Just like “Other”, “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. A lot of people come up with one persistent question: how to clear “Documents and Data” on my iPhone and reclaim free space?
Once you understand what that “Documents and Data” really is, it becomes easy to figure out ways to clear all of it and still have your iPhone work smoothly. The documents and data comes from a variety of sources (including stock apps, third-party apps, cached data and even iCloud documents). Let’s check out how you can find and remove each of these to gain more free space on your iPhone.
1. Stock Apps
If you use your iPhone/iPad very much, there’s a very good chance that you’re using a lot of stock apps: Safari, Messages, Music, Videos, Mail etc. Since all of these apps deal with data, they also store some of it. In the case of Safari, it’s cache and reading list and more. In the case of the Videos app, it’s the videos you download and store. In Mail, it’s the mail cache and attachments. So on and so forth.
Each app has a different set of data and a different way of removing them.
Also Read: What is Other on iPhone
Safari: clear cache, reading list, history, cookies
There’s a lot of data stored by Safari although not as much as many of the apps. Safari stores cached data of websites. Then there’s history and cookies too. If you use reading-lists in Safari, that adds up to the “Documents and Data” too. Removing all this helps you clear some fraction of “Documents and Data”.
Messages: clear message attachments, old conversations
One of the biggest contributors to “Other” and “Documents and Data” is the Message app. The effect is even more pronounced if you’re a very active iMessage sender.
We’ve covered a bit on clearing iMessage/SMS cache and data here. Clearing out messages/conversations helps if there’s a huge pile-up of threads.
If you have a jailbroken iPhone, check out how to remove message attachment data using iFile.
Don’t Miss: How to Remove “Other” Data from iPhone
Mail: clearing out old mail and attachments
If you use the stock Mail app, there’s a lot of cache that builds around this. All the synced mail 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:
- Go to Settings → Mail, Contacts, Calendar
- Tap on the email account
- Tap on Delete Account and confirm
- Now, re-add the account by tapping on Add New
iTunes: Music, Movies & TV Shows, Thumbnail cache
All your iTunes purchases (made on the iPhone/iPad or synced from the computer) are part of the media. It’s usually categorized under the Audio/Video part of your storage but some of it goes to “Documents and Data”. This could include thumbnail cache, or related-files that are not some kind of media files.
One of the best things you can do to clear cache is to remove all music from your iPhone and then re-sync it through the computer. This way, you will be clearing out all cache on the iPhone and because these aren’t created during a re-sync, you get some free space.
If you’ve got a lot of photos/albums in your photo stream, you might want to clear them out. Of course, by clearing we don’t mean deleting them. You can turn off photo stream from Settings → iCloud → Photo Stream. This will remove all photo stream instances from your iPhone which can help you reclaim some free space.
Voicemail: Delete all voicemail
It turns out that all of your Voicemail contributes to the “Documents and Data” part of the Phone app. So it’s best that you delete Voicemail in order to clear “Documents and Data” (some of it, that is).
2. Third-party apps
This is the difficult part (but on second thoughts, it could be the easiest too). Unlike “Documents and Data” stored by stock apps, the ones stored by third-party apps is hard to locate unless you’re using some software like iExplorer. Right on the iPhone, you can’t separate the documents and data stored by, say, the Gmail app. There are, however, two ways to clear documents and data stored by third-party apps on your iPhone.
Method #1: Delete, Re-install app.
This is the easiest way. Tap and hold on the app icon and then press the ‘x’ to delete the app. You can then re-install the app from the App Store. This will clear all data contained within the app (unless it’s backed up to iCloud, like in Whatsapp). This is a solution that fits apps like Facebook where you can’t individually pick out data and cache to delete.
Method #2: Delete data where possible.
For apps like Whatsapp, Viber, etc., you can try deleting photos, videos and even conversations. This will remove the media no doubt but will help reclaim free space.
3. iCloud Documents
iCloud documents don’t usually add up to a lot unless you’re a heavy user of the iWork suite on your iPhone. But when you do, it’s time to make sure these aren’t occupying a lot of space. You can remove documents individually from Pages, Numbers etc., from iCloud documents. To do this:
- Go to Settings → iCloud
- Tap on Storage
- Now tap on Manage Storage
- Next, under Documents & Data, tap on each app
- Now tap on Edit from the top-left
- Tap on Delete All to remove all documents. Alternatively, tap on the ‘-‘ against each document to remove it individually.
4. Using software to remove app data and cache
If you’d like some more control over the documents that the apps store – and if you’re familiar with the risks of going file-deep in this – you can make use of a bunch of software.
The most basic and user-friendly of this would be PhoneClean. It helps you clear out a lot of temporary data.
Softwares like iExplorer and iFunbox (and iBackupBot) go a little deeper but you need to be aware of the risks. With iExplorer/iFunbox, you can gain folder-level access. The apps and their data are displayed as folder/files. You can then remove files/folders that you are sure aren’t going to affect the app’s functionality in anyway.