OK, I have found what my "other" files are (on my device) - they are files that do not meet the classification as defined by the "Capacity" utility.
In other words, they are files that were NOT purchased from the iTunes Store or photographs, in my cae they are files that I have stored on my iphone for my MBA so I could carry important University administration documents with me at all times and I simply access them through the mbDrive app.
When I remove them I am left with a small number of "Other" files which I can only assume are configuration and support files for my installed apps.
The huge bar of yellow "other" on my iPad 2 was driving me nuts too--expanding to several gigs with no clear reason. By accident I found something that worked for me: Turn the iPad off (not just click it to sleep, but really turn it off), wait a few minutes, and THEN, while it's off, plug it into the computer to sync. In my case, the yellow bar goes down to a thin sliver, the way it's supposed to look. This has worked several times for me. Of course, it doesn't solve the mystery of what's in that "other" bar (some kind of cache that's cleared out with a shutdown?), but it's giving me my space back.
I have described a simple and effective method of dealing with "other" data in my blog:
Nearly 8 GB taken up by “other”. That smelled like someone not doing his homework. While I understand that apps need (temporary and permanent) storage capacity for things like a browser cache, downloaded files, sent messages and similar things, 8 GB is way too much for that kind of stuff.
When I searched the web looking for a way to reduce the size of “other”, I was astonished by the number of people with exactly the same problem. None of them seemed to have a solution, though. The usual tips (closing apps, restarting, restoring the device from a backup) certainly did not seem to help.
Obviously the growth of the “other” category is a combination of bugs in various applications (including Apple’s) not cleaning up their temporary files and a lack of the corresponding cleanup functionality in the operating system.
I have tried every trick that I've read on these discussion boards except for restoring my device as a new phone. If I do that, what's to prevent the other category from eating up my phone again? It's at 9.7 GB right now, it's getting bigger. I believe it's a flaw in IOS 5 since many people all of a sudden started having this problem.
I am going to try iExplorer to see if I can identify what all this bloated other stuff contains. Thanks for the post.
OK, I have a 32GB iPad 2 and up until 2 minutes ago, 5.2GB was being used by "Other". Using iExplorer I was able to determine that iTunes was not completely deleting my movie and TV shows from the \Media\iTunes_Control\iTunes\Music\Fxx folders (music may be included here as well but I don't sync much music to my iPad) after syncing.
I noticed several large files (100MB up to 1GB) that were not labeled as mp3's or mp4's in the "file type" column. The files were labeled as a file type of the name of the movie or tv show - they are easy to spot. I went through each Fxx folder deleted the "unknown" file types (they will not play if you right click and select open in iExplorer). After syncing I confirmed that all movies and tv shows that should be sync'd (as per my itunes settings) have been and are working fine. Some of the files I deleted were for movies that I had removed several months ago (20 syncs or more).
My iPad is not jailbroken nor has it ever been. After syncing one more time, my Other shrunk from 5.2GB and is now sitting at 0.23GB (I have some comics on there). May not work for everyone but it worked for me. I tried all restarting and rebooting, unsyncing and resyncing tricks listed. I had no items in my purchases folder as mentioned by HiroPro above but his suggestion did point me in the right direction. Thanks HiroPro!
Good luck, hope this works for the rest of you!
I think I might have found out what a possible issue is here - facebook. My iPhone ran out of space while I was watching a YouTube video via the Facebook app. I thought this was quite odd as ive a 16gb iphone 4 with at least half that unused. When i went to the settings i find that all available memory is gone. I then go to close a few apps so I can speed up the phone and investigate the issue. However I've noticed my Facebook app is doing something I've never seen an app do before - it's currently greyed out with "Cleaning..." written under it. In the last 15 minutes since Facebook started to clean 950MB have become available; and it's still counting.
I wonder if the new facebook time line layout is causing issues with the way the app stores its cache or temporary files. It looks as if the Facebook app is at the very least storing a gig of temporary files on my phone.
I finally had to restore my phone and create it as a new device. It worked. It's really easy if you have an iCloud backup, your contacts and calendar pop right back onto your phone. Make sure you save your photos onto your PC or other computer before you restore, because you will lose them. I also had to reconfigure my e-mail accounts but that's pretty easy.
If you want to restore it without plugging into iTunes go to Settings, General, Reset and choose Erase All Contacts and Settings. That will put it back to factory settings. When you set it up as a new device as soon as you log into your iCloud account your contacts and calendar will be back on your phone.
