I have an iPhone 5c with 8GB of storage, out of which approximately 3GB is taken by the operating system.

I've always had issues with running out of space, notwithstanding the very few things I keep stored on it, but since some days I'm having the whole memory completely taken and I'm unable to take any picture.

I keep on deleting files (e.g. I delete media from WhatsApp/Messages and I move pictures from the iPhone to iCloud), but still the memory is never released and always stated as 100% taken, and I'm talking about a significant amount of files deleted/moved (approx. 200 photos and 10 videos).

I hence try to restart the device, close the applications (trying more generally to make the OS re-initializing the memory stats), but still no luck. The only (weird) thing that makes the memory release a bit is when changing the language.

My operating system is iOS 9.0.

I'm wondering what's going on, are the deleted/moved files cached somewhere? Is there any effective way to completely release their memory cells and get back my memory?

  • Could you explain how you are measuring the memory? Is it flash storage or actually the RAM that should be freed if you power down the phone and then start it cleanly. – bmike Dec 19 '15 at 19:03
  • @bmike I'm talking about physical storage, sorry I wasn't really clear. If I go to Settings / General / Storage I can see my stats, and there's written 5 GB taken / 0 octet available no matter what I remove from my iPhone. – Matteo NNZ Dec 19 '15 at 19:07
  • I have the same problem on an iPad Air 16GB. If I delete, say, a 300MB app, it says 100-something MB free – i.e. significantly less – for a while. The Photos downloads some 5–10 MB, and all 11.6 GB of storage are marked as used again. “Optimize iPad Storage” in Photos/iCloud settings was on of course (using around 700 MB for a 30GB iCloud library) … I’ve now I removed all photos temporarily, which released several 100s MB until App Store started some smaller updates. You guessed it, full again. App sizes as listed sum to about 4.5 GB, less than half what they allegedly use. Something’s weird! – Crissov Feb 12 '16 at 20:00

Open the Settings App on your iPhone, go to Photos & Camera.

Under the mentioned menu, you will see 2 options: Optimize iPhone Storage and Download and Keep Originals.

If Download and Keep Originals is selected, this is the cause of your issue. Choose Optimize iPhone Storage. (Be sure that your Photos are Synced/Backed up on iCloud or on your PC or Mac - This option should not delete any photos from iCloud, but just to be safe).

Hope my answer solves your issue. I checked the settings on my iPhone 6s 64gb.

  • I think I don't have this setting on my iPhone 5c :( – Matteo NNZ Dec 19 '15 at 19:01
  • @Matteo NNZ - Did you look for it under the Settings app or under the Camera, Photos apps? This setting is found under the Settings app. Open the Settings App > Photos and Camera . My iPhone is installed with iOS 9.2, and the setting which I mentioned is there. Maybe this setting is not available on iOS 9.0 or an iPhone 9c. I also found it on my iPod touch running iOS 9.2 . – aqc1 Dec 19 '15 at 19:29

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