iPhone "Documents & Data" overload

Posted on 2016-09-27
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2016-09-28
I have an iPhone that has accumulated almost 5 GB of "Documents & Data".   I only use my phone for the basics (phone, email, text, contacts and calendar), and can't find out what is taking up all that storage.  The only possibility I can think of is my emails, which I don't delete because when I delete them from my phone they're deleted from my Gmail server - and I need them for business records.   If the email is responsible for the excess storage overload (I'm near my limit), is there a way to get the email off the phone without losing the emails on the Gmail server and Outlook on my computer?  If it's relevant, I'm running Windows 10 on my PC laptop.


Question by:philsimmons
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:Todd Nelson
ID: 41818697
Do you save all of your text messages?  If so, do the contain a lot of pictures and video?

Author Comment

ID: 41818723
I didn't think so.  Just to be sure I deleted all my texts and it didn't change the "Documents and Data" storage at all.
LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:Todd Nelson
ID: 41818789
Any iBooks or other ebook apps installed that would auto-download those books?

Take a look at this... https://www.igeeksblog.com/documents-and-data-iphone/
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Author Comment

ID: 41818796
I do have a few Audible books on the phone, but they were on the phone long before the Documents and Data rose to such a high level.

Author Comment

ID: 41818799
It's shocking that there's no way to see the breakdown of "Documents & Data" ... it seems like something that would be really easy to do.
LVL 19

Expert Comment

by:Serena Hsi
ID: 41818931
If you navigate to:

Settings / General / Storage & iCloud Usage / Manage Storage

The phone will give you a breakdown of what apps are eating up your space.

Author Comment

ID: 41818936
Serena,  Thanks for the advice, but the storage problem is not in my Apps.  It's in the "Documents & Data" section of the storage, which the Manage Storage function doesn't break down.
LVL 30

Expert Comment

ID: 41819139
Serena Hsi is correct.
The Manage Storage does sort of break it down.  It shows how much total is used by the App, which includes the Documents and Storage.  You'll have to additionally click on each app to see how much of that App total is part of Documents and Data.
LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:Todd Nelson
ID: 41819140

What version of iOS do you have installed?

If you have iOS 10 then what Serena states is where you'll find the storage usage by app.

Author Comment

ID: 41819165
I am running iOS 10, and the total of the apps storage shown in the Manage Storage totals less than 1 GB (consistent with the apps total shown in iTunes - see attached storage "bar").  The Documents and Data is something else.
LVL 30

Expert Comment

ID: 41819194
You keep looking at iTunes, but we're telling you to look on your phone.  You need to look at each individual App for the final break down of how much of the Documents & Data is used by each App

On iTunes, in the App section of the phone, it shows that the Skype App is 94.9 MB.

When I go to the phone it shows as 125 MB under the Manage storage section.

When I tap on the App, it then further shows that the Documents & Data for Skype uses 49.9 MB.

For the Mails on the phone, you can change the sync time to a shorter time so that your phone stores less mail.
Go To Settings --> Mai, Contacts, Calendars
Scroll all the way down.
Halfway on the screen, tap on Sync
Change it to  Events 2 Weeks Back

If it's already set to the lowest setting and your email is in fact using up that much space, then you are out of luck.
LVL 40

Accepted Solution

Eoin OSullivan earned 2000 total points
ID: 41819317
Assuming it is your GMAIL account which is using up the space then you need to MOVE the email elsewhere.  You cannot hide or exclude some of the contents of the GMAIL account on your iPhone.

Options are
1. Create a second email account which is NOT on the iPhone and set it up on your Outlook and MOVE the older archived emails into that account to remove them from your phone but still have access on Outlook
2. Create local mail folders in Outlook and move the email to them.  In effect it takes the email out of GMail and stores it on your local HD and removes it from any online source
3. Delete and Re-add the Gmail account on the Apple Mail app - this deletes the cached data and attachments and reduces the space used
4. If you can try using the GMAIL app for iOS .. and delete the account in Apple Mail app.  The GMAIL app uses a lot less storage space in Data and Documents - http://www.howtogeek.com/247435/how-to-free-up-space-used-by-your-iphone-or-ipads-mail-app/

Author Closing Comment

ID: 41819980
Thanks.  While I would have preferred an Apple solution, this does the trick.

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