Clean Up Storage On My Phone

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If your phone is starved for internal storage and you can't spare any of your hard-earned apps, you can try moving them to your SD card instead (at least, if you're running Android 2.3 or earlier). Cleaning up your internal storage is also pretty simple: just uninstall unnecessary apps. Chances are you have a few apps you don't use anymore, not to mention games you don't play—they'll take.

With high-resolution photos and console-quality games, your iPhone storage fills up in no time. Even with a 128 GB model things can get out of hands fast. And if you’re using a 32 or 64 GB iPhone, chances are you’ll see that pesky “Storage Almost Full” alert much sooner.

Luckily, there are lots of things you can do to clear storage on iPhone, both manual and app-powered, so let's take a look.

What you'll need:

  • Your iPhone
  • A photo cleaner app Gemini Photos
  • Your Mac
  • A macOS cleaner app CleanMyMac X
  • Internet connection

Why is my iPhone storage so full?

Your iPhone may be full of things you don’t really need. Since they take up a lot of valuable space, it’s important to find out what they actually are. Here’s how to check and manage storage on your iPhone:

  1. Go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage.
  2. At the top, you’ll see a color-coded bar showing how much space you have left, how much is taken up, and what's taking it up. The biggest categories are usually Photos and Apps, but that depends on your usage.
  3. Below there is a list of your apps sorted by how much space they take. You can tap on each app to see how much of that space is the app itself, and how much of it is the app’s Documents and Data.
Clean Up Storage On My Phone

Depending on how you use your iPhone, you might have a huge and bloated Photos app, bursting with photos and videos. Or it might be games and social media apps that are hoarding the most storage. Below are five easy steps you can follow to free up storage on iPhone regardless of your iPhone use.

How to clear storage on iPhone

Chances are, there’s a lot of unneeded clutter on your iPhone. And that’s actually good news. It means you can free up a significant chunk of space without deleting the things you want to keep. Here’s how to free up storage on your iPhone, step by step:

  1. Clean up your photo library
  2. Clear browser cache
  3. Clear app cache and other app data
  4. Delete attachments in Messages
  5. Delete offline content

Step 1. Clean up your photo library

If you’ve checked iPhone storage like we suggested above, you already know who the main space hogger is (looking at you, Photos). Of course, wiping your whole photo library clean is not an option, but there’s probably stuff you can get rid of:

  • duplicate photos, like those you downloaded twice
  • similar shots (like the five selfies you took so you can pick a good one)
  • photos of whiteboards, notes, checks, and things like that
  • screenshots you don’t need anymore
  • large videos you don’t like

You can go through your library and weed out these photos and videos manually, but a quicker and more convenient alternative is an iPhone app like Gemini Photos. Here’s how to free up some space with it:

  1. Download Gemini Photos and launch it. It will automatically start scanning your library.
  2. Go to Notes, Blurred, and Screenshots. This is where you’ll see screenshots, photos of text, and other useless stuff. All photos will be pre-selected, but you can deselect the ones you still need.
  3. Tap Delete All.
  4. Go to Similar. Sets of similar photos will be grouped and pre-selected, with the best photo in each set remaining.
  5. Review a set, select other photos if you want to, and tap Move to Trash to trash selected photos.
  6. When you’re done reviewing sets of similar photos, tap Empty Trash.
  7. Go through Duplicates, Videos, and Other to sort out the rest of your photo library.
  8. Finally, go to the Photos app, and scroll down to Recently Deleted.
  9. Tap Select, and then Delete All.

After a cleanup like this your library will shrink by a few gigabytes and become way easier to navigate.

Step 2. Clear browser cache

If you often use your iPhone to browse the web in Safari or Chrome, keep in mind that your phone may be storing caches and other data that you don’t need. And you'd be surprised how much space you can free up just by clearing your browser cache.

Here’s how to clear Safari cache:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Find Safari.
  3. Choose Clear History and Website Data.

If you use Chrome, follow these steps to clear its cache:

  1. Open Google Chrome on your iPhone.
  2. Tap Options > Settings.
  3. Scroll down and tap Privacy.
  4. Tap Clear Browsing Data.
  5. Choose which browsing data you want to clear (browsing history, cookies, cached images and files) and tap Clear Browsing Data.

