7 Easy Steps to Free Up Storage Space on Your iPhone


If you’re like me, it seems that your iPhone always runs out of space at the most inopportune times. If your iPhone storage is full or nearly full, you need a way to clear up space on your device quickly.

I’ve had at least four generations of the iPhone, so I know a thing or two about how to free up storage space. In this article, I’m going to go over some steps you can take to clear storage on your iPhone.

How to Free Up Storage Space on Your iPhone

You may be wondering why your iPhone keeps running out of storage space in the first place. The short answer is that you may have too many videos, photos, apps and other files stored on your device.

How Do You Find Out What’s Using Up Space on Your iPhone?

The first thing you need to do before you just start deleting files is to find out exactly what’s taking up most of your storage.

To find out, go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage and you should see a bar graph that shows how much space you have, like so:

iPhone setting that shows apps, messages, photos, media and other

From the screenshot above, you can see that apps take up the majority of the space on my iPhone, followed by messages and photos.

Here Are 7 Steps to Free Up Storage Space on Your iPhone

Here are some recommendations Apple’s iPhone Storage screen shows you to free up storage space:

1. Auto Delete Old Conversations

iPhone setting that shows how to auto delete old conversations

Under that graphic in Settings, Apple tells you how much data you can save if you opt for automatic removal of messages and attachments that are more than a year old.


2. Review Large Attachments

iPhone setting that shows how to review large attachments

It will also show you how to see large files so you can see decide whether to delete them.

3. Uninstall Unused Apps

Many of us have apps that we rarely use. They’re just taking up space we need for other things.

If you scroll down the iPhone Storage screen, you can see the apps you’ve installed along with the last time you opened them.

Just find the “Last Used” line under the app’s name to help you decide whether you should keep it or delete it to save space.

iPhone setting that shows how to uninstall unused apps

If you click on the app, the iPhone also gives you the option to “Offload” the app, which will delete it from your device but restore all of the documents and data you had if you choose to re-install it.

4. Back Up Your Files With a Cloud Storage Service

If you choose to back up your files in the cloud, the obvious choice for an iPhone user is iCloud, which comes with 5GB of free storage space. Here are some other popular cloud storage services you can get for free:

  • Dropbox — Basic account comes with 2GB of free space
  • Google Drive — Free account comes with 15GB of free space (including your other Google accounts)
  • OneDrive — First tier comes with 5GB of free storage

5. Back Up Your iPhone Files to Your Computer

You can also choose to back up your iPhone to a desktop computer or tablet. You can do this by connecting your iPhone to your computer with a cord or by syncing it with an iCloud account installed on your desktop.

If you choose this option, the good news is that your iPhone will no longer be the sole database for your files and data.


The not-so-good news is that this option may take up quite a bit of space on your computer. Here’s how to transfer photos from your iPhone.

6. Manage Photos

Speaking of iCloud, if you go to Settings > Apple ID, ICloud, iTunes & App Store > iCloud > Photos, you can see several options to save space on your phone by managing your photos. They include the ability to:

  • Automatically upload photos to iCloud: Once you toggle the iCloud Photos button, you won’t have to remember whether your photos are going to the cloud: They all are! This can be a great data-reducing measure for your phone.
  • Remove photos and videos: If you toggle the iCloud Photos button to “off,” it will prompt you to confirm that you want to “Remove from iPhone” all the images and videos that have been optimized on your device.
  • Turn on Photo Stream: If you turn on the “Upload to My Photo Stream” feature, it will send the last 30 days of new photos to the cloud. This means you can delete them from your device and save space.
  • Optimize iPhone Storage: If you have this feature checked, it will automatically downsize full-resolution photos and replace them with smaller versions that take up less space.

iPhone setting that shows how to optimize and manage photos

7. Buy More Mobile Data

Aside from those options, you may decide that you just want to buy more storage space, which you can do through any of the cloud services listed above.

Final Thoughts

Here are the best ways to free up storage space on your iPhone:

  • Delete old emails and attachments.
  • Review old videos and other large media files.
  • Uninstall apps you don’t use.
  • Back up your files to the Cloud.
  • Transfer files to a computer.
  • Manage photos.
  • Buy more data (if you must).

If you find that your issue is more about the data you’re using with your phone, check out some steps to conserve your mobile data on an iPhone or Android device.

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