How to Delete Documents and Data on iPhone and iPad

How to Delete Documents and Data on iPhone and iPad

While Apple has recently come up with quite some handy solutions to ensure their devices never run out space, most iOS users still run into a situation where their devices politely ask them to offload apps to make space for new selfies and songs. Instead of deleting the media files and apps, you can delete what is called Documents and Data. 

Deleting these documents and data will help you to lay off a significant amount of storage burden from your iOS device, without having to delete your favorite files and frequently visited applications. 

Ways to Delete Documents and Data on iPhone and iPad

In this article, we will go through all the ways in which you can delete the unused data and documents from the Apple device. Let’s dive in. 

What does Document and Data Mean on iOS Device?

Before we learn how to delete the documents and data, let us take some time out to really understand what that means on an iOS device. To be straightforward, it is not supposed to be taken literally. The documents and data on an iPhone and iPad mean the caches, preferences, login details, and other app data that is created and stored by a specific application. Most of this data is expendable and may take up a lot of storage in case of certain applications, such as social media. 

This app-related data is not to be confused with the documents and files of iCloud. While the app-related documents and data take up the storage of your iOS device, the iCloud-related files are stored in iCloud itself. These are the same type of files you will find while browsing the iCloud Drive.  

When the situation demands you to free space on the device, the app-related storage is where you go to delete documents and data. Let us find out how.

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How to Clear Documents and Data on iPhone and iPad?

There is more than one way to go about deleting documents and data on the iPhone and iPad. All the methods are easy and can be carried out without the need of any technical knowledge. To learn each of those methods, read on. 

Method 1 – Delete Apps and Redownload Them

The easiest way to delete all the app-related junk or unwanted files from your device is to uninstall an application and reinstall it. To delete an app and then redownload it, follow the steps mentioned below. 

  • Go to “Settings”
  • Tap on “General” 
  • Scroll to “Storage & iCloud Usage” and tap on it
  • Navigate to “Manage Storage” in the top section
  • Tap on different apps to check their Documents & Data
  • Select an app that takes the most space
  • Tap on “Delete” and confirm 
  • Go to “App Store”
  • Search for the same app in the search bar
  • Tap “Download” 

We recommend you to check your social media applications first, such as Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and even LinkedIn. These applications store much data regarding login details and preferences. 

If you already know which applications may have taken the most space on your iPhone or/and iPad, you can follow a simpler path which is mentioned below.

  • Turn on the device 
  • Long press the icon of the application you want to delete
  • Tap on the “×” that will appear at the top left corner of the icon
  • Select “Delete”

This will uninstall the application. Now you can head to the App Store and redownload it. 

However, the documents and data will again begin to re-accumulate and take up space on your device as soon as you reinstall the application. In the cases of applications like Twitter and Instagram, the data is usually cache from images and videos. This kind of data is not usually critical but can take up a lot of space. Other applications follow suit and after some weeks you are back to square one where the device is again asking you to free some space. This recurring cycle can be quite frustrating especially when there is no single button provided to delete documents and data from different apps on the device all at once. 

While you cannot really eliminate this situation, you can use other methods to postpone it.

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Method 2 – Delete “Other” Files

Most iOS users come across the “Other” storage when they first connect their device to a computer and see it enlisted in the iTunes usage bar graph. With the rest of the storage graph being clearly labeled, “Other” may come across as vague, mysterious, and even surprising since it takes up so much space on the device. To check the “Other” space consumption on your device,

  • Go to “Settings”
  • Tap on “General”
  • Navigate to “Usage”

The bar on the top section will show the storage that is consumed and available. In the consumed section, you will be able to view how much storage is taken by the “Other”. You can even connect your device with a computer via iTunes to get the exact number (in MB or GB) by tapping on the yellow bar. 

To delete these other files, tap on the used-up storage and see which application is taking most space. Delete and re-download the application that seems to be having the maximum amount of document and data. 

If this again doesn’t work for you and you want a long-lasting solution and head to method 3.

Method 3 – Delete the iCloud Documents and Data 

This is simpler because you don’t have to delete it app by app. You can simply remove the entire documents and data of multiple applications from one place. Since the data stored on iCloud does not affect the device directly, it is a better alternative if you want to take a backup of your iPhone or iPad before factory setting it and removing a large chunk of app-related documents and data from the device.

To offload the storage from iCloud,

  • Open “Settings”
  • Go to “General” 
  • Navigate to “Storage & iCloud Usage”
  • Scroll under the “iCloud” option and tap on “Manage Storage”
  • Scroll down until you see “Documents & Data” and then tap on the app you want to remove the Documents & Data from
  • Select “Edit” then “Delete”

Method 4 – Reset the Device to Factory Mode 

Resetting your device to the factory mode will delete all of your media files, applications, documents, and data. It is recommended to take a backup before restoring your device lest you lose all your important files and data permanently with no chance of getting them back. 

To take a backup on iCloud,

  • Go to “Settings”
  • Tap on “iCloud”
  • Toggle “iCloud Backup” on 
  • Scroll down and tap on “Back Up Now”

Once, the device has backed up, it is time for factory resetting. 

  • Go to “Settings”
  • Tap on “General”
  • Select “Reset” and then “Erase All Content and Settings”
  • Type your passcode 
  • Confirm you want to reset the device
  • Put in your Apple ID password and reconfirm

Alternatively, you can also reset via iTunes. When you plug in your device, you will see a “Reset Button”. Tap it and it will reset your iPhone or iPad in factory mode. This will effectively clean all the documents and data as well. 


In this article, you will know all the possible methods of how you can go about iPad and iPhone documents and data cleanup. The article also guides you through two types of documents and files. After having finished the read, you should be left with sufficient space in your iOS device.

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