Step 3. Clear app cache and other app data

Unlike browsers, most apps don’t give you access to their cache and other data they store, such as login data. And if you tap on each app at the top of that list in iPhone Storage, you’ll notice it has several gigabytes of so-called Documents and Data. Here’s how you clear that app data to get more iPhone storage:

  1. Before you start, make sure you remember your logins to various apps or have them saved somewhere.
  2. In Settings > General > iPhone Storage, tap on an app at the top of the list. This will often be a social media app like Facebook or Snapchat, a messenger, or a content app like YouTube or Spotify.
  3. Tap Delete App.
  4. Go to the App Store and reinstall the app.

Yup, unfortunately, this is the only way to clear cache and other app data for the majority of apps.

Step 4. Delete attachments in Messages

Texting isn’t just about text, right? You’re sending and receiving memes, GIFs, selfies, little videos of your cat falling off the couch in her sleep. All that content is stored on your iPhone even if you don’t save it to Photos, and if you text a lot it quickly adds up.

Here’s how to delete all your attachments in Messages to clear some iPhone memory:

  1. Go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage.
  2. Scroll down and tap on Messages.
  3. You’ll see a list: Top Conversations, Photos, GIFs and Stickers, and Other. Tap on the category that occupies the most space. Keep in mind that in Top Conversations, you’ll be deleting entire threads, not just the attachments. If you don’t want to do that, stick to Photos and other content.
  4. Tap Edit in the upper-right corner.
  5. Mark all attachments you want to delete.
  6. Tap the Trash icon.

That’s it! Space-hogging attachments are gone.

Step 5. Delete offline content

You probably consume a lot of content every day — music, videos, podcasts and what not. And if you save that content offline to be able to play it on the subway or during a long flight, you have quite a lot of leftovers piled up.

As a result, apps like YouTube, Netflix, and Spotify can take up several gigabytes of iPhone storage each. So why waste space on those Stranger Things episodes you downloaded back in 2017 and a long-forgotten playlist you never listen to anymore?

Let’s start with Netflix. Here’s how to delete Netflix movies and series you saved onto your iPhone:

  1. Open the Netflix app.
  2. Go to Downloads.
  3. Tap on the pencil icon in the top right corner.
  4. Tap on the red X to delete the video.

Next up, YouTube. To delete offline YouTube videos, follow these steps:

  1. Launch the YouTube app.
  2. Go to Library > Downloads.
  3. Tap on the three dots next to a downloaded video.
  4. Tap “Delete from downloads.”
  5. Repeat for each video.

Finally, to delete offline playlists or podcasts in Spotify, do the following:

  1. Open Spotify.
  2. Go to Your Library > Music > Playlists.
  3. The playlists you downloaded will be marked with a green arrow. Tap on a playlist like that.
  4. Tap on the green arrow icon below the name of the playlist.
  5. When a confirmation popup appears, tap Remove.
  6. Repeat for podcasts, if you have any saved offline.

You should also rummage around in Podcasts, Apple Music, and other entertainment apps you’re using. Once you’ve cleaned up all the offline content you don’t need anymore, you’ll see how much iPhone memory you’ve managed to recover.

How to prevent iPhone storage from getting full again

Just like your closet, iPhone storage will get full again, and you will have to go through the steps above every once in a while. But there are things you can do to manage your oh-so-limited storage more wisely and not have to do that major cleanup quite as often.

Store photos and videos elsewhere

Even after you’ve trimmed some fat off your library, chances are Photos still hogs a lot of iPhone space. What to do? Transfer your photos and videos to your computer or to the cloud

If you have a Mac, the easiest way is to connect your iPhone and sync all media files to the Mac. Then you can delete the originals from your phone.

Note that when you sync photos with your Phone, some of them stay cached on your Mac. This cache occupies space on your disk after the sync is done, so it’s better to clean it up. A utility like CleanMyMac X is an easy way to clear iOS photo cache (and it’s free to download). In just two clicks you’ll remove all the junk files from your Mac.

Alternatively, you can upload your iPhone photos to an online storage like iCloud. It’s pretty convenient, because iCloud Photos automatically syncs every photo and video you take to the cloud, so you can access your library from any device, as long as it has internet connection. You do have to pay for iCloud storage, though, because the free 5 GB won’t be enough for your whole photo library.

