Your iPhone’s storage is limited and you will never be able to use its entire storage at any time as both iOS and the apps you’ve installed on your device will take up a significant chunk of space at all times. With usage, the remaining portion of storage may also end up getting filled to the brim. This may include the pictures you captured, files you saved, videos and songs you’ve been streaming online, or the data that was downloaded for the social media apps that you often use.
If you’re running out of space on your iPhone and want to quickly make room to save something else, the following post should help you clear space on your iPhone.
How to clear space on iPhone: Everything you need to know
While all iPhones may look and function in similar ways, the way you use your device may differ from the person next to you. What we mean is that the reason why your iPhone is running out of storage may be different from someone else. That’s why we’ve compiled all the following methods which may aid you in saving space on your iPhone’s storage.
Method 1: Check what’s taking up space on your iPhone and delete data accordingly
Before you go ahead and start clearing consumed space on your iPhone, it’s important to know what’s taking up your iPhone’s storage in the first place. To make things easier, Apple provides you with a rundown of everything that’s being stored on your iPhone within iOS settings. You can check out this screen by going to Settings > General > iPhone Storage.
On this screen, you’ll see a bar chart that indicates how much storage you have used out of the total storage. This bar will be highlighted with different colors to outline how much storage is being consumed by different file types. Most users will see visible portions of their storage space covered by Apps, Photos, iOS, and System Data.
Depending on the kind of data you have saved on your iPhone, iOS will provide you with suggestions that can help you gain more space on your device. You can view these suggestions under the “Recommendations” section and follow the on-screen instructions that iOS provides to clear your iPhone storage efficiently.
Related: How to wipe your iPhone
Method 2: Back up your pictures on iCloud or Google Photos and then delete backed up files
Most modern iPhones come with at least 128 GB of memory on them which wouldn’t be enough if you’re someone who takes a lot of photos and selfies. If your memory fills up frequently within days of clearing them and you don’t plan on reducing the number of photos you capture, then the only way to go forward is to use a cloud storage service where you can save your pictures.
You will get different storage options across various cloud storage services. For free, Apple lets you store up to 5 GB of data on iCloud while you can save up to 15 GB of content with a Google account. The number of pictures you can store on either of these storage services is dependent on the amount of other data you’ve saved on your iCloud or Google account.
You can turn on iCloud backup for your pictures by going to Settings > Photos and turning on the iCloud Photos toggle under “iCloud”.
If you wish to upload your photos on Google Photos, install the Google Photos app on your iPhone and open it. Inside the app, go to your account picture > Turn on backup.
An advantage of subscribing to Google Photos over iCloud is that you can select the quality of pictures that you upload from Google Photos. The app lets you save pictures in a “Storage Saver” format that reduces the image size so that you can upload more pictures with limited storage.
iCloud doesn’t offer this functionality as all pictures are uploaded in their original quality, thus occupying the same amount of space on the cloud as it would on your iPhone.
Related: How to take scrolling screenshots on iPhone
Method 3: Optimize photos and videos saved on your iPhone to reduce space consumption
If you already have backed up pictures from your iPhone onto iCloud, you can optimize your device’s storage space by removing the original versions of pictures you’ve captured and replacing them with lower-quality images that are of reduced size. This can be helpful in clearing up a significant portion of your storage, thus saving you the effort to try clearing up other apps or storage.
To optimize your photos and videos on the iPhone, go to Settings > Photos and select Optimize iPhone Storage under “iCloud Photos”.
When you use this option, all pictures you’ve uploaded to iCloud will be replaced by their low-quality duplicates which don’t consume much space on your iPhone.
Related: How to use iPhone 14 Pro camera like a pro!
Method 4: Delete pictures you’ve already backed up
If you’ve already backed up your pictures to iCloud or Google Photos, there’s no reason also to keep storing them on your iPhone. When your pictures get uploaded to iCloud, you can use method 3 from above to delete original pictures from your iPhone automatically; the pictures that show up on your iPhone will be of reduced quality, so you don’t need to worry about deleting them.
If you opted to back up your pictures on Google Photos, you will have to delete them from your iPhone manually. To do that, open the Photos app (you can also do this on Google Photos) on your iPhone. Inside Photos, tap on Select at the top right corner and start selecting the pictures you’ve already backed up.
Once you select the pictures you want to delete, tap on the trash icon at the bottom right corner.
You will be asked to confirm this action in a prompt at the bottom. Here, tap on Delete Photos to confirm.
The selected items will now be sent to the Recently Deleted section inside the Photos app and will remain there for up to 30 days. If you want to delete these pictures permanently, go to Albums > Recently Deleted from inside the Photos app.
Once here, select these pictures again using the Select option and then tap on Delete at the bottom left corner to remove them from your iPhone entirely.
