iPhone: How to solve the Storage Almost Full challenge

Don't panic!

Apple, iOS, iPhone
Michael Coghlan/Flickr

We all use iPhones. A lot. We all take pictures with them. Many. And we all devour huge amounts of space until almost out of the blue things stop working on our phone.

“Storage Almost Full”

The warning that’s the kiss of death to iPhone users, “Storage Almost Full” means things on your smartphone suddenly become much less smart, Mail stops working, you can’t take pictures, performance slows. It sucks.

How to 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.

This is what to do if storage is low:

Step 1: Delete what you don’t need

Delete the apps you don’t use by tapping and holding their icon until the wobble and a X appears, tap the X to get rid of them.

Delete music in your Music app, and movies from the Movies app – you can usually get these again as and when you need them if you use Apple Music, iTunes Match or purchase your media through iTunes.

Step 2: Documents and Data

Tap Settings>General>Storage and iCloud Usage and wait a few moments. A list of all your installed apps should appear at the lower part of the display with a list describing Used and Available space at the top. Look for third party apps that are taking up a great deal of space and delete them, you can always re-download them later. You will need to make sure you have your account details and passwords to hand, and you will lose anything archived in that app.

Step 3: Delete videos, then photos

Launch Photos app and look for your automatically gathered collection of videos. Delete the ones you don’t need or intend seeing, and all the ones you took by accident. This should save you a great deal of space. The best approach is to regularly backup your images to your computer using iTunes and then delete them from your iPhone. You can curate albums of images you want to keep.

Step 4: Take a look at Messages

All those videos and images shared with and from your friends in Messages takes up space. The first thing is to set Messages preferences to keep messages for just 30-days. The second is to delete existing message threads manually.

Step 5: Also check

If you use social media apps then do check how much storage they consume – it’s worth checking them in the Safari browser to keep their data off your device. The same applies to Visual Voicemail (if your carrier provides it). You may find a few more ideas here.

Coming soon in iOS 10: Storage optimization

This new Music setting in iOS 10 will automatically remove tracks you don’t listen to from your iPhone to save storage space. You can set this to a minimum music storage level between 4GB to 32GB of tracks.

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