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iPhone Storage Keeps Filling Up After Deleting (Causes and How to Fix)

You get a notification from your iPhone stating that you’re running out of storage. Logically, all you need to do is delete some huge videos you took or a game you downloaded and never looked at.

Unfortunately, no matter how many gigabytes you painstakingly delete, sometimes this emptied storage magically gets filled within days. 

There are a lot of theories as to why iPhone storage keeps filling up after deleting. 

Some people believe this is an intentional Apple scheme to make you always go for the highest storage space for your next iPhone purchase. Some think it’s simply one of the shortcomings of iOS.

Either way, this problem has existed for almost a decade now, and it does not seem to have a final solution. Thankfully, there are quite a few things that you can do to keep this issue at bay. 

In this article, we’ll cover why iPhone storage keeps filling up after deleting whatever you can, how you can fix it, and what to do to prevent it from happening again.

The Culprit Behind Losing iPhone Storage

The main culprit behind the spontaneous refilling of whatever amount of storage you free up on your iPhone is its cache.

If you’re not familiar, caching data is what your smartphone does to give you super quick access to files you’re using.

For example, if you’re watching something on Netflix, your phone will download the whole movie and keep it in the app’s cache till you’ve closed the app and moved on to other ones.

Another example, which seems to be an issue for iOS, is reserving space for files when you’re receiving a file.

Despite this file not being saved on your phone yet, your iPhone system will register it as occupied until it’s received… even if it never actually gets received.

How to Fix This Problem

There isn’t much you can do to fix the root cause of this issue. For that, we’ll need to collectively yell at Apple through our iPhones for this to be fixed once and for all.

But as we said earlier, there are a few things you can do to fix this issue for months at a time and even keep it from ever happening.

Update to the Latest iOS

While this issue has persisted over the years, you’re much more likely to see an improvement with the latest iOS updates

Unless your iPhone is too old to handle the newer bulky iOS versions, we recommend updating to the latest iOS

This could instantly fix the issue, and if so, you probably won’t have to deal with it again.

Factory Reset Your iPhone

This may be a bit of an extreme solution in some people’s opinions, but the other option (which you’ll find below as a means of prevention) is quite tedious.

Of course, you need to back up everything on your iPhone before you do that. You should also keep in mind that this process takes some time. Expect no less than an hour between resetting your iPhone and restoring all your data.

Factory resetting your iPhone will instantly delete all cached data as well as the apps and settings that had it piling up in the first place.

This should keep your iPhone light and breezy for quite some time, but if you don’t keep your iPhone nice and tidy, it’ll probably happen sooner than you’d like.

  • To back up and reset your iPhone using a MacBook, simply plug in your iPhone, select it from the left-side panel, go to General on the menu bar, and select “Backup all data.” After it’s done, follow the same steps, then click the “Restore backup” button.
  • To back up and reset your iPhone on a PC, connect it to your PC and launch iTunes, click the device button that will pop up on iTunes, then click on “Summary.” There, you’ll find the “Backup Now” and “Restore Backup” buttons.

Prevention: Clear Up Space Regularly

There’s a rather simple way of keeping your iPhone’s storage in check without having to factory reset it every few months or weeks.

Make a habit out of doing any of these when you have a minute and nothing particular to do on your phone.

  • Delete or offload unused apps on your phone.
  • Clean up pictures and videos you don’t want, then delete them from the recently deleted.
  • Clear Safari’s cache from the settings.
  • Go through your apps in the settings and clear the caches of the apps taking up most space.


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iPhone storage filling up on its own after deleting various files and apps is a problem that’s been around for nearly a decade. It’s every bit as frustrating now as it was when it first started happening. 

There isn’t a final solution to it, but you can fix it for weeks or even months at a time by factory resetting and restoring your iPhone.

You can also prevent this from ever happening again by building up a digital hygiene routine which includes deleting apps, photos, and videos you don’t use.

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