How to free up storage on iPhone

How to free up iPhone storage

It’s almost impossible to avoid running out of iPhone storage.

Even if you splashed out on an iPhone with 64GB or more, over the course of time you’ll still reach the point where you run out of space.

Unlike some other smartphones, an iPhone can’t take expandable storage in the form of an external SD card so it’s important to make the best use of the storage you have – you won’t be getting any more of it.

So here are our top tips to make the most of the space on an iPhone.

1. Update to iOS 10.3

Downloading something is, ironically, the best way to free up iPhone storage without having to delete anything. How to free up storage on iPhone 2

Apple released the major update on 27 March 2017 and two further minor updates, 10.3.1 on 3 April
2017 and 10.3.2 on 15 May 2017.

iOS 10.3 updates and optimises the filing system on your device, meaning the same data can take up significantly less space. Some users report gaining up to 8GB of storage from installing this one update.

Download iOS 10.0-10.3.2 direct from the Apple website

If your phone isn’t on the latest version of iOS, go to Settings, then General and select the Software Update option to download or install the update.

Updates like this are also important as they include bug fixes and patch security flaws.

With the rise of smartphone malware and the WannaCry ransomware attack still fresh in our minds, it is especially recommended that you update to the latest software version available for your iPad or iPhone.

By default, iPhones will automatically download system updates so, if your phone has run out of storage, there’s a good chance you already have the update ready to install.

2. Delete app data

Sometimes a relatively small app can take up a lot of extra space due to the additional documents and data it saves to your phone. How to free up iPhone storage

Go to Settings and then General. Select the Storage & iCloud Usage option and then Manage Storage to open a list of all your installed apps.

Select an app that is taking up a lot of space to see how much of its data is being used for Documents & Data.

Unfortunately, there is no simple way to remove this data from an iPhone. Your only option is to delete the app and then reinstall it by downloading it from the App Store. This will clean out the unnecessary data and free up a good amount of space on your device.

3. Delete old messages

The default setting for iPhones is to save all the conversation history you’ve had through texts and iMessages forever. This means every message you’ve ever received from anyone is taking up space on your phone.

A single text message is a very small piece of data, but when you add them all together the storage space can be staggeringly large.

To change your message settings, go to Settings, then Messages. Under the Message History heading is the option to Keep Messages. Change the setting from Forever to 30 Daysor 1 Year. This will bring up the option to delete messages older than the setting you chose. Press Delete to clear out your message history.

4. Upload your photos and video to iCloud

Aside from apps, your image library is going to be what’s taking up the most space on your iPhone. Nobody wants to delete their photos, so uploading them to your iCloud account is the perfect way to save space without losing anything.

To upload all your photos at once, go to Settings and then Photo & Camera. Tap the slider next to iCloud Photo Library to begin uploading your images to the iCloud.

Once your images are saved, enable the My Photo Stream setting on the same page to view your iCloud photos from your device.

The final step is to delete the uploaded images from your iPhone. This can be done from the Photos app itself by tapping Select and highlighting all the images you want deleted. Tap the trash can icon in the bottom right of your screen to remove the selected images from your phone.

5. Clear your cache

When browsing the internet with Safari, your browsing history and some website data is stored on your phone in a cache. If you don’t keep this cache tidy, it can take up a good chunk of your storage space.

There’s no harm in deleting this data, as anything important will simply be downloaded again the next time you need it.

To clear your cache, go to Settings and select Safari. From this screen, scroll down and select Clear History and Website Data. Confirm the selection to clear out your cache.

If you use another browser like Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome, the process will be very similar but the final option may be labelled something different like Clear Browsing History or Clear Cache.

6. Clear your Reading List

Similar to the cache, Safari can also store entire webpages on your phone for offline viewing in a Reading List. This usually happens when you favourite a page. You’ll probably want keep some websites favourited, but don’t necessarily need an offline version of the page.

Clearing this Reading List will not remove the pages from your favourites, only the offline version of the websites that have been saved.

To clear your Reading List, go to Settings and then General. Select the Manage Storage option and select Safari from the list of installed apps.

Swipe left on the Offline Reading List option and press the revealed Delete button to clear up some space.

Have you found a better way to clear up iPhone storage? Leave a message, or add us on Twitter @editordeals.


Samuel Newman is a consumer journalist and blogger based in Sheffield.
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