Here’s how to upload photos to iCloud:

  1. Sign in to your iCloud.com account. It’s the same as your Apple ID.
  2. Go to Settings on your device and select Photos.
  3. Turn on iCloud Photos.

Now your photos are automatically synced to iCloud, which means they'll be taking up space in iCloud, not on your iPhone.

Disable saving duplicate photos when shooting in HDR

On iPhones that don’t have Smart HDR, when you take photos in HDR, your iPhone saves two shots: the original picture and the processed one. You will save a lot of iPhone storage if you disable saving these duplicates. Just do the following:

  1. Go to Settings and select Camera.
  2. Disable Keep Normal Photo.

From now, only the HDR versions of your photos will be saved. That said, the previous HDR and non-HDR copies of your photos will remain, so do run your photo library through Gemini Photos to find those similar shots.

Stop storing messages forever

By default, your iPhone stores all the messages you send and receive … forever. This is convenient if you want to read your 2-years-old conversations, but not so convenient when you run out of storage because your brother sends you fifteen memes every single day.

To stop your phone from saving messages forever, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Settings and tap Messages.
  2. Scroll down to Message History and tap Keep Messages.
  3. Change Forever to 30 days or 1 year.
  4. You’ll see a pop-up message asking if you want to delete older messages, tap Delete to proceed.

Bonus tip to help you clean iPhone storage

In iOS 11 and later, Apple brings storage management tools to your device. This means that you get unique storage saving suggestions based on your iPhone. They include things like Reviewing Large Attachments and Conversations, Offloading Unused Apps, Saving Messages to iCloud, and others. Therefore, if you’re running iOS 11 or later, go to iPhone Storage and check out the recommendations.

We hope you found our troubleshooting guide helpful in tackling that annoying “Storage Almost Full” message. Enjoy taking new photos and never have to worry about lack of iPhone storage again.

When you set up iCloud, you automatically get 5GB of storage. You can use that space for your iCloud backups, to keep your photos and videos stored in iCloud Photos, and your documents up to date in iCloud Drive. You can make more space or buy more storage any time.

See how much iCloud storage you're using

Your iCloud storage is different from the storage capacity that comes with your device. Learn the difference between storage on your device and in iCloud.

On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud. To see more detailed information about how apps and services are using your storage, tap iCloud Storage or Manage Storage.

On your Mac

Go to Apple menu  > System Preferences > Apple ID > iCloud. To see more detailed information about how apps and services are using your storage, click Manage.

On your PC

On the web

On a supported browser, sign in to iCloud.com, then click Account Settings.

Upgrade or downgrade your iCloud storage

You can buy more storage or downgrade your storage at any time. Plans start at 50GB for $0.99 (USD) a month. If you choose 200GB or 2TB plans, you can share your storage with family. Learn more about plans and prices in your region.

You can also make more space using the steps below.

Make more space available in iCloud

If you run out of iCloud storage, your device won’t back up to iCloud, new photos and videos won't upload to iCloud Photos, and iCloud Drive, other iCloud apps, and text messages won't stay up to date across your devices. And you can't send or receive emails with your iCloud email address.

You can free up storage in iCloud by deleting content that you're not using:

Before you delete anything, you might want to archive or make copies of the information you store in iCloud.

Manage your iCloud Backup

When you back up your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to iCloud, the most important information on your device is backed up automatically. Backups can include your documents, photos, and videos. Learn more about what iCloud backs up.

Many iOS apps automatically back up to iCloud after you install them. You can decrease the size of your iCloud Backup and free up space in iCloud when you turn off backups for apps that you're not using or delete old iCloud backups.

Choose which apps to back up on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

Clean memory on android phone
  1. Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud.
  2. Tap Manage Storage > Backups.
  3. Tap the name of the device that you're using.
  4. Under Choose Data to Back Up, turn off any apps that you don't want to back up.
  5. Choose Turn Off & Delete.

When you confirm that you want to Turn Off & Delete an app, it turns off iCloud Backup for that app and removes all of its information from iCloud.

How to clean android storage

Some apps are always backed up and you can't turn them off.

Delete backups and turn off iCloud Backup for your device

You can delete old iCloud backups for the device you're currently using, or older devices you may not use anymore. iCloud backups are available for 180 days after you disable or stop using iCloud Backup.

iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

  1. Go to Settings > [your name], then tap iCloud.
  2. Tap Manage Storage > Backups.
  3. Tap the name of the device whose backup you'd like to delete.
  4. Tap Delete Backup > Turn Off & Delete.