Method 5: Allow iMessage to delete older messages
If you’re someone who receives and sends a ton of texts over iMessage that may include a bunch of media files in them, you should consider not keeping messages that are older and insignificant to your conversations at present. To clear space, you can either individually delete messages or choose to let iOS remove them automatically.
To delete messages individually, open the Messages app, tap and hold on a conversation you want to remove and select Delete. In the prompt that appears next, tap on Delete to confirm.
If you want iOS to automatically delete older texts from the Messages app, go to Settings > Messages > Keep Messages.
Here, select either 30 Days or 1 Year depending on how long you wish to keep your old messages.
After you select the preferred option, the Messages app will delete any conversation that’s older than the selected time period.
Method 6: Remove downloaded content from streaming apps
Like many of us, you may be used to streaming or downloading content from apps on your iPhone. Over the course of time, your iPhone may fill up with songs, videos, movies, and TV shows that you may have downloaded from Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube Music, and other apps. To save space on your device, you will have to delete the content you downloaded earlier on all of the apps you regularly watch or listen to.
To delete downloaded content on streaming apps, you will have to open a particular app and head over to its downloaded content section. You can then locate the audio or video that’s stored on your iPhone and delete it from there using the in-app options. This process will differ from app to app; so you will need to figure out where the downloaded section is on your own depending on the app you often consume content from.
To give you a demonstration, let’s try deleting something we downloaded from the Apple TV app. To remove downloaded content from Apple TV, open the Apple TV app and go to Library > Downloaded.
When you see the content you previously downloaded on this screen, tap on Edit at the top right corner.
Now select the content you wish to remove and then tap on Delete at the top right corner. You can confirm your action in the prompt that appears and then the selected items will be removed from your iPhone’s storage.
The process should be similar on third-party apps like Spotify as well. To clear downloaded content from this app, open Spotify and go to Your Library > Downloaded.
From this screen, select the content you wish to remove, tap on the 3-dots icon inside the playlist or album screen and then select Remove download from this device.
In the prompt that appears on the screen, tap on Remove to confirm your action.
You can repeat this for other apps you watch videos or listen to music from but the steps may vary slightly for each of those apps.
Method 7: Offload apps you don’t frequently use
On your iPhone, you may have installed apps a while ago that you no longer use or open once in a while. If you have data or files associated with these apps, removing the app will delete all the data that was stored within that app. To avoid losing this data and still clear some space on your iPhone, an easier way to approach this is to offload such apps. When you offload apps from your iPhone, iOS will clear the space occupied by the app without deleting the data inside them.
To offload apps from your iPhone, open the Settings app on iOS and go to General > iPhone Storage.
From here, select the app you want to offload from your device from the list of apps.
On the next screen, tap on Offload App to remove the app from iOS without deleting its data.
To confirm your action, select Offload App from the prompt that appears at the bottom.
You can also configure iOS to offload apps from your iPhone automatically. To do that, go to Settings > App Store and turn on the Offload Unused Apps toggle at the bottom.
When you enable this option, iOS will choose apps that you haven’t used in a while and offload them from your iPhone to clear storage.
Method 8: Uninstall unwanted or unused apps
The above method can help you clear up space from your iPhone by removing apps you rarely use. If you no longer find an app useful, you can delete them from iOS instead to gain more space and delete every data the apps have created or stored on your iPhone. You can delete any app from your iPhone by long-pressing on its app icon and selecting Delete App from the overflow menu that appears.
However, you can find which app from your iPhone takes the most space and delete them accordingly within the Settings app.
Inside Settings, go to General > iPhone Storage and you’ll be able to see all the apps you have installed on your iPhone arranged in descending order of space consumed. Choosing an app to delete from the top half of this list will make more room on your iPhone than deleting an app that’s listed further below.
Once you’ve located the apps you wish to remove, select one of them and tap on Delete App.
You will need to confirm this action by tapping on Delete App again in the prompt that shows up at the bottom.
Method 9: Delete Website data and cache
Over time, your iPhone may accumulate data from websites you have visited in the past and this data may contribute to a significant space on your device. If you’re running low on storage or your browsing experience is sluggish, you can remove Safari’s website data to gain some storage on your iPhone. To delete website data on Safari, go to Settings > Safari and tap on Clear History and Website Data.
iOS will now prompt you to confirm this action. In this prompt, select Clear History and Data to proceed.
The steps above will only help clear website data from Safari. If you use any other web browser on your iPhone, you will need to clear data from them individually from within the app’s settings. For instance, if you use Firefox to browse the internet, you can delete its website data by opening the Firefox app and going to the hamburger menu (3-lines icon) > Settings > Data Management > Web Site Data.
From here, tap on Clear All Web Site Data to remove Firefox’s website data from your iPhone.
This may differ slightly depending on the browser app…