I have an iPhone 6s with iOS 11 and I have just noticed that a large amount of my iPhone's storage space being occupied by "System" (12.27 GB).

I have tried the answers for the iPhone 4 explained in the question Why is so much "Other" space occupied on an iPhone 4? (except for factory resetting and setting the iPhone up as new as I need to keep my app data) however those did not solve the problem on my iPhone 6s. I have tried restarting and syncing with iTunes, but neither solved the problem.


5 Answers 5


No need to backup or restore anything ! I just spent some time with a good Apple Care advisors : this problem is caused by iCloud Drive. If you deactivate it, no more problem. It worked for me.

  • 2
    Thank you so much!! This worked! I have restored and erased my phone countless times, but turning off iclo D drive cleared 5GB instantly. Phone is usable again
    – TPHughes
    Sep 3, 2018 at 12:11

This is a software issue. What I suggest is backing up your iPhone with iCloud backup (Settings -> Your Name -> iCloud -> iCloud Backup -> Backup Now - Unless it has already recently backed up), then make sure you get your wifi password and Apple ID password.

***If your Apple account sends you verification codes all of the time you need to add another number to your account in Settings -> Your name (or iCloud) -> Password & Security -> Edit to add trusted phone number (you wont be able to get the code when you sign back in)>.

After you've backed up. Sign out of iCloud, erase the iPhone (Settings -> General -> Reset -> Erase all Content And Settings) and then set up the phone, but restore from the iCloud backup. You'll need wifi, Apple ID account login (and a verification code from another trusted number if your account sends you verification codes). Once thats done the phone will look the same, messages, apps, photos, notes, calendar events, etc.

  • Many thanks for the advice. Unfortunately I personally can't currently afford to pay the monthly storage fee that I would need in order to back it up to iCloud. Dec 15, 2017 at 0:26
  • Manage your current iCloud storage and delete anything that isnt important to you, like older backups, app data & etc. to free up some space. Dec 15, 2017 at 2:27
  • Or if you dont mind losing your text messages use iTunes on a PC or Mac and it can backup your iPhone. Dec 15, 2017 at 21:17

The simple way to check is to have a backup of your data and then use settings to erase all content and settings.

That will restart the device. When it restarts - then check that no iCloud or other cloud data or accounts remain.

If you still have system large, then you need to do the thing you didn't want to - restore the device externally. If it does work, then add back your cloud accounts and then check that system didn't grow.

Once you're good there, you can either erase one final time and restore the backup or skip to go without your backup once you see what comes down from the cloud and what was lost when you did the first erase all content.


So I found this to work.

Open settings Got to iCloud Then back up Click back up. Wait for the back up to finish.

This will free up a couple of GB


Try the following (taken from here)

  • Open Settings > general> system storage >
  • Note the space used by certain messaging apps
  • Open Whatsapp > setting > manage > clear
  • What does WhatsApp have to do with the OP's question? Nothing in the question or comments indicates the OP has that app installed.
    – fsb
    May 22, 2018 at 20:51

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