iPhone How can iPhone run on 0 KB free?

jwolf6589

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Dec 15, 2010
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Colorado
A guy at church is technology challenged. I offered to look at his ancient phone which is an iPhone 5 running iOS 10 with 0KB of free space. He says he can’t do anything but call on it. I wonder why he has a smart phone and next time I see him will suggest a flip phone if T-Mobile still carries them. The phone is a 16GB model and why he has no space as that was not enough for a phone. I suggested he upgrade but he does not want too or can’t afford it so my hands are tied on what to do for him.

so the question is. How can a iPhone run on 0KB free?
 

TiggrToo

macrumors 68020
Aug 24, 2017
2,086
4,639
Out there...way out there
A guy at church is technology challenged. I offered to look at his ancient phone which is an iPhone 5 running iOS 10 with 0KB of free space. He says he can’t do anything but call on it. I wonder why he has a smart phone and next time I see him will suggest a flip phone if T-Mobile still carries them. The phone is a 16GB model and why he has no space as that was not enough for a phone. I suggested he upgrade but he does not want too or can’t afford it so my hands are tied on what to do for him.

so the question is. How can a iPhone run on 0KB free?
My guess to the question "How can a iPhone run on 0KB free?" would be "Badly".

I'd have thought that the phone isn't able to do much other than basically survive, hence why your friend can only call on it.

If that's the case then doing a total wipe and reinstall might be enough to allow the phone to do more. Obviously this will result in the loss of anything stored on there that's not backed up elsewhere.

That said, your friend may have one or more apps on their phone consuming space - and that can be anything from email to photos to Facebook etc.

Out of interest, what version of iOS is on the device?
 
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macintoshmac

macrumors 68040
May 13, 2010
3,838
3,390
1. Help him offload some data to his computer to free up space on his iPhone.
2. The iPhone is able to function on 0 KB free since it already uses what it needs to work, the rest is used up in storage, it could be 0 KB or 1 GB/ PB/ EB.

That said, processes do consume space dynamically and disks slow down as they get filled up, resulting in a phone that slows down as it gets filled up aided by both of these factors. Just help the person offload data to their computer and they will be able to enjoy the iPhone 5 for some more years while apps support their software and hardware.
 
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ApfelKuchen

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2012
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Between the coasts
16 GB may not be enough for most people these days, but it can be managed. Hundreds of millions of people did manage. The primary reason people need more storage when they upgrade/replace their old devices (whether computer or mobile device) is that they don't do enough housecleaning - they just move everything over and keep adding more.

If he was using it just as a phone, it wouldn't be full. He's doing something - photos, text messages, music, apps that have been downloaded but not used.... each person is different.

The answer is to find out just what's using the space, and delete what's not needed. For someone who doesn't know how to manage his iPhone, there will undoubtedly be stuff that's not needed.

If I remember correctly for iOS 10 it was still: Settings > General > iPhone & iCloud Storage > iPhone Storage > Manage Storage. The list of apps there is organized based on what's using the most storage, so it shouldn't be hard to figure out where you need to do some housecleaning.
 

Tech198

macrumors G5
Mar 21, 2011
14,856
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Australia, Perth
16 GB may not be enough for most people these days, but it can be managed. Hundreds of millions of people did manage. The primary reason people need more storage when they upgrade/replace their old devices (whether computer or mobile device) is that they don't do enough housecleaning - they just move everything over and keep adding more.

If he was using it just as a phone, it wouldn't be full. He's doing something - photos, text messages, music, apps that have been downloaded but not used.... each person is different.

The answer is to find out just what's using the space, and delete what's not needed. For someone who doesn't know how to manage his iPhone, there will undoubtedly be stuff that's not needed.

If I remember correctly for iOS 10 it was still: Settings > General > iPhone & iCloud Storage > iPhone Storage > Manage Storage. The list of apps there is organized based on what's using the most storage, so it shouldn't be hard to figure out where you need to do some housecleaning.
Convenience triumphs again.

(I liked the good old days when you actually walked over to a light switch to turn it "on" or "off")
 

jwolf6589

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Dec 15, 2010
1,895
295
Colorado
16 GB may not be enough for most people these days, but it can be managed. Hundreds of millions of people did manage. The primary reason people need more storage when they upgrade/replace their old devices (whether computer or mobile device) is that they don't do enough housecleaning - they just move everything over and keep adding more.

If he was using it just as a phone, it wouldn't be full. He's doing something - photos, text messages, music, apps that have been downloaded but not used.... each person is different.

The answer is to find out just what's using the space, and delete what's not needed. For someone who doesn't know how to manage his iPhone, there will undoubtedly be stuff that's not needed.

If I remember correctly for iOS 10 it was still: Settings > General > iPhone & iCloud Storage > iPhone Storage > Manage Storage. The list of apps there is organized based on what's using the most storage, so it shouldn't be hard to figure out where you need to do some housecleaning.
well my Apple Watch has 16GB which is fine. I have 9.3GB free.
- - Post merged: - -

My guess to the question "How can a iPhone run on 0KB free?" would be "Badly".

