The “Documents & Data” folder on iPhone stores all user data associated with frequently used applications. The folder generally contains application related data like chats, messages, downloaded files, images, and videos, etc. However, it also stores a lot of junk like temporary files and downloads, crash logs, cache, corrupted files, etc. Over time, a number of files increases, they pile up wildly and start to occupy more space than the application itself.
The massive amount of information stored in “Documents & Data” takes a toll on the operating capacity of an iPhone. In the worst-case scenario, you can even experience apps crashes and overall system slowdowns because of that. Users of older iPhones reported facing the “Documents & Data” space shortage problem after upgrading to the next iOS version. Users of the latest iOS 11 can manage Messages-related “Documents & Data” and save plenty of storage space.
To check how much space is occupied by Messages/iMessage in “Documents & Data” on your iPhone, do the following:
- On older iPhone models, go to Settings -> General -> Usage.
- On new iPhones running on iOS 11, go to Settings -> General-> Storage & iCloud Usage -> Manage Storage.
The above method will help you see the total storage consumed on your iPhone device and the available space. To check the amount of space occupied by a specific application, go to Settings -> General -> iPhone Storage.
In the Usage/Manage Storage section, you will see options to reduce the storage taken by a specific application, including Delete App.
- On older iPhone models, there is no option to delete all messages at once, so removing each message one by one is the only way out. Before removing the messages, make sure to back them up.
If a given iPhone syncs with iTunes, the amount of storage space under “Documents & Data” will significantly increase after synchronization is complete.
To avoid the problem in the future, perform phone backups using iCloud instead of iTunes.
How to adjust iCloud settings
- Go to Settings->iCloud->Documents & Data and turn it off.
- Check the Usage section to see if the amount of space occupied by Messages decreased.
In case a lot of space is still occupied, messages were most likely backed up to your iTunes before iCloud. The best option to get rid of those messages is to restore an iPhone back to factory settings as a New Phone.
Note: restoring from a previously made backup will make all of the messages reappear. Before performing a phone backup to iCloud, make sure “Documents & Data” setting is OFF.