What takes up system storage

I have an iPhone 5s that can hold 12GB of storage. However, my phone keeps on telling me that I have 'no free space', which makes sense seeing as my phone also tells me in the settings app that I have used up 11.9GB out of my 12GB. But when adding up all of the data from all of my apps (including music and photos ect) it only came to just over 3GB. I understand that the IOS system itself would take up some storage but I doubt it would take 8GB worth (bit of a ripoff on Apples part if so), so what could be taking up all of this space?

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    A variety of things can take up space. The most common one is cache. Which is the old files downloaded on an app that are kept so a page is easier to reload. When low on storage the iPhone should automatically erase cache files. Some apps like snapchat now allow you to delete the cache files in the application in settings. If neither happens. You always can delete an app and reinstall the app. The worst apps with this issue tend to be social networking apps. The app size itself may be a 100MB but with the cache it might take up 500MB.

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