Beginner’s Guide On How To Delete Documents And Data On iPhone

screenshot of iPhone settings, the delete button is highlighted

Getting a new iPhone is an exciting occasion. Switching your new device on for the first time and getting acquainted with the flashy interface is immense fun, and you can easily spend hours staring at the screen as you set everything up.

One of the most amazing things about a new iPhone is the speed at which it does everything. Out of the box, the newest editions of Apple’s flagship device are lightning fast.

However, they don’t stay that way forever.

In fact, if you don’t stay proactive with the maintenance of it, you’ll notice your iPhone or iPad begin to slow down dramatically fast, and it will happen a lot sooner than it should.

Learning how to delete documents and data on iPhone and iPad devices is something all users need to consider, especially if they want to avoid having sluggish, frustrating encounters with their beloved digital toys.

Many people don’t take the time to learn this, but sooner or later, their overloaded devices begin to send notifications, alerting the user to the situation.

In this article, we’ll see how to delete documents and data on iPhone and iPad, so that you know how to reclaim your space whenever you want.

Understanding Documents and Data on iPhone

While you may be here to discover how to delete documents and data on your iPhone, it doesn’t hurt to fully understand what exactly that means.

The ‘Documents and Data’ folder is a mystery to many users, and they can be a little unsure of deleting anything in there for fear of causing irreparable damage to the phone.

So, to clear things up, here’s what it is.

This folder is a collection of data related to your apps, which is accumulated over time, including:

  • Browser history
  • Cookies
  • Database files
  • Activity logs
  • Photo cache
  • Video cache

Allowing this data to build up is fine, so long as you perform regular clean-ups. The issues arise if the data is left for a long period of time. The file size of the Documents and Data folder can eventually outgrow the size of the app.

Why do apps need to store cache?

Person Holding iPhone Showing Social Networks Folder
Image via Pexels

One of the biggest aspects of the folder is cache data. Apps store cache data to improve the user experience. By recording your activity, it remembers important info like log-in details, saving you time so you can access an app immediately. It also records your previous browsing history, which allows the apps to make personalized recommendations to you. For example, YouTube will recommend videos you might like, or Amazon will offer items that you may be interested in buying.

How to Delete Documents and Data On iPhone or iPad

Okay, now that we have a rudimentary grasp of what the ‘Documents and Data’ folder is on your device, let’s learn how to erase it.

The iOS on your device will enable you to see how much storage space each app has already consumed. You can flick through each app on your iPhone or iPad and get an idea of exactly how much space has been taken up and learn which apps are the heaviest.

The good news is, that no matter how data-hungry some apps are, you have options to remove their data and reclaim that storage space.

Before you do dive in headfirst and eradicate everything, you may consider the option of offloading your unused apps. On iOS 13, you can do this without deleting their data.

If you decide to reinstall the apps later, their data will be restored automatically. This method facilitates a quick and easy way of freeing space on your device, without the need to do a major clean up.

However, if you want to do a thorough deletion of documents and data, follow the steps below:

  1. Open the Settings app on the iOS device.
  2. Select General.
  3. Select iPhone/iPad Storage.
  4. Scroll to the app you want to delete, then tap on it.
  5. Now, you have two choices:
    1. Offload App, which allows you to delete the app but retain the data. This is aforementioned option that enables you to reinstate the data if you decide to reinstall the app at a later time.
    2. Delete App, which will clear all data and remove it and the app from the device entirely.

Delete Documents and Data of Specific Apps from iCloud

The method above is the simplest way of deleting documents and data in iPhone or iPad devices. But what if you want to remove data from iCloud?

When you use apps, they save data automatically, which takes up space in iCloud. Rather than having your storage space consumed by old files that you don’t want anymore, take action and get that space back.

Just beware that this method will delete all data from the cloud and also from connected devices. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.

Here’s how to do it from your iOS device.

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Select your profile.
  3. Select iCloud
  4. Open Manage Storage.
  5. Scroll to the app that you want.
  6. Tap the app, and then select Delete Data.
  7. Tap Delete to confirm.

You can do this for multiple apps, deleting the data of individual applications so your cloud gains more storage space.

In future, it is wise to adjust the settings so only certain apps can store data in your iCloud. This will ensure it doesn’t get cluttered with all sorts of useless files.

Delete Music, Media, and Thumbnail Cache

Person With Headphones Holding an iPhone, looking at their music
Image via Pexels

When you make any purchases on iTunes, they will be stored in your media folder. You can find them in the Audio/Video section, although sometimes files will go to ‘Documents and Data’. Such examples include related files and the thumbnail cache.

Over time, this cache and the media folder can become very full and disorderly, particularly if files have not been labelled correctly.

Clearing the cache to completely remove all media files from your iPhone is a great move, as it gives you a chance to select which files to resync.

When you do a resync through your computer, only the video and audio files you want will be reinstalled, without all the extra related files. This helps tidy things up and also saves space.

Clearing Mail: Deleting Old Email and Attachments

On the iPhone, the built-in Mail app is ready for use with many major mail servers. When you sync your Gmail or Yahoo account, for example, it will store the emails in a cache around this app.

Over time, this data will mount up, and sooner or later you will need to clear some space. The easiest way of clearing your mail cache and related data is by doing this:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Select Accounts & Passwords.
  3. Tap Email account.
  4. Tap Delete account, then confirm.
  5. When that is done, re-add the account by tapping Add New.

Clean Browser History and Website Data

The default browser on iOS devices is Safari. To make sure it continues running smoothly, you should clear the data out regularly. This will stop caches from becoming overloaded, which will affect performance.

Clean Photo Storage

More often than not, we will have a lot of photos in our camera roll, many of which are duplicates and bad images that will never be used for anything. By doing a clean-up, you can save some space for better shots.

  1. Open the Photos app.
  2. Tap Select in top right corner.
  3. Select whichever photos you wish to remove, then select the Trash icon, located in the bottom-right corner.
  4. Tap Delete to confirm.

Clear Up Messages

Person Holding iPhone, looking at their messages
Image via Pexels

When you learn how to delete documents and data on iPhone or iPad, it’s easy to overlook one of the most active apps on the device – iMessage.

Luckily, iOS makes it easy to view how much storage space all those funny memes, family photos and little GIFs are taking up.

You can check things out and decide what to keep and what to delete.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap iPhone/iPad Storage.
  4. Tap Messages.
  5. Under the Documents & Data section, head to respective section, then tap Edit.
  6. Tap the Radio Button, then tap the Trash Icon to delete things you no longer want to keep.

Regular Maintenance is Key to Peak Performance

If you want to keep your iOS device operating at optimum performance, you need to make regular clean-ups, before any problems arise.

It’s easy to erase the data of many apps, which stops them from consuming vast amount of storage space on your device or iCloud.

While removing cache files manually can take a little bit of time, it’s worthwhile. Making it a regular habit will ensure things don’t mount up.

This keeps your iPhone or iPad software in good condition, and also saves you plenty of space for when you need it.

About the Author

Leave a Reply


Pin It on Pinterest

Share This