Help! How do I free up the Dropbox from my iPad?

Can anybody help me to understand how I can free up the 34GB of space that Dropbox is claiming on my iPad?

I don’t understand why 34GB needs to be on my iPad given that it’s cloud based. It’s only a 64GB iPad!!!

Is there a way to regain the lost storage but still use dropbox on my iPad?

Just try to uninstall it, it will clear the data. If you are a heavy user, it will store offline version of your files.

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Tried that. Removing it only removed the App but left the data (which is the issue).

I am assuming you checked the offline files tab ?, if not, go to that and remove the offline files

On the iPad (also same on iPhone) go to Settings → General → iPad Storage → Dropbox. You’ll see two options:

  1. Offload App (which as it says, free up storage used by the app but keeps documetn and data …"
  2. Delete App (which does as it implies, delete the app and all related data data. This action can’t be undone).

My hunch is that No. 2 will do as you want.

Also, it sounds like you have to have a lot of offline files on iPad? In the Dropbox app, go to Account → Manage offline files and see if there are any files there that you can remove from the device before doing any of the above.

I’ve looked for a way to more automatically manage offline files and data in Dropbox but can’t spot anything. Maybe there is something. But I don’t know.

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No, I have not elected for Offline Files on the iPad hence the surprise.

Seems you were right! Thanks for that. Deleting was the key.

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Thanks for that. Like @mina says, deleting it was the key. BUT… it is silly that clearing the Cache doesn’t achieve the same thing. I am supposed to periodically delete the App from time to time in order to get the space back on both devices?

I didn’t have offline files on any of my mobile devices but I do on the MacBook.

I am starting to feel like this is an issue that I’d like to resolve.

I am wondering increasing my iCloud storage would solve my problem rather than using Dropbox at all… but something tells me that might not be the smart move either.

Do you have an opinion on this?


Increasing iCloud storage will help in other things, like backups and photo backup. My understanding that offline versions of the files will still be downloaded. It might have a better storage management though, which might be helpful.

I use iCloud and Dropbox. Both have their places in the ecosystem. (also have Amazon Drive, Google Drive, and OneDrive available but hardly used). I find iCloud has a mind of it’s own with few controls–can’t even force a sync. But iCloud works great to share Apple’s apps. And Dropbox works great for sharing files with colleagues and family due to a better way to manage permissions. If I had to give up one, it would be iCloud. Dropbox just works and works fine, and is very fast when copying between devices on local network.

Out of interest, how did you clear the “cache”? What cache? I’m not familiar with that.

in IOS each app has their data inside their sandbox (as they call it). Each app owns its own stuff. That’s why data sharing between apps on IOS is a challenge. Getting better in recent years due to Apple making infrastructure improvements.

I went to the Account screen hit the cog in the top left then scrolled to the end to find Clear Cache

I’m a heavy Dropbox user and my phone only has 50MB of document storage taken up.

Will be interesting if your storage goes back up straightaway or gradually - it might be deleting the app once solves the issue.

I’m also comparing a phone to an iPad so lots of variables!

Ah, found that option which I never noticed. Yep, I cleared cache on my iPhone and it made no difference (as reported by Dropbox itself) in free space on iPhone. I looked into what that cache was and it is reported in Dropbox’s documentation that it operates as a cache to help speed up file downloads and sort of takes care of itself. It’s one of those things that really makes no difference except for perceived download performance, which is good. It has nothing to do with the offline files stored on your device which is what takes up the space (other than with the cache their download might have been a bit faster).

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