Viewing available space on iPhone
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: How accurate is the available space info on the built in iPhone Settings app? I have an 8GB iPhone 3G and am very conscious of how little space 8GB has become. I have tried a number of different available space apps and they all seem to provide different answers. I like DiskBadge because I don’t have to run it to see how much space is available. The Available Memory App shows good information including how many songs, movies, TV shows and images you can still store and Disc Space just shows total capacity, used and available space with a pie graph. But it seems to show more available room than the others do. For example the built in Settings app shows 1.4 GB and Disc Space shows 1.53, Disk Badge shows 1.54 GB and Available Memory shows 1.4 GB. It seems like there’s a big rounding error somewhere. It is not a huge difference across the board but I would like to find an app that is accurate about how much space I have left on my iPhone.
A: As a rule, the available space information found in the Settings app is the most accurate as it’s core to the iOS system. Third-party applications should report the same values, all other things being equal, but since you’re relying on a third-party developer it’s possible that there could be bugs or other problems in these applications that may report the free space incorrectly.
However, another reason you could be seeing a discrepancy is that the amount of free space on your device is not as static as you may expect. Applications consume space and write data to the storage on your iPhone in the same manner as they do on a desktop computer, and although iOS doesn’t use virtual memory (ie, swap files), apps themselves may still have their own storage caches, not to mention apps like Mail and Safari which download mail and cache web pages—sometimes even when you’re not actively using them.
You may also want to compare these numbers to what iTunes reports in its capacity bar when you connect your iPhone to your computer, which also breaks down how much space is used by different types of data.
Keep in mind as well that third-party apps cannot continue running in the background except for very specific functions, which do not include monitoring storage capacity. Therefore, apps like Disk Badge cannot actually update your available space unless you open them—what you see on the home screen will be a static number that indicates the amount of space that was available on your device the last time you opened the app.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Spotify penalizing artists who release Apple Music exclusives
- Apple releases new round of iOS 10 and tvOS 10 betas
- Report: 2017 iPhone to eliminate home button
- Apple to add payment technology to iPhone for transit passes, Apple Pay in Japan
- Apple releases iOS 9.3.5 ‘security update’
- Report: Apple developing its own Snapchat-style social video editing iOS app
- Apple announces Apple Music Festival lineup including Alicia Keys, Britney Spears + more
- Universal calls an end to exclusives amid criticisms that Apple Music is hurting the industry
- Apple reveals some of its upcoming AI advancements for the iPhone
- Apple Music’s royalty rates complicate Spotify’s contract negotiations
- Western Digital My Cloud (OS 3)
- Distil Union Stanley Stand
- Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected Bluetooth Toothbrush
- Audeze EL-8 Titanium Over-Ear Headphones
- Defined Corp Dome Stand for Apple Watch and iPhone
- Speck StyleFolio Pencil for 9.7” iPad Pro
- Audeze Sine On-Ear Headphone
- First Alert Onelink Wi-Fi Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Alarm
- Logitech Create 9.7” iPad Pro Keyboard Case
- iDevices Outdoor Switch Power Outlet
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 9.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.3
- Opinion: Why Apple needs a dedicated HomeKit app