The iPhone is a powerful computer that allows you to have access to photos, videos and large documents — all in the palm of your hand. But with all those files, you’ll sometimes find that the iPhone’s storage space will get low or run out. What do you do?
In this article, I’m going to show how to clear up storage on your iPhone.
I’ve had at least four generations of the iPhone, so I’ve had to free up storage space many times.
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 have too many videos, photos, apps and other kinds of 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 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:
From the screenshot above, you can see that apps take up the majority of the space on my iPhone, followed by messages and photos. Now it’s time to free up some space.
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 iMessages
Your old conversations may be taking up way too much space on your device. Here’s how to delete them:
If you go to Settings > Messages > Message History, you can select how long you wish to keep old conversations on your iPhone. You have three options to choose from:
- 30 Days
- 1 Year
Selecting this option to auto-delete your iMessage every 30 days or one year is a great way to save storage space on your device without having to pay attention to it.
2. Offload Unused Apps
If your phone has a lot of apps, in iPhone Storage, you’ll see Offload Unused Apps. which allows you to remove selected apps while keeping their documents and data intact. Enabling Offload Unused Apps is an easy way to save space.
3. Uninstall Unused Apps
Instead of offloading an app, you may choose to just delete it altogether. Perhaps you have apps on your iPhone that you don’t use anymore. They’re just taking up the space you 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.
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 your documents and data if you choose to re-install it.
4. Back Up Your Files With a Cloud Storage Service
To save space, you may also decide to store your files in a cloud account rather than on your iPhone. If you choose this option, the obvious choice for an iPhone user is iCloud, which comes with 5GB (gigabytes) 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, shared with your other Google accounts.
- OneDrive: Basic plan comes with 5GB of free storage.
Read about the best FREE cloud storage services you should try.
5. Back Up Your iPhone Files to Your Computer
You can also choose to back up your iPhone files 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 to store your files on your PC, the good news is that your iPhone will no longer be the sole repository 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. Read how to transfer photos from your iPhone.
6. Manage Photos
Another way to free up space on your iPhone is to manage photos in your iCloud account.
To do this, go to Settings > Apple ID > iCloud > Photos, you can find several options that will allow you to save space by managing the images on your iPhone. They include the ability to:
- Automatically upload photos to iCloud: Once you toggle the Sync this iPhone button, you won’t have to remember whether your photos are going to the cloud: They all are! This can be a great space-saving measure for your phone.
- Remove photos and videos: If you toggle the Sync this iPhone button to “Off,” it will prompt you to confirm that you want to “Remove from iPhone” all the images and videos that you have previously stored in iCloud.
- 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.
7. Buy More Space
Aside from options that allow you to manage files on your phone, you may decide that you just want to buy more cloud storage space. Apple currently offers paid storage plans as part of iCloud+:
- 50GB: $0.99 a month
- 200GB: $2.99 a month
- 2TB: $9.99 a month
You can also choose to go with a third-party cloud service listed above (See #4).
As a recap, here are the best ways to free up storage space on your iPhone:
- Delete old conversations.
- Offload apps you rarely use.
- Uninstall apps you never use.
- Back up your files to the Cloud.
- Transfer files to a computer.
- Manage your photos.
- Buy more data (if you must).
If you find that your issue is more about data than storage, check out some steps to conserve data on an iPhone or Android device.
If you’ve found a different method that frees up a good bit of storage space on your iPhone, please tell us about it in the Clark.com community.