When you delete a backup, it also turns off iCloud Backup for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

Mac

  1. Go to Apple menu  > System Preferences > Apple ID, then click iCloud.
  2. Click Manage and select Backups.
  3. Select one of the device backups, then click Delete. If you want to turn off Backup and remove all backups for that device from iCloud, choose Delete when you're asked to confirm.

When you delete a backup, it also turns off iCloud Backup for your device.

Windows PC

  1. Open iCloud for Windows.
  2. Click Storage.
  3. Select Backup from the items listed.
  4. Select one of the device backups, then click Delete. If you want to turn off Backup and remove all backups for that device from iCloud, choose Delete when you're asked to confirm.

When you delete a backup, it also turns off iCloud Backup for your device.

Reduce the size of your iCloud Photos

iCloud Photos uses your iCloud storage to keep all of your photos and videos up to date across your devices. You can make more space in iCloud when you delete photos and videos that you no longer need from the Photos app on any of your devices.

How to clean up storage on my phone

Before you delete anything, make sure that you back up the photos and videos that you still want. When you use iCloud Photos and delete a photo or video on one device, it's also deleted on all other devices where you're signed in with the same Apple ID.

Use these steps to delete photos and videos from your iCloud Photos.

iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

  1. Open the Photos app, then tap Photos at the bottom of your screen.
  2. Tap Select, and choose one or more photos or videos that you want to delete.
  3. Tap Delete , and then tap Delete Photo.

Mac

  1. Open the Photos app.
  2. Select the photos and videos that you want to delete.
  3. Choose Image, then click Delete Photos.

iCloud.com

  1. From your iPhone, iPad, or computer, sign in to iCloud.com.
  2. Tap the Photos app.
  3. Select the photos or videos that you want to delete.
  4. Tap Delete, then tap Delete.

To select multiple photos or videos, tap Select on iOS or iPadOS, or press and hold Command on a Mac or Control on a PC while you select the items. To select all, press and hold Command-A on macOS or Control-A on Windows, or tap Select All on iOS or iPadOS.

You can recover photos and videos that you delete from your Recently Deleted album for 30 days. If you want to remove content from Recently Deleted album faster, tap Select, then select the items you want to remove. Tap Delete > Delete. If you exceed your iCloud storage limit, your device immediately removes any photos and videos you delete and they won't be available for recovery in your Recently Deleted album.

Reduce the size of your photo library

If you don't use iCloud Photos, your Camera Roll is part of your iCloud Backup. To check how much storage it's using in iCloud Backup, follow these steps.

  1. Go to Settings > [your name], then tap iCloud.
  2. Tap Manage Storage.
  3. Tap Backups.
  4. Tap the name of the device you're using, then look at Photos.

To reduce the size of your Photos backup, save your photos and videos to your computer, then manually back up your iOS device. If you want to keep your photos and videos on your iOS device, you can turn off Photos in Backup or buy more storage. If there are any photos that you don't want to keep, you can delete them. Open Photos and select the item that you want to delete. Then tap Delete and tap Delete Photo.

Delete folders or files in iCloud Drive

You can manage and delete folders or files you store in iCloud Drive from your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or PC. If you're a participant in someone else's shared folder, it does not count towards your iCloud storage. Learn more about folder sharing in iCloud Drive.

With iOS 11 or later, files that you delete from iCloud Drive remain in Recently Deleted for 30 days before they're removed from your device.

iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

  1. Go to the Files app and tap Browse.
  2. Under Locations, tap iCloud Drive > Select.
  3. Choose the folders or files that you want to delete, then tap Delete .
  4. Go to Locations > Recently Deleted > Select.
  5. Choose the files that you want to delete.
  6. Tap Delete.

Mac

You can manage your iCloud Drive files from the iCloud Drive folder in Finder:

  1. If you need to, turn on iCloud Drive on your Mac:
    1. Go to Apple menu  > System Preferences > Apple ID, then click iCloud.
    2. Sign in with your Apple ID.
    3. Turn on iCloud Drive. In Options, make sure that you select the apps or folders for the files you want to manage.
  2. Open Finder and go to the iCloud Drive folder.
  3. Drag an item to the Trash, or move it to a different folder on your Mac.
  4. Open Trash, then right-click the files that you want to delete.
  5. Select Delete Immediately.