I'd have thought that the phone isn't able to do much other than basically survive, hence why your friend can only call on it.

If that's the case then doing a total wipe and reinstall might be enough to allow the phone to do more. Obviously this will result in the loss of anything stored on there that's not backed up elsewhere.

That said, your friend may have one or more apps on their phone consuming space - and that can be anything from email to photos to Facebook etc.

Out of interest, what version of iOS is on the device?
iOS is 10
 

Minorite

macrumors 6502
May 8, 2018
491
115
Poland
Really bad. After importing a bit more data than I should last week and filling my space to 0 Kb I had a wonderful bunch of crashes from apps, random restarts, posessed Photos app and I guess smth else that I haven't noticed.

As iOS with "Other" will normally eat around 10-12 GB, there's not much he can do. Just delete all apps except WhatsApp and Facebook (generally just keep 2-3 main messengers), not to use any email app and just a browser version instead, use iCloud sync for messages to reduce space used by media in messages.

Also he should export all photos to a computer and delete them from the phone (not from DCIM folder!!!!!).

p.s. Used SE is really cheap and even getting a 32GB model will be an upgrade in this case. Also it should have iOS 14 support according to rumors.
 

ApfelKuchen

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2012
3,588
2,228
Between the coasts
well my Apple Watch has 16GB which is fine. I have 9.3GB free.
Not a particularly useful comparison, considering there are relatively few demands placed on Watch storage compared to iPhone. I didn't have storage issues on my 512 MB First Generation Watch. On my 12 GB Series 4 I have 6.9 GB Used, which is almost identical to the 6.7 Used on your Series 5.

Speaking more broadly in terms of human behavior... People have a choices when it comes to living with limited resources. I've lived in fairly large houses as well as modestly-sized apartments. It's relatively easy to keep a large house neat-looking - there is usually empty closet and cabinet space for new purchases, and the impact of a few out-of-place items may seem small amidst those wide-open spaces. Keeping a smaller living space neat requires a more constant level of effort, and some attention paid to whether one has the space for a new acquisition. One is more likely to have to dispose of some old stuff to make room for the new. Even so, eventually even a large home can become cluttered.

Someone who is still using an iPhone 5 may have limited finances, or just have different spending priorities. Whether it's by choice or necessity, a bit of "sweat equity" may be required to live within those smaller quarters. It's not a matter of what someone "should" have, it's a matter of dealing with what they do have. There's no mystery as to how to cope with it.
 

jwolf6589

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Dec 15, 2010
1,895
295
Colorado
Not a particularly useful comparison, considering there are relatively few demands placed on Watch storage compared to iPhone. I didn't have storage issues on my 512 MB First Generation Watch. On my 12 GB Series 4 I have 6.9 GB Used, which is almost identical to the 6.7 Used on your Series 5.

Speaking more broadly in terms of human behavior... People have a choices when it comes to living with limited resources. I've lived in fairly large houses as well as modestly-sized apartments. It's relatively easy to keep a large house neat-looking - there is usually empty closet and cabinet space for new purchases, and the impact of a few out-of-place items may seem small amidst those wide-open spaces. Keeping a smaller living space neat requires a more constant level of effort, and some attention paid to whether one has the space for a new acquisition. One is more likely to have to dispose of some old stuff to make room for the new. Even so, eventually even a large home can become cluttered.

Someone who is still using an iPhone 5 may have limited finances, or just have different spending priorities. Whether it's by choice or necessity, a bit of "sweat equity" may be required to live within those smaller quarters. It's not a matter of what someone "should" have, it's a matter of dealing with what they do have. There's no mystery as to how to cope with it.
Actually I have a series 4 and its 16GB. Yes I agree with your last paragraph as he does have limited finances big time.
- - Post merged: - -

Really bad. After importing a bit more data than I should last week and filling my space to 0 Kb I had a wonderful bunch of crashes from apps, random restarts, posessed Photos app and I guess smth else that I haven't noticed.

As iOS with "Other" will normally eat around 10-12 GB, there's not much he can do. Just delete all apps except WhatsApp and Facebook (generally just keep 2-3 main messengers), not to use any email app and just a browser version instead, use iCloud sync for messages to reduce space used by media in messages.

Also he should export all photos to a computer and delete them from the phone (not from DCIM folder!!!!!).

p.s. Used SE is really cheap and even getting a 32GB model will be an upgrade in this case. Also it should have iOS 14 support according to rumors.
His mac is 10+ years old so I am not sure what OS he is running and if he can even talk to a iPhone 5. If its Yosemite or prior I don't know about compatibility. He is not savvy enough to answer my questions.
 

macintoshmac

macrumors 68040
May 13, 2010
3,838
3,390
His mac is 10+ years old so I am not sure what OS he is running and if he can even talk to a iPhone 5. If its Yosemite or prior I don't know about compatibility. He is not savvy enough to answer my questions.
Although with his permission, you can take a look and help him out.
 

AbielM16

macrumors regular
Sep 30, 2019
153
73
another thing you can offload is his text. it might be the culprit especially with lots of videos and images
 
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