iPad System Data Huge? How to Reduce It

by Maggie Mueller Updated On Dec 22, 2023 Published On Dec 22, 2023 iPad

When you check your iPad Storage, you'll see a bar at the top that's divided into different categories like Apps, Media, Photos, and Mail.

There's also a category called Other/System Data, which might take up a significant amount of space. Usually, System Data falls in the 5GB to 20GB range, but if it's more than 20GB, it might be too much.

In this guide, we will explain what system data on your iPad is and list several troubleshooting tips if the System Data on your iPad is huge.

Let's get right to it!

What is System Data on iPad?

Your iPad's "System Data" is quite diverse and large because it holds various things, which includes:

  • System cache
  • System logs
  • Safari cache
  • Siri voices (if you have more than one)
  • iPadOS update
  • Stream files of music and video from the iTunes Store, TV app, or Music app
  • Texts with images or videos
  • More

While your iPad is designed to handle these data, caches and logs and prevent the storage on your iPad from becoming too full, it doesn't always do this perfectly. If you encounter the iPad system data huge problem, continue reading to explore solutions to address the issue on your iPad.

System Data huge on iPad

Image source: reddit

Wait for Some Time and Restart Your iPad

If you've just reset your iPhone or logged into iCloud, we recommend waiting an extra 48 hours. This gives your iPad time to go through all the files, removing the ones it doesn't need anymore. Make sure your device is connected to Wi-Fi and plugged in whenever you can during this period.

What's more, it's advisable to restart your iPad as it helps refresh the system and often resolves minor issues, especially if you observe any sluggishness or unusual behavior in your device's performance.

 Restart Your iPad

Update the iPadOS

If the system data on your iPad is still huge, make sure your iPadOS is up to date:

  1. Back up your device using iCloud or your computer.
  2. Connect your device to power and Wi-Fi.
  3. Open Settings, tap on General and then select Software Update.
  4. If you see two software update options, choose the one you want to install.
  5. Tap Install Now. If you see Download and Install, tap it, enter your passcode, and then tap Install Now. If you don't know your passcode, find out what to do.

For more details, you can check the Update your iPhone or iPad - Apple Support page.

Avoid installing new apps or downloading/streaming music or videos until the iPhone update is complete.

Update the iPadOS

If the above mentioned tips and tricks don't work, here are some ways to reduce system data usage on your iPad:

Reduce System Data Storage on iPad

1. Delete Cache of iPad Apps

It's a good idea to clean up the cache of your TV, Mail, Music, Podcasts app, or other apps every now and then. If you don't, the stored data can pile up and cause issues like crashing, freezing, and your device running slow. It might even use up more battery than usual.

For example, to delete downloaded podcasts after you listen to them, go to Settings, tap on Podcasts, and then choose to turn on 'Remove Played Downloads.'

Luckily, some apps have a built-in option to clear this stored data, called the cache. Just go to the app's settings to find it.

Delete Cache of iPad Apps

2. Offload Unused Apps

But some apps on iPhones or iPads don't make it so easy. For those, you have two options: you can either "offload" the app or delete it entirely. Offloading removes the app but keeps its important files and data.

Starting from iPadOS 16, unused apps can be offloaded automatically if you turn on the option. To do this, go to Settings -> General -> iPhone Storage, and then turn on Offload Unused Apps.

offload apps on ipad

3. Delete Browsing History

To make sure your device doesn't use up too much storage with unnecessary System Data, it's a good idea to regularly clean up your browsing history and website data. Even though saving your history is handy for quickly getting to your favorite sites and saving time, it's best not to hang onto it for too long.

I personally like to tidy up my browsing history every now and then. This not only keeps my browser looking nice and organized but also makes sure my privacy stays protected. Plus, it's an important step in keeping the browser working smoothly.

Clearing your browsing history for well-known web browsers like Safari, Chrome, and Firefox is pretty straightforward. Let me walk you through it:

To clear Safari Browsing History:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Go to Safari.
  3. Select Clear History and Website Data.
  4. Tap Clear History and Data to confirm your decision.

Delete Browsing History

4. Delete Large Attachments of Message

It's a good habit to delete message attachments that you no longer need to make sure they don't take up unnecessary space on your iPhone or iPad. Apple's Message app makes it easy to manage and remove message attachments. Here's a simple guide on what to do:

  1. Go to Settings > General > iPhone/iPad Storage.
  2. Tap Messages.
  3. Under the Documents section, you'll find various categories like Top Conversations, Photos, and Videos.
  4. Now, enter the specific category and delete any unnecessary attachments.

Delete Large Attachments of Message

5. Reduce History of Message

4. In addition to clearing out unnecessary message attachments, you can also decide to delete the history of your text messages every now and then to keep your iPad's storage in check. Here's a simple way to do it:

  1. Go to Settings > Messages and find the Keep Messages option.
  2. Choose to keep messages for 30 days or 1 year instead of Forever. You'll then get a prompt to delete older messages. If you're okay with this, go ahead and make the changes. This way, you can regularly clear out your messages.

Reduce History of Message

Erase Your iPad

If the steps I mentioned earlier didn't really do the trick, I'd suggest considering a fresh start for your device. It's a significant move to wipe out the System Data on your iPhone or iPad, but it's worth it, especially when you want a clean slate.

However, before you go for it, make sure to back up your device using iCloud or iTunes. Once that's done, follow these simple steps:

  1. Open Settings > General > Transfer or Reset.
  2. Choose "Erase all content and settings" and tap Continue.
  3. When prompted, choose Restore from Backup and select the most recent backup.
  4. Wait for the restore to finish. Then go to Settings > General > Software Update and install the latest iOS version.
  5. You might see the Home screen before the restore is complete. Wait for the restore to finish before updating your iPhone. You can track the progress in Settings > [your name] > iCloud > iCloud Backup.

Alternatively, you can use iTunes to restore your device. Connect your iPhone to a computer, launch iTunes (macOS Mojave or earlier or Windows)/Finder (macOS Catalina or later), select your device, and then click "Restore iPhone/iPad." Follow the prompts to complete the process.

Erase Your iPad

To Conclude

That's all there was to it. Using these tips and tricks, you can always clear out space on your iPad, even if the system data is huge. This means there will be more room for your apps and saved data! Just make sure to follow the instructions thoroughly!

Maggie Mueller
Meet Maggie Mueller, a seasoned technical writer whose passion for technology is matched only by her commitment to helping others navigate the digital landscape. With an infectious enthusiasm for unraveling the complexities of iOS, Android devices, and software, Maggie is your friendly guide in the world of tech, providing clear, concise, and accurate insights.
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