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My iTunes shows me that there is about 7 GB of free space, while iOS settings shows me that there is only about 80 MB of available space. How do free space and available space differ?

The storage usage reported by iTunes device settings

Additional note: I tried to sum all used sizes of apps in Manage Storage list; its total (about 2925 MB) does not match to iOS settings’ Used size report (11.7 GB), but match to iTunes’ storage usage chart.

  • Have you tried hard reset? (Hold home and power until the reboot starts.) Have you deleted a mass quantity of photos? Specifically which iOS? – Tyson Jun 14 '15 at 13:23
  • @Tyson Nope, I’ve done none of them. – minhee Jun 14 '15 at 16:37
  • Try the hard reset then, and tell us which specific iOS you have (settings, general, about). – Tyson Jun 14 '15 at 16:52
  • Just as a general statement, iTunes is wrong. The storage indicator in there has never been particularly reliable, and is even less so if you are connected over Wi-Fi (as opposed to via USB). You can confirm this by going through Manage Storage on iPhone, shown on the screenshot you posted, and adding up the size of things shown. – tubedogg Jun 14 '15 at 18:25
  • Did you try to sync the iOS device with iTunes via USB (I mean pressing the sync button)? You could also try to add/remove a song, then sync and see if that fixes the huge difference. – nelson2tm Jun 21 '15 at 17:46

10 Answers 10

10

I reset my iPhone and recover the backup data. My all installed apps and data are seemingly maintained well, but its storage usage became changed: about 7 GB of new free space came out. Also, it’s reported in the same way by both iTunes and iOS settings.

I’m still not aware of the cause, but my problem was anyway solved.

5
+50

I have a 4 GB disparity between what shows on my iPhone 6 64 GB and what shows up in iTunes.

I propose that this is because of the iOS Operating System itself. While the phone is able to calculate the exact size of the OS and thus give a more accurate reading, iTunes doesn't have access to that data and assumes your phone just has that much more space.

Here's what you need to do -

  1. If you're jailbroken, those additional files are definitely taking 'hidden' space that's not being accounted for. Think about removing the jailbreak.
  2. If you're using an older iOS version, upgrade. The newer versions (8.1.3 and 8.3) take up less space.
  3. Since you're connected to your iTunes anyways, try doing this - simply load up 1-2 GB of files from your computer to your phone (music/videos/random doc files). This will force your phone to acknowledge the space it actually has.

The last one, of course, is just for science.

3

I just had this same issue, with a 3GB discrepancy between what iTunes and my iPhone were showing as free space. After looking through "Manage Storage" I realized that iTunes doesn't see the space taken up by downloading music for offline listening through apps like Spotify, but your iPhone does. The numbers matched almost perfectly.

Hope that helps.

2

I've had this issue multiple times. My podcast app would show it is using 500MB of space but there were no saved podcasts. Same deal with several other apps. I had No photos on my phone nor did I have any music. Still, I only showed an available 600MB of space available on my phone.

After doing several hard restarts computer reboots and syncs, the only way to solve the problem is to restore the iphone. This gave me 4GB of free space and seemed to reset the memory allocation on most of my app discrepancies such as the podcast app.

I don't know what causes this but it is quite frustrating.

2

An iOS application can mark data as "temporary", which means the data can be deleted when necessary. For example, if you download a podcast that you could download again at any time, the podcast app probably marks it as "temporary". Same with apps like Spotify; you don't actually lose anything if downloaded data is removed.

I think iTunes doesn't count that data because it's interested in how much you can copy to your phone (if there are 7GB that can be removed, then you can copy 7GB to the phone), but the phone reports the space as used, because it is actually used.

So the difference is data that is there, but that iOS is allowed to delete at any time.

2

After having done some research, I come to the conclusion that the discrepancy is caused by

  • iTunes counting the space required for apps and data, deducing the free storage from the total
  • the iPhone reporting the actually free space

The difference is that the iPhone obviously used additional space for caching purposes, but that space is not recognized by iTunes (maybe on purpose). The space can be regained by one of the measurements mentioned in the other answers (backup/restore etc.), because these delete the cache data.

However, the iPhone will start building up new caches, so these solutions are not lasting. Also, if you free the cache, then use the freed space to copy more apps and data to the device, your iPhone will eventually not be able to use as much cache as it actually would, possibly leading to lower over-all performance.

As a consequence, I would not recommend to force your iPhone to free the cache space unless absolutely necessary.

1

I was able to free a ton of space by backing up my phone, performing a full reset ("Erase All Content and Settings"), and restoring the backup. This shrunk the discrepancy, but didn't completely eliminate it.

1

I've tried the last suggestion and it seems to work only temporarily. I, personally, currently have a 5GB discrepancy on my iPhone 5s (16GB) vs. the available memory shown in iTunes. I went to an Apple Store today for some technical assistance and they couldn't help. I'm hoping the new OS will alleviate the situation when it is released in a week.

I store no music on my phone and stream through Apple Music. I have noticed that the phone will start to download songs that I think I am streaming and those have to be periodically deleted when I discover that they're actually taking up valuable memory.

  • Welcome to Ask Different. Please link to the specific answer - last posted, last votes, last active sort the answers differently. – bmike Sep 10 '15 at 20:40
1

In this case, the OS has so little room, you can't trust it to accurately run.

I would delete files and apps of the iOS device until you get 1 or 2 GB of free space and then power it down and check again.

If the two values differ widely after freeing up space, it's usually the equivalent to filesystem corruption and you'll want to consider backing up the phone and wiping it.

At that point, you can test and see that the storage works as you expect and then either set it up newly, or restore the backup you made.

1

I had a similar issue but I was a bit hesitant to try restoring my phone from the backup (which is the solution that apparently helped most people).

Instead, I ended up using "Memory & Disk Scanner Pro" app from the AppStore. It was able to reclaim 3 GBs of free space (without removing any of my data of course) and it took only a couple of minutes.

To be fair, it's a paid app (~1 EUR), and the interface is rather ugly, but it did its job well - so I found it worth the price.

  • Tried this and it found 28mb of junk files, but the discrepancy between iTunes and iOS is around 13gb, so no solution for me. – Motin Mar 2 '17 at 18:27

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