Windows

On a PC with Windows 7 or later, you can manage your iCloud Drive files using Windows Explorer. Use these steps to add an iCloud Drive folder to Windows Explorer:

  1. Download and install iCloud for Windows.
  2. Sign in with your Apple ID.
  3. Turn on iCloud Drive.
  4. Go to the iCloud Drive folder.
  5. Select the folders or files that you want to delete.
  6. Click Delete.

iCloud.com

  1. From your iPad or computer, sign in to iCloud.com.
  2. Tap the iCloud Drive app.
  3. Select the files that you want to delete, then tap Delete.
  4. Open the iCloud Drive folder and tap Recently Deleted.
  5. Select the folders or files that you want to delete.
  6. Tap Delete.

Delete texts and attachments in Messages

When you use Messages in iCloud, all of your text messages and the attachments you send and receive use your iCloud storage. You can make more space available when you delete texts and attachments—like photos, videos, and files—that you don't need anymore.

How To Clean Up Space On Your Phone

iPhone or iPad

To delete a message or attachment, follow these steps:

  1. In a message conversation, touch and hold the message bubble or attachment that you want to delete.
  2. Tap More.
  3. Tap Delete , then tap Delete Message. If you want to delete all messages in the thread tap Delete All, in the upper-left corner. Then tap Delete Conversation.

To delete multiple attachments from a contact or conversation, follow these steps:

  1. In a message conversation, tap the contact's name at the top of the screen.
  2. Tap Info .
  3. Select See All Photos
  4. Tap Select, tap the images you'd like to delete.
  5. Tap Delete, then tap Delete Attachment to confirm.

To delete an entire conversation, follow these steps:

  1. Swipe left over the conversation that you want to delete.
  2. Tap Delete.
  3. Tap Delete again to confirm.
How to clean up storage on my phone

Mac

To delete a message or attachment, follow these steps:

Clean Up Phone Memory

  1. Open a message conversation.
  2. Control-click the blank area of a message bubble that you want to delete.
  3. Choose Delete.
  4. Click Delete.

To delete an entire conversation, follow these steps:

  1. Control-click a conversation.
  2. Choose Delete Conversation.
  3. Click Delete.

Delete messages and manage Mail

How Do I Clean Up Storage On My Phone

You can free up iCloud space when you delete email messages from your iCloud email account. You can also move email messages from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to your Mac or PC, where they no longer count against your iCloud storage.

Use the steps below to delete messages from your account. Remember that messages with large attachments take up more space than simple text emails.

iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

If your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch is set up to access iCloud email, you can delete messages from any mailbox, then empty the Trash to free up space:

  1. Swipe left across any message to delete it.
  2. Tap your Trash folder.
  3. Delete messages one at a time, or tap Edit, tap Select All, and then tap Trash to delete all of them.

Mac or Windows PC

If you use iCloud Mail with a desktop email app, such as Mail on your Mac or Microsoft Outlook on your PC, use these steps:

  • Mail on your Mac: Delete the messages that you no longer want, then choose Mailbox > Erase Deleted Items and select your iCloud email account from the menu.
  • Microsoft Outlook 2010 through Outlook 2016 (Windows): Delete the messages that you no longer want. Outlook will permanently delete your messages the next time you close and restart the app.

iCloud.com

  1. From your iPad or computer, sign in to iCloud.com.
  2. Tap Mail.
  3. Delete the messages that you no longer want, then tap Settings and select Empty Trash.

Delete voice memos

With Voice Memos in iCloud, your voice recordings are stored in iCloud.* You can easily delete them if you need more space.

Open Voice Memos and delete the recording that you don't want. It then moves to Recently Deleted, where it deletes permanently after 30 days. Until then, you can choose to restore it or delete it permanently. Select Recover All or Erase All to affect all recordings at one time.

* If you use iOS 11 or earlier, or macOS High Sierra or earlier, your Voice Memos are included in iCloud Backup, not iCloud.

Learn more about iCloud storage

  • Find out what's in Others in your iCloud storage.
  • If you have a web-only iCloud account, you can reduce how much of your 1 GB total of storage that you're using by moving or deleting documents.
  • For more information on availability of iCloud features, see the iCloud system requirements.

Learn how iCloud operates in China mainland.