Saving space with PhoneExpan der and iTunes
On launching PhoneExpander, you’ll see your device’s name and how full it is. When devices get too full they run into problems, such as not being able to download and install large apps, and possibly not being able to update iOS. Once you get in the higher end of 90% it’s time start deleting things. (Depicted here is Craig’s iPhone after already having done a couple of rounds of PhoneExpander testing – it was even more full before!)
Apps often use temporary files, to load more quickly or appear more responsive. Most are small and best left alone. But some apps have monster caches that are worth deleting if you’re very tight on space. Be mindful caches will likely rebuild when you subsequently use an app, and that temporary files for Newsstand apps are mostly magazines. Delete them and you’ll need to redownload.
Apps can be massive, especially games and music ones. The size you see on the App Store is the download – apps can then take up significantly more space as assets expand. Although you can of course remove apps using only your device, PhoneExpander is much faster when dealing with multiple apps – you don’t need to make the icons jiggle then delete them one by one.
Photos and videos
Newer iOS devices have great built-in cameras but higher-quality photos, and especially videos, rapidly eat into your storage space. Regular iPhoto (and, we presume, Photos for OS X) imports can offload video, but PhoneExpander is fast, quickly removing content from your device, and enabling you to later import it into your favoured app. Whatever you do, though, don’t delete videos if you’re tight for space – back them up instead.
Although we had no problems with PhoneExpander, we recommend you back up your device before using it, just in case. You can back up to iCloud, but since you’re plugging in your device via USB anyway, also back up to iTunes. Select your device, click ‘Back Up Now’ and iTunes will get to work. This backup will be stored on your Mac, and can later be used to restore a device.
Seeing what’s where
Another reason it’s worth checking in with iTunes is because it gives you a handy bar chart that outlines what’s taking up space on your device. If you’ve got few apps but tons of audio, it might be worth cutting back on albums. But if apps or videos are taking up the majority of storage, pruning them with PhoneExpander could be smart. (‘Other’ reportedly mostly comprises temporary files.)