Apps on mobile devices tend to occupy a lot of space over time. With every bit of use, these apps accumulate huge chunks of data, some of which become useless (junk) as time goes by. But being a mobile device, it’s not recommended to keep them (app cache, cookies, temporary files, log files, etc.), especially when the available space tends to be low.
On iOS, junk files are cleaned up automatically when the device nears its storage limit. However, you might want to clean up these files manually for maintenance purposes. Here are a few tips that will help you to remove unnecessary app data without jailbreaking your iOS device.
Apps accumulate a lot of data over the course of time with usage. This data can be regarded as non-critical, since it can be regenerated easily. Such data may be classified into four broad categories:
Cache: Apps often store data locally from where it can be easily fetched. This locally stored data is known as cache. Data which is not present in cache need to be fetched from the original source, which usually takes a longer time compared to fetching data from the cache. Cache files help to improve app performance, but occupy a considerable part of the device storage over time.
Cookies: A cookie is a piece of data stored on your device that helps to maintain the app state and its connection with the server. Cookies store information about your login, preferences and other personal data. They also help maintain the user sessions within apps.
Error Logs: In the event of an app crash or an error, logs are created that record the incident. These logs may be helpful to developers for debugging purposes to find out the cause of the crash event.
Temp Files: Apps create temporary files during their operation. These files are rarely used afterwards and some of them remain on your device.
Clean up junk data from app settings
Some apps on iOS allow you to perform clean up of app cache, cookies, temporary files, etc. For example, most web browsers for iOS have the option to clear cache and cookies in the respective app settings. If you want to know how to clean up cache and cookies from popular iOS web browsers, check out this page. Some other apps also provide similar clean up options. But you need to manually check them since the availability and position of such options varies among different apps.
Clean up junk using memory management apps
With the new version of iOS, it is now possible for apps to access and clean cache and temporary files belonging to other apps. This lets developers to create memory management apps much like the ones found on Android. The latest version of Battery Doctor is one such app which takes advantage of cache memory access to clean unwanted junk files from your iOS device (eg. iPhone, iPad).
Clear app cache using Battery Doctor
- Download and install Battery Doctor from the App Store.
- Launch the app and go to Junk tab.
- Tap on the SCAN button to scan and remove all cache, temporary and other junk files.
Note: Battery Doctor does not provide the option for app-specific clean up. Once activated, the process will delete all junk files from all the apps.
Clear memory (RAM) using Battery Doctor
Battery Doctor also lets you clean up the RAM and boost the performance of your iOS device. Here is what you should do to clean up the RAM on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.
- Launch Battery Doctor.
- Go to the Accelerate tab. Here, the app will calculate and display the amount of available free RAM.
- Tap on REALLOCATE to reduce memory usage.
Clear App Data using iTunes
One of the easier ways to clear an app’s “Documents & Data”, is to uninstall the particular app and then re-install it again. The freshly installed app won’t contain any additional (junk) data. You can uninstall and re-install apps from your device itself, but doing so from iTunes saves you the trouble of re-downloading them, if offline backup is available.
Clear Cache, Cookies with Desktop client
Using PhoneClean (paid)
PhoneClean is a desktop application available for Mac and Windows, which offers a one stop solution to clean up all unnecessary files from your iOS device. It is a paid software, but the free version will only show you how much junk the application is capable of cleaning.
The app home screen presents a number of scan modes. However, the Quick Clean and Deep Clean modes are the most useful for cleaning up unwanted files like cache, cookies, logs, temp files, etc.
- The Quick Clean mode can remove unwanted files generated by apps, such as Temp Files, App Cache, App Cookies and App Crash Logs.
- The Deep Clean Mode, on the other hand, goes deeper and removes private data from the device, like call history, messages, web browsing history, notifications, background active apps, etc.
How to use PhoneClean?
- Download and install the appropriate version of PhoneClean on your Mac or PC.
- Connect your iOS device via USB.
- Launch the PhoneClean application on your computer. It should automatically detect the connected iOS device.
- Select Quick Clean mode and enable scanning for all the desired categories.
- Click on the Start Scan button to scan for all the junk data present on the device.
- After PhoneClean has successfully scanned the device, pick out the individual entries (Ex. specific apps) that you want to clean data for.
- Step 7: When the selection is done, click on the Clean button. This will clean up all the selected items from your device (provided, of course, you have the paid version of PhoneClean).
Using iFunBox (free)
PhoneClean is a beautiful space management software for iOS devices. But then again, it’s a paid software. If you are looking for similar junk cleaning functionality in a free software, iFunBox is one of the best options. iFunBox is not a cleaning software; rather, it’s a desktop application that acts as a file browser and app manager for your iOS device. It allows you to browse specific app directories, so you can access the app cache and cookie folders and then delete the files within, to free up space on your device. But this process has to be performed manually (going into each app’s cache and cookie folders and deleting individual files). Follow the steps below to use iFunBox to clean up your device memory:
- Download and install the appropriate version of iFunBox (Windows or Mac).
- Connect your iOS device via USB.
- Launch the iFunBox application on your computer. It should automatically detect the connected iOS device.
- Click on the “iFunBox Classic” tab from the top of the screen.
- On the left pane, navigate to Connected Devices >> <Device Name> >> User Applications.
- Select the specific app and open Library. The contents of the directory are displayed on the right pane.
- Open Caches folder on the right pane >> Select all the files (if any) and delete them.
- Similarly, open Cookies folder and delete all the files to clear cookies.
- Continue the same steps for all the apps that you want to remove cache and cookies.
Cleaning up junk files helps your device to run smoother and free up space. If you know of any other mobile apps or desktop applications that perform similar actions, contribute to this article by providing useful comments below.