How to free up storage space on your iPhone

Never get told you've not got enough storage again. Also applies to iPad.

how-to-free-up-storage-space-on-your-iphone
Credit: Glen Lowe/Flickr

Not enough available storage” is not what you want your Apple iPhone to tell you when you’re trying to use it to grab that once in a lifetime picture of someone you love doing something unrepeatable, or any other time for that matter. Here’s how to make sure you don’t see that message ever again.

Check your storage

You need to know how much storage you have available. To get this info go Settings>General>Storage & iCloud Usage. You’ll find out how much space you are using and how much is available to use.

The trick everyone’s talking about

This tip set Reddit on fire when first revealed. It’s quick, relatively easy, and may save the day when you lack time but need storage fast. Here goes:

You already know how much storage you have available (see above).

Visit the Movies/Films section of the iTunes Store and find a movie that is larger than your available capacity.

You’ll find the size of the move in the Information field of its description. Click ‘Rent’ and you’ll be told there isn’t enough space.

Choose Settings in the dialog that appears and your iPhone will automatically flush superfluous stuff on your device, things like cookies, logs and other stuff you don’t really need. It does this to help you create the space you need to rent the movie, but you’ll be surprised how much additional storage this will create.

Common sense storage

Every app you purchase remains available to you in the ‘Purchased’ section of the App Store, which you access inside the Updates section. This means you will never lose an app, so long as it remains available, so you can safely delete apps you never or rarely use in order to make space on your device. So do it. Regularly review the apps you have installed and delete the ones you don’t use.

#Tip: Games can consumer a lot of space.

What else is eating your storage space? Tap Settings>General>Storage & iCloud Usage and choose ‘Manage Storage’. You will probably find Photos & Camera, Videos and Musicusing the most storage. You may find Messages consumers an unexpectedly large amount of space.

  • Photos & Camera

Yes, do make sure to go through your images to delete the photos and videos you don’t want to keep, but you’ll also save a good amount of storage by tapping through to Settings>Photos & Cameras and toggling the Keep Normal Photo switch under HDR (High Dynamic Range) to off. HDR pics on iPhone blend the best parts of three exposures together to create one great image, but by default iOS also keeps the normal image — wasting space if you’re a keen snapper with a 16MB device.

  • Videos

It is confusing that videos captured with your Camera aren’t also made available in the Videos app, if only because it would make it far easier to identify and delete those videos you no longer need/took by accident because your finger switched while looking for the Pano button. However, what you do find in the Videos app is all the movies, music videos and TV shows you’ve downloaded to your iPhone. To get rid of those you don’t need just tap the Edit button at top right of the Videos app, a small X will appear on every video on your device, just tap this to delete the video.(You can also create a little more space by deleting read books from iBooks).

  • Music

If you use an iPhone you probably also use iTunes, iTunes Match or Apple Music. This means your music should mostly be stored elsewhere, which means you can safely delete it in order to quickly make space to do something. In Settings>General>Storage & iCloud Usage>Manage Storage>Music you can review the tracks on your device, and tap Edit to remove any or all of them to make space.

  • Messages

You Message history can take up lots of space, particularly if you and your friends like to share masses of pictures, audio files and other large files. In Settings>Messages you’ll find you can choose to keep Messages Forever, 1 Year or 30 Days. Choose 30 Days to minimize the amount of space used (unless you absolutely must keep messages). You should also set video and audio Messages to expire after two minutes.

Visual Voicemail

If you have Visual Voicemail on your iPhone do delete them.

Social media

Beware, social media apps rapidly consumer huge chunks of space. Given you can also access social media services using Safari, why not delete the apps to save space (and, in some cases, battery life)?

Final Sweep

You’ve deleted apps, photos, videos, music and messages you no longer need. Returning to Settings>General>Storage & iCloud Usage tap Manage Storage and skim down the list to see if any apps are consuming more space than you’d expect. Tap apps in the list to see how much space its associated documents and data takes up, can you edit the documents or flush the data to make a little more space now? Or delete the app? (You can always get it back).

I hope this helps you get better at managing space on your iPhone.

Google+? If you use social media and happen to be a Google+ user, why not join AppleHolic's Kool Aid Corner community and join the conversation as we pursue the spirit of the New Model Apple?

Apple TV? If you want to learn how to get the very best out of your Apple TV, please visit my Apple TV website.

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