart your iPhone and then reinstall the app.

However, this means that things that the app has not backed up to iCloud or not on its own cloud will be deleted. For example, if you uninstall WhatsApp without backing up, all the chats and media will be deleted.

Note: When you uninstall and reinstall an app, you automatically get the latest version.

To uninstall an app: Open the Settings app → General → iPhone Storage → tap on an app → tap on Delete App and confirm.

open settings tap on general and tap on iphone storage then tap on app on iphone
delete individual app on iphone

To reinstall an app: Long press on the App Store icon and tap on Search. Next, type the app name. Finally, tap on the download icon. Once the app downloads, finish its set up process.

In case you do not wish to remove the data from an app, but still want to free some space, see how to offload it.

Delete Documents and Data from Files App

  1. Open the Files app and tap on Browse
  2. Tap on Recently Deleted and tap on three dots inside the circle.tap on recently deleted and tap on three dots in files app on iphone
  3. Now, tap on Select then choose Delete All and then tap on done. This will empty the ‘Trash’ of the Files app.tap on select and then tap on delete all to remove documents and data from files app on iphone
  4. Next, tap on On My iPhone under Locations. Press on files you do not need and choose Delete. After you clear a few unnecessary files, make sure to remove them from Recently Deleted browse tab tap on my iphone and 3d touch on file and tap on delete from options in files app on iphone

Clear Documents and Data of Specific Apps from iCloud

How about removing saved data from specific apps from iCloud? You can prevent your precious iCloud storage from being cluttered for space by getting rid of redundant files. Keep in mind; it will wipe out all the data from the cloud and connected devices. And, it can’t be undone.

  1. Open the Settings app and tap on your Apple ID banner from the top
  2. Tap on iCloud
  3. Tap on Manage Storage.tap on apple id banner tap on icloud then tap on manage storate in settings on iphone
  4. Tap on an app and then tap on Delete Data. Confirm your action. You can repeat the process with other apps.clear documents and data of specific app from icloud on iphone

That’s how you can eradicate the data of individual apps from all of your devices synced with the same iCloud account.

Tip: Allow only selected apps to store their data in iCloud. It will help you manage your storage in a better way.

Clear Safari Documents and Data on iPhone

Safari consumes significant space, and thus clearing the website data, history, reading lists, etc. frees up significant space. Let me show you how to:

Clear History, Website Data, Cookies Data: Open the Settings app and tap on Safari. Scroll down and tap on Clear History and Website Data. Finally, tap on Clear History and Data.

clear safari history and website data on iphone

Reading List: If you tend to save several webpages offline to the Reading List, it might be consuming substantial space. To delete Safari Reading List, open the app and tap on the open book icon. Next, tap on the glasses icon. Finally, tap on Edit, choose the items and tap on Delete.

delete webpages from safari reading list on iphone

Downloads: Before you remove the downloaded files, it is essential to know where they are saved. For this, open the Settings app and tap on Safari. Next, tap on Downloads. Here you will see the location of downloaded files.

view safari downloads location on iphone

In most cases, it will be iCloud Drive or On My iPhone.

  1. Now, open the Files app and tap on Browse
  2. Depending on the location, tap on iCloud Drive or On My iPhone
  3. Tap on location in browse tab and tap on downloads in files app on iphone
  4. Press on a file and choose Delete.long press on file and select delete from menu in files app
  5. To delete several items at once, tap on Select, choose the files, and tap on the Delete icon.delete multiple files from icloud drive in files app on iphone
  6. Make sure to empty the Recently Deleted folder (steps explained above)

Clear Documents and Data from Messages

If you use iMessage a lot, chances are the app may have consumed plenty of storage. You would be glad to know that iOS makes it incredibly simple to view how much storage photos, videos, GIFs have captured, respectively. Therefore, you can choose to keep and delete data based on your need. To do so,

  1. Open Settings app → Tap on General
  2. Tap on iPhone/iPad Storage → Tap on Messages.tap on general and tap on iphone storage and then tap on app in settings on iphone
  3. Under Documents & Data, head to respective section and then tap on option and tap on edit
  4. Select the things you want to delete and then tap on the trash icon to remove what you don’t want to keep anymore

Clear Unused Documents and Data from Mail App

If you use the stock Mail app, there’s a lot of caches that build around this. All the synced email that you access through the app is stored on your iPhone for quick access. And over time, there’s data pile-up. Add to this all the attachments that you open on the iPhone.
One simple way of clearing out all mail cache and data is:

  1. Open Settings app → Tap on Passwords & Accounts.
  2. Tap on an Email account.tap on passwords and accounts and then tap on email on iphone
  3. Tap on Delete Account and confirm.tap on delete from my iphone to clear unused documents and data from mail app on iphone

Once you are done, restart the iPhone. After that, follow the same steps as above and tap on Add Account to re-add it.

Clear Voicemail Data

It turns out that all of your Voicemail contributes to the “Documents and Data” part of the Phone app. Hence make sure to delete unwanted voicemails regularly to ensure they don’t clutter your device for space.

Phone app → Voicemail → Select the Voicemail → Now, you need to tap on it or swipe right to left across it to reveal the Delete button → tap on the Delete button.

To delete multiple voicemails, open Phone app → Voicemails → tap on Edit → select the voicemails → tap on Delete.

Remove Played and Downloaded Podcasts

Even if you have not used the Podcasts app recently, but have subscribed to shows and enabled automatic download of new episodes, it may be occupying a lot of space without your knowledge. Make sure you delete them.

Clear More Data and Follow Apple Recommendations

Open the Settings app and tap on General. Next, tap on iPhone Storage. If you see anything under RECOMMENDATIONS, make sure you read it properly. If suitable for you, tap on Enable.

Next, scroll down and tap on On My iPhone. If it is occupying substantial space, tap on On My iPhone. Next tap on Edit and then on red minus icons. Finally, tap on Delete.

Wrapping Up…

This is how you can clear documents and data on the iPhone and iPad. Apple says that you do not need to worry much about cache on iOS devices. It manages them automatically. However, it does not do so aggressively. In such situations, manually following the above steps helps you recover free space.

Some third-party apps give you the option to clear cache (or downloads) inside their settings. For example, on:

  • WhatsApp: Please look at this detailed post
  • Spotify: Tap on the settings icon → Storage → DELETE CACHE
  • Snapchat: You profile icon from the top left → Settings icon → Clear Cache → Clear All → Clear
  • Facebook: Hamburger icon → Settings & Privacy → Settings → Browser → Clear next to Your Browsing Data
  • Twitter: Hamburger icon from the top left → Settings and privacy → Data usage → Media storage and then Clear media storage. Go back and tap on Web storage and then Clear all web storage
  • Netflix: More → App Settings → Delete All Downloads

Additionally, restarting your device and force restarting (yes, both are different things) may also clear the iPhone cache, and even reduce the size of documents and data. Make a habit of restarting your iPhone at least once every three days or a week.

At last, you may also like to look at these excellent helpful related posts to make the most of your iPhone storage.

Extra Info: You may also wonder what System under iPhone Storage is. Well, it is the space occupied by the actual operating system. It varies according to the device and iOS version. You can not change it in any way.

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