How to Delete System Storage on iPhone

You can't, but you can reduce its impact

What to Know

  • You can't delete it, but you can check how much space it's using: Settings > General > iPhone storage.
  • System storage contains essential files but also temporary data and cache files.
  • Delete these by restarting your iPhone or by deleting and reinstalling apps.

This article teaches you how to delete System Storage on an iPhone as well as looks at the limitations involved in the process, and how you can reduce its size.

How to Get Rid of System Storage on iPhone 

It's not actually possible to completely delete system storage on iPhone. System storage is made up of vital system files your iPhone needs to operate, so your only option is to try to reduce the storage. 

To check how much system storage takes up on your iPhone, follow these steps.

  1. On your iPhone, tap Settings.

  2. Tap General.

  3. Tap iPhone storage.

  4. Wait for your iPhone to finish calculating how space is used.

    Depending on the capacity of your iPhone, this can take some time.

  5. The gray bar represents how much space is taken up by system storage.

    Steps required in iOS to check your System Storage.

How Can I Reduce iPhone System Storage?

While you can't just delete iPhone system storage, you can perform a few steps to reduce it. Here's an overview of how to reduce iPhone system storage.

There's no one solution to reducing your system storage so work your way through the ideas below to optimize it.

  • Restart your iPhone. Restart your iPhone to clear many of the temporary files contained within system storage.
  • Reduce your message history. All your messages are kept as cache files within system storage. Tap Settings > Messages > Message History > and reduce the length of time in which your messages are saved to reduce the data used.
  • Delete and reinstall apps. All apps keep a certain amount of temporary data within system storage. Delete and reinstall them to clear it.
  • Factory reset your iPhone. Restoring your iPhone to its original settings is a big step, but it often clears space you can't delete in any other way. Consider it as a last resort solution.

What Is iPhone System Storage?

iPhone system storage includes a lot of different files that you might not think about. To understand its purpose, here's a look at what's included:

  • Essential files. For the most part, iPhone system storage contains the essential files needed to use your iPhone, such as those that support the operating system. That's why it's not possible to delete it.
  • Cached/temporary files. Cache files are there to support other activities you might be completing, and they soon add up. iPhone system storage may include a lot of these temporary files.
  • Updates. Any iPhone update waiting to be installed is left listed under system storage. If you haven't updated in a while but you have downloaded the relevant file, this could be the contents of your system storage.
  • Logs. System storage can contain logs as well as files that you will never access but are necessary for certain technical purposes.
  • Why does "System" take up so much storage on the iPhone?

    The System category takes up everything that doesn't directly fit under other categories (Photos, Apps, etc.), so it can increase pretty quickly. Because it can come from a variety of sources, including different apps, it can grow faster than the rest of your storage. You can quickly reduce it with a restart or installing an update, however.

  • How do I get more storage on an iPhone?

    One easy way to regularly free up iPhone storage is to make items in Messages automatically delete after 30 days. To do this, go to Settings > Messages > Keep Messages and select 30 Days. You can't add more storage (although you may be able to find an iPhone-compatible external drive), but you can buy more space on iCloud and keep photos and other room-hogging items in the cloud and off of your phone.

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