I've got an iPhone 5s 8gb with about 1.4gb of unused storage.

Within the last week this storage goes down to zero multiple times a day just through normal use. When this happens iOS "cleans" all apps and frees up the storage back to 1.4gb.

I've turned app background refresh off but still hasn't improved the situation.

I suspect there's an app using storage without my knowing it.

Is it possible to find the app causing the problem without restoring factory settings and reinstalling apps one at a time?

  • In General>Usage>Storage>Manage Storage you can see which app uses the storage you have. That might point out which app may cause your problem. Jan 21, 2015 at 14:23
  • Sadly it doesn't. When plugged into iTunes this storage usage is classed as "other"
    – lancscoder
    Jan 21, 2015 at 14:51
  • 1
    Are you watching iTunes purchased videos that are stored in the cloud through the Videos app by not pressing to their download button but pressing on the video itself? If so, via this particular way, iOS stores the videos but doesn't list them. Jan 21, 2015 at 15:31
  • 1
    I have exactly the same problem with my own 5c 8GB iPhone. I have disabled all auto-downloads (except auto-update) and iTunes Match, but still the used storage space is much more than shown in the usage list.
    – user6341
    Mar 30, 2015 at 8:25
  • A memory leak has to do with Apps using more RAM than expected, not storage. Storage (what you have 8 GB of) and memory are not the same.
    – samh
    Apr 23, 2016 at 11:40

4 Answers 4


Plug your device into your computer. Download the app iFunbox. Go to the root file system, then open the directory "Application Archives" then delete all of the ipa files.

Another alternative (without ads) is iMazing it does an amazing job with my files. (It's a paid app)

  • What functionality is lost when deleting one IPA from that folder? What is lost when you delete all files from that folder?
    – bmike
    Apr 23, 2016 at 12:23
  • No functionality is lost. Just the backup of the IPA. Doesn't really matter because iOS can repack the files at a later time.
    – bret7600
    Apr 24, 2016 at 22:09
  • Any time @bmike
    – bret7600
    Apr 24, 2016 at 22:10

Troubleshooting this is going to be difficult due to the way the storage tiers are arranged. Each app stores various caches, downloaded assets and items that are stored to the filesystem and iOS sends various storage pressure messages to apps so that they can clean up.

In your case, the apps aren't releasing enough storage and the OS is going in and cleaning house.

If you have a Mac, you can connect the device over USB and view the log files. Ask how to do that and link here and I'll provide that as an answer.

Assuming you only want to use iOS - I would do several things:

  1. Watch the storage data reported in the Settings app - perhaps saving screen images to document the state over time.
  2. Sign out of iCloud - that can put a lot of storage out of "view" of the settings app. Mail downloads also use space that isn't "accounted for" so you could sign out of all Mail accounts temporarily while you try to isolate what program/programs are storage hungry.
  3. Try and keep track of which apps you run. Turning off background refresh is a good start to controlling which apps are run, but Apple Watch, extensions (say when dropbox appears in another app) mean that you can get code running from an app even when you don't launch it explicitly from the springboard/siri/spotlight.

Sadly, your "reinstalling apps" and watching them one by one is the best way to sort this out if you don't want to enroll a computer to measure things and watch the log file for messages that might give you a clue to storage space warnings.


Have you updated your iPhone to latest iOS version? Have you installed the app "WhatsApp"? Seems it was the app "WhatsApp", creating lots of cache files and stealing storage from the phone. You can try to install the update and see whether the storage came back to a normal level. You can also use iMyfone Umate to clean up iPhone space, it supports large file deletion.


I just turned off the family sharing and iCloud and gained back 3 GB of space.


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