My other category got to 11Gb on my 16 GB phone, I only had 146 mb of space left on the phone, so I finally gave in and restored it.
Unfortunately this didn't work for me. I have a brand new iPad 3. I set it up as a new iPad, not a "restore." While I do have plenty of email on the other iPad, I haven't set up any of those accounts yet, so there is no way it is from email or attachments of any kind. I have only synced ONCE, not even selecting my full audio and photo files as even though I have the biggest iPad possible, they won't all fit. So I now have 22.4GB of Other. Check that, it just went up to 22.7GB when I did the turn it off, plug it in while off approach. I noted someone else feeling like Facebook could be causing it. So I deleted FB app. No impact. I literally only have apps and selected photos selected to sync right now, and I still can't sync the iPad because I don't have enough space. It shows 5.4GB free on the status bar yet when I click "apply" it says I don't have enough room.
In other words, I have synced once on a brand new iPad with no other attachments, mail, contacts, etc. selected and I somehow have nearly 23GB of Other. Add this issue to the iTunes 10.6 upgrade debacle... Amazing how other companies can have much smaller issues and get skewered and yet these MAJOR product failures get no coverage by the press and no answer by Apple. NOT impressed with Apple right now...
Despite my rant, any suggestions from anyone else as to why Other is so high on a brand new install?
I had this problem on my iPhone 4, tons of mystery "other" space eating up half my drive space.
The cause? I had a habit of shooting 20 photos on my iPhone, plugging it into my PC, opening My Computer, locating the iPhone as a drive, and dragging/dropping the photos onto my desktop. I'd then go into that window and delete the 20 photos I'd just drag/dropped. Well, turns out the iPhone doesn't 'see' those files as removed. They're removed from points of visibility (like in the window, on the Camera Roll, etc.) but the actual files are still living there secretly and silently. Having taken hours of HD video on a Europe vacation, it was a real point of congestion.
The solution? I did some Google digging, downloaded the iExplore program, navigated thru the media sub-sub folders and found thousands of these files. Clicking on them, there were all my old photos that I thought I deleted. I highlighted all of them, hit the 'delete' key, cold-rebooted the iPhone, cold-rebooted the notebook and iTunes. Upon the next sync, they were gone forever.
Others are reporting movies, TV shows, and other forms of digital media all failing to be truly deleted from the device. That's the culprit.
Hope this helps.
I agree with you about Apple not offering any solution when this problem is affecting many people. My iPhone Other category got so big that I had no space left on my phone. I restored it and set it up as a new device and the other category is just a small sliver like it's supposed to be.
I bought the new iPad and restored my iPad onto it and everything is working correctly.
I tried every single solution I could find on these boards and nothing worked except the full restore as a new device. It's a pain but with iCloud at least it's easy to get back contacts and calendar. Everything else can be re-created fairly easily.
Since you just set up your iPad I would put it back to factory settings and try again. Apple should fix this problem but in the mean time we are stuck with this annoying problem.
Since I posted my message about the problem with "Other" occupying the disk space for no reason, more than three months have gone by. In the meantime other people have complained in this thread about it and showed that it appeared out of situations different from mine. It's pretty clear --- at least to me and my limited know-how in OS --- that it is not 'this' or 'that' that makes the problem appear but something more systemic and uglier, maybe deeper in the core. Or maybe it's really mundane and the good people at Apple simply don't care about their customers.
I had over 5gb of "other" space on my ipad. I tried pretty much everything listed in these replies as well as on other posts/sites (hard reset, reset all settings, restore from backup, etc etc). The only thing I didn't try is setup as new, as I have some app data I didn't want to lose.
The only thing I found that worked for me is to uncheck syncing for all movies, tv shows and music. The other was still there. I then went into my ipad via iphone explorer and under the Media/Itunes Control/Music folder there were still A LOT of folders (starting with F..) with .mp3 and.m4v files (which there should be none one would think as there are no movies or music left on my ipad). After I deleted every folder and then restarted my ipad my other was down to 300MB.
I then just re-synced all of my movies, tv shows and music and all is good. It took a little time but I recovered 4.5 GB of space.
I believe that over time when you delete movies and music files either manually or through iTunes there are a bunch that for whatever reason just don't get deleted, and although you cannot access or see them on your iPad they are indeed still there.
Hope this helps.