iPhone 7 Plus running iOS 12.4.1.

Device showed the following iMessage statistics under iPhone Storage:

iMessage storage statss - before

I took encrypted backup using iTunes on Windows, then restored that backup (also to 12.4.1). Waited 24 hours following the restore for everything to sync, iCloud messages to download if necessary (Messages in iCloud was set to ON), etc. But same screen shows vastly different numbers now:

iMessage storage stats - after

Things like this about the iPhone - there you have zero visibility into what is actually happening freak me out. What would account for the substantially lower storage numbers afterwards?

UPDATE: I am convinced that all of the photos and videos reflected in the "before" screenshot are still present on the device (despite Messages in iCloud being on), yet for some reason the Messages storage page simply isn't reflecting the usage for some reason. The reason I believe that the media is still present on the device is because when I back up the iPhone via iTunes and then use any number of 3rd party tools to inspect the backup, all of the photos and videos are there.

  • There could be several reasons for this including not waiting long enough for the iCloud data to sync back to the iPhone. This all depends on speeds when you're connected to wifi, speeds when you're connected to cellular, if the iPhone is doing higher-priority tasks, etc. I would suggest waiting a little longer and making sure you're on wifi as much as possible. Also, there's a lot of similar questions/answers on this site. Be sure to use the search function and try the existing answers.
    – fsb
    Sep 17, 2019 at 18:53
  • @fsb Thank you I did a lot of searching and found questions that eluded to the same problem but really not answers. So I felt I'd give it a ago. But If I missed something I definitely take to take advantage of it rather than making a duplicate question. Messages in icloud confuses me. For example I don't even know if, once you have that set to on, if the messages are even backed up in itunes. And even before i had messages in cloud set on the messages would sync to other devices anyway, so who knows. I hate having a black box.
    – Emilio
    Sep 17, 2019 at 20:13
  • A wipe and restore will often leave out old, expired, cache and cached files. That is likely what is going on here. Sep 18, 2019 at 15:00
  • @SteveChambers Please see the "Update" in my question. This storage screen refers specifically to media inside iMessages, so I'm not sure how old, expired and cached files would apply. Certainly those would disappear after a restore and you'd have more free space on the device, but the storage do to photos and videos in iMessages should be the same.
    – Emilio
    Sep 20, 2019 at 20:52

1 Answer 1


I updated iOS* and the screens shown in the screenshots above showed the results I expected; that is, they showed storage amounts consistent with those prior to my restore.

I suspect that the upgrade forced the statistics to be updated.

*The upgrade was to iOS 13.1 but my gut feeling is that any upgrade would have "resolved" the problem.

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