RAW Computing

Recover gigabytes of lost disk space

Do you have an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad? If you do then you will no doubt have downloaded and installed many apps from the iTunes store. There are hundreds of thousands of apps and a large proportion of them are free. It's great fun downloading and playing with these apps and there are some fantastic ones. There are also some duds and after trying them for a while you might decide that you don't like them and they are deleted. As the number of apps builds up on your device they tend to get in the way with screen after screen of icons. They also consume valuable memory too. Every so often you might have a clear out and delete those that you rarely use.

So far, so good. However, iTunes, in an effort to be friendly and helpful, stores all your apps on the computer's hard disk drive every time you plug in the device and sync it. If you delete an app off your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, it is deleted on the device, but iTunes keeps it on the computer's disk drive. You may have dozens or even hundreds of apps on the disk that you deleted from the device ages ago. Some apps are hundreds of megabytes and so you may have several gigabytes of backed up apps on the computer's disk that you no longer want. You should remove them to recover the wasted disk space.

Show me the apps

I'm going to use a Mac for this because I sync my iPhone with a MacBook, but all this applies to iTunes running on Windows computers too.

Start iTunes and click Apps in the left-hand panel. All the apps are displayed in the window and if you right click one and select Reveal in Finder, a Finder window opens to show the folder where iTunes stores all your apps. (iTunes in Windows will open an Explorer window.)

iOS apps

Change to List view (Details view in Windows) and you can see the sizes of all the apps. Click the size column header to sort by size and you'll get a good idea of the amount of disk space they are using. Some apps, and this is true of games in particular, are hundreds of megabytes and if they have been deleted from the device then they are just wasting disk space.

What you need to do is to right click the apps in iTunes that you have deleted from your device and select Delete. Choose the option to move them to the Trash (or Recycle Bin) and then empty the Trash (Recycle Bin). You may be surprised by the amount of space wasted by deleted apps and the amount of space recovered.

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