Are your iCloud backups ridiculously large? Here's why...

Discussion in 'Apple Music, Apple Pay, iCloud, Apple Services' started by besweeet2, Oct 31, 2012.

  1. besweeet2 macrumors member


    Sep 14, 2012
    San Antonio, TX
    (Copied from my original post on my tech blog.)

    A few days ago, a message popped up on my iPhone, saying that I’m almost out of storage on my 5GB iCloud account. It turns out that my iPhone 5 iCloud backup was ridiculously large, especially considering I tend to keep my camera roll empty. Why would the backup be so huge? After a quick investigation, I found out why.

    One thing to note is that this problem, at least on my end, occurred in iOS 5 as well as iOS 6. More on that in a bit…

    Because I rarely keep anything inside of my Camera Roll, I knew that it couldn’t have been related to anything regarding my photos. When I bought my iPhone 5, I started fresh. Because of how locked-down iOS is, a user can’t simply browse all of the device’s filesystem (without a jailbreak at least, however there are ways to view directories, but not all of them). Fortunately, DiskAid is able to view the Media folder, located in /var/mobile/Media. I went through these folders to find something suspicious, but couldn’t find anything.

    Long story short, whenever you clear out a conversation in the Messages app, whether it be an SMS or an iMessage, the app might not actually be removing all of your sent and received attachments. This also occurred in iOS 5, which is why I always used iFile to periodically remove everything in /var/mobile/Library/SMS/Attachments, as the Messages application wouldn’t do that, for whatever reason.

    I found this out by first doing a completely new device backup inside of iTunes, and using a free Mac OS X application called “iPhone Backup Extractor” to take a look at what was actually backed up.

    Sure enough, the “Attachments” folder within my particular backup is well over 4GBs in size, despite me deleting all of my open conversations prior to creating the backup. I found attachments that I sent and received over a month ago, which could also be thought of as a potential security threat.

    So, how would one be able to solve this? Unless you’re jailbroken, there’s nothing you can do, but hope that Apple fixes this in iOS 6.0.1. If you happen to be jailbroken, whether it be on iOS 5 or iOS 6, you can easily use iFile to navigate to the /var/mobile/Library/SMS/Attachments folder to delete everything in there.
  2. Xenomorph macrumors 65816


    Aug 6, 2008
    St. Louis
    I know this is an old post, but I found it after looking up why MY "Other" and backups were so big.

    My device, after removing *everything*, all apps/games, music, photos, etc, then clearing all caches, deleting all SMS conversations (the whole routine), still had ~2GB of "Other", and ~2GB worth of backups (locally and to iCloud).

    I loaded iExplorer and saw the /Library/SMS/Attachments folder had EVERY image I've sent or received, plus thumbnail. ~2GB worth of images I didn't need, didn't want, etc.
  3. kyussmondo macrumors member

    Apr 7, 2010
    Isn't the whole idea of a backup to keep everything even deleted stuff? It could come in handy if you accidentally delete something important.
  4. ronswanson macrumors newbie

    Sep 30, 2012

    This is insane!

    Has Apple fixed this yet??! 2 GB of crap being hauled around and preventing me from backing up stuff I actually need (like my camera roll). iOS 6.0.1 has come and gone and I seem to have this problem. Any fix?
  5. Resist macrumors 68030

    Jan 15, 2008
    Recently my iPhone 5 is telling me it can't backup via iCloud because there's not enough space. It says that I only have 816MB of space available of 5GB on iCloud. In my Backup Options, I only have the Camera Roll turned on. I know pictures can take up a lot of space but it doesn't seem like 1250 pictures would fill almost 5GB.
  6. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    The pictures aren't the only thing being backed up. And the backup isn't the only thing that might be taking space in iCloud. Doing a quick check on the web, apparently the average file size for photos from the iPhone 5 is 2.4MB which means with 1250 pictures, photos alone take up 3GB of the backup - that doesn't mean there's much room to back up the rest of the phone.
  7. Resist, Aug 4, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2013

    Resist macrumors 68030

    Jan 15, 2008
    But as I stated, Camera Roll is the only thing I have set to be backed up and I thought pictures weren't supposed to be counted against our iClould storage amount.

Share This Page