iPhone currently shows 255.8GB used out of 256GB. I'm unable to delete files to clear up space:

  • Deleting apps seems to work but doesn't free up any space
  • Deleting files in "Files" results in error saying that more space is required to move it to Trash
  • Deleting files in settings>storage doesn't work
  • Deleting "deleted" photos/videos seems to work but they are still there when refresh the view

I've seen suggestion to backup then erase the iPhone. I wasn't able to backup because of an error "lost connection to iPhone" which I assume is due to having no space available.

I've experienced this exact problem on my macbook, where the storage is full and I'm unable to delete files. However, I freed up some memory and the OS removed some swap files, which freed up space and I was able to start deleting files to make more space. I guess the OS must be freeing up the swap file using another system call which does not require more space. Is there some similar hack I can try on the iPhone?

Using an iPhone 13 with iOS 16.0.2.

Update: I changed my language to English (in the hope that this might free up some space) and the phone crashed. It’s now in a boot loop.

  • 1
    If it's boot looping I'm not sure if there's much we can do to help at this point :/
    – JMY1000
    Oct 4 at 5:25

1 Answer 1


I put my iPhone into Recovery and updated it using Finder twice. It failed the first time (unknown error 100), but it succeeded the second time. After updating, I had to enter my passcode and waited about 20 minutes for it to recover my file (or a similar phrasing) before I was greeted with the home screen. Previously deleted files/apps/media is deleted and there is ample free space. Some settings, like trusted computers or location permission, seems to be reset.

In summary:

  • Backup regularly
  • Keep an eye on available space and free up space promptly
  • If update fails in Recovery, it never hurts to try again
  • 1
    I believe trusted computers is reset every upgrade intentionally. So glad you had the success on trying again. Thanks for documenting things - surely others will face this
    – bmike
    Oct 22 at 2:51

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .