Anyone concerned about iMessage attachments permanently eating up storage?

Discussion in 'iOS 6' started by Jim L, Mar 16, 2013.

  1. Jim L, Mar 16, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2013

    Jim L macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2011
    Location:
    The Piedmont, NC
    #1
    I was listening to MacCast today at the gym and was shocked to learn about such a horrible bug in IOS/iMessage that could be causing a lot of people problems on their iPhones/iPads/iPods.

    The issue is that when an SMS message is sent and IOS decides to use iMessage (wifi and bypasses the mobile carrier's text system) any attachments are saved permanently in the device's database and in the backups! Even after you delete the message or the message thread, the attachments are NOT deleted.

    The upshot of this is that the only way to deal with it now is to jailbreak your phone. I'm not jailbreaker so I don't recommend this and I don't need or want this myself. But some i-devices have VERY constrained storage. My first iPhone (iPhone 4) had only 16 GB. My current iPad is 16 GB.

    Apparently Apple has not addressed this, but I see it as a major bug.

    What do others think?
     
  2. adcx64 macrumors 65816

    adcx64

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #2
    There's a period of time that goes by until the phone deletes the attachment caches. After you delete a conversation, you can see it still shows up in a Spotlight search, this is because the system hasn't deleted it yet. It will, however delete it after time. If it bothers you too much, you could jailbreak and use iFile. Jailbreaking is really not as bad as you make it seem.
     
  3. darricksailo macrumors 601

    darricksailo

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2012
    #3
    The problem has been fixed starting with iOS 6.1. If you are truly against jailbreaking, you can use a program like ibackupbot and make your custom restore package without all the SMS/iMessage attachments. And then restore from backup

    I personally don't know how and it sounds VERY tedious since using ibackupbot, you cannot remove individual files from the restore. You have to export all the files except for those attachment folders/files and then afterwards, make a custom one





    Another solution would be to jailbreak, download iFile from cydia. Open iFile and browse to the file system /var/mobile/Library/SMS/Attachments and delete all the folders inside there.

    Now, make a backup via iTunes. Restore to iOS 6.1.2 and then restore from the backup. Now you no longer have all those SMS/iMessage attachments/pictures and are not jailbroken. Personally, I would recommend the second solution since you would end up NOT being jailbroken in the end
     
  4. jollino macrumors 6502

    jollino

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    Nov 15, 2006
    Location:
    Chieti, Italy
    #4
    Did you try this personally or are you speculating? I remember jailbreaking iOS 3 and it was such a pain in the neck that I'm not entirely at ease with the idea.
     
  5. darricksailo macrumors 601

    darricksailo

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2012
    #5
    It's what I did personally. Too late for any untether jailbreaking options if you're on 6.1.3 for a 3GS/4 and too late for any kind of jailbreaking option for the 4s and 5

    You don't have to jailbreak. Jailbreak is not for everyone. You can just restore and start as new if the remnants of mms pictures bother you
     
  6. jollino macrumors 6502

    jollino

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2006
    Location:
    Chieti, Italy
    #6
    Yep, looked that up after writing the post. Aside from being late for JBing now, the reason I'm mostly concerned about it is that I'm a registered developer and the feeling I got back in the day — surely things are more refined now, but you know how it is — was that the JB touches quite a few things.

    Anyway, I used iBackupBot to remove the evil files from a backup, and I have started the restoring procedure. It's downloading 6.1.3 as I speak, we'll see how it goes. The trial version of iBackupBot didn't complain about anything so I suppose it's enough. The backup size did indeed become 1.5 GB smaller.

    I could go for a restore as new, it's not a big deal in my case (though I'll admit, albeit not very loudly, that I'd be quite annoyed at losing my sudoku stats), though my father's iPad 3 would be a problem to restore as new, given that he's not that tech-savvy and he has it set it up just the way he likes.

    If the procedure works, I'll replicate it on his iPad. The main reason this annoys me is that on my iPhone the iCloud backup takes 1.5 GB even after setting all the apps to "off".

    We'll see how it goes...
     
  7. Xenomorph macrumors 65816

    Xenomorph

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2008
    Location:
    St. Louis
    #7
    Modifying the backup to restore from may not work.
    You cannot delete files from the backup (iTunes will not restore a backup with missing files, as the backup manifest specifies that they should exist), but you *can* overwrite them with zero byte files. The SMS Attachments remain, but take up zero bytes. Restoring zero byte files will cause your device to reboot a few times after restore. I don't know if that causes any issues.

    The only "real" solutions are to Restore fresh to 6.1+ (and not restore from backup), or Jailbreak and manually delete the files.


    What method did you use to get iBackupBot to *remove* files from the backup? What and where did you click? This was not possible before.
     
  8. jollino macrumors 6502

    jollino

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2006
    Location:
    Chieti, Italy
    #8
    The modified backup did indeed work. I was concerned about CRC errors until the very end, but everything went smoothly and my next iCloud backup is scheduled to be a mere 780 MB (including all apps), compared to the 1.5 GB (without any app) required before the pruning.

    In iBackupBot 4.0.1 I chose my backup from the left pane, went to System Files, MediaDomain, Library, SMS, Attachments and in the main pane I selected all the folders and simply hit the "delete" button in the toolbar on top. That's really it, no problems whatsoever. I had deleted all SMS/iMessage conversations on the phone before making the backup, just for extra caution, and it's been smooth sailing.

    I'll do the same with my father's iPad this weekend, as I have a copy of his backup here and he also seems to have a lot of junk in that folder.
     
  9. Brazuca macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2003
    #9
    I'm curious if this is what iTunes reports of "Other" data. I currently have about 3Gb of this and I have no idea where it comes from. Even after a Restore. Could this be related to the media in saved chats, etc that get saved into the backup?
     
  10. darricksailo macrumors 601

    darricksailo

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2012
    #10
    This is ONE of the many things that fall under other. Notice the word other is extremely vague so anything that's not music, pictures/videos, or apps will fall under other which include SMS, MMS, safari cache just to name a few.
     
  11. iMrNiceGuy0023 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2009
    #11
    Im jailbroken so I went in to see how much space my attachments took up, it was 8 gigs! I have a 32 GB iPhone 5, so im going to clear out some of the attachmets to have more space
     
  12. tonyr6 macrumors 6502a

    tonyr6

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2011
    Location:
    Brooklyn NY
    #12
    DOES EVERYTHING REQUIRE A JAILBREAK. I mean it EVERYTHING.
    So you are saying that if I got GB's of space wasting away in Other I even have to jailbreak just to clear it or restore my device as new and lose all of my settings. Total bull.
    :mad::mad:
     
  13. darricksailo macrumors 601

    darricksailo

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2012
    #13
    YES! Apple does not allow any type of freedom with the device so you can only do what they want you to do if the device isn't jailbroken. In iOS, the "file system" doesn't exist (unlike with many other OS's out there)

    Yes, that's the only option. Jailbreak and delete the files manually or restore and start as new. Take your anger out on apple, but I doubt they'll listen.
     
  14. Simplicated macrumors 65816

    Simplicated

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2008
    Location:
    Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
    #14
    If you delete a conversation the attachments are deleted immediately if you are on iOS 6.1 or later. The spotlight search results are only indexes and consume minimal storage.
     
  15. darricksailo macrumors 601

    darricksailo

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    Dec 18, 2012
    #15
    That's assuming that you didn't delete the message containing the attachment pre-iOS 6.1
     
  16. BlaqkAudio macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2008
    Location:
    New York
    #16
    Backup through iTunes, use the iBackupBot trial to delete attachments in the backup, then restore to your device.

    You can also use this chance to delete any files left from a previous jailbreak.
     
  17. hexonxonx macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2007
    Location:
    Denver Colorado
    #17
    I'm glad my 4S never deletes them unless I delete them.

    I have MMS messages going back to 2009 and there were some pictures that I was looking for and was able to save them again to my camera roll.

    I never delete text messages or MMS.
     

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