Is your iPhone or iPad running out of storage space? Here’s how to fix it

storage full ios 7

It becomes quite annoying when your iPhone and iPad runs out of storage space and you can’t do things like install new apps, click more photos or upgrade to iOS 7, since the OTA requires at least 3.1GB of free storage space. So here are some tips on how to free up space on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

Get an idea of your storage consumption

  • The first step to identify what can be deleted from your device is to get an idea of how much storage space is being consumed by each app on your device. This way, you can start off by deleting the ones which consume the most space, but are not used much. To see a list of apps reverse sorted by storage consumption, open Settings and navigate to General > Usage and you should see the Storage section.

storage-space-1Delete unwanted apps

  • The next step from here would be to go from the top of the list to the bottom, and delete the apps you don’t use. You can do this by tapping the app in the list, from where you’ll be taken to a detail view which has a “Delete App” button. Having the delete button here is especially convenient since you don’t have to go to the home screen and the app, go into editing mode and then press the tiny cross icon. The view also shows you the app size and its “Documents and Data” usage, which is usually the data that is cached for quick access.

storage-space-2

  • If you use an app everyday, but its Documents and Data size is too high, you can delete and reinstall it so that all the cached data gets cleared.
  • You can also delete games that occupy a large size, some upwards of 1GB, if you’ve completed or don’t play them.

Clear Music

  • To selectively delete songs you don’t listen to, you can open the Music app, go to any song list view and swipe from right to left on any song. A delete button should appear, which, when tapped, should remove the song from your device.

selective-song-delete

  • While you’re deleting your songs, you should also think of whether you can shift entirely to the cloud for your music. Apple has iTunes Match, iTunes in the Cloud, iTunes Radio built right into the iOS 7 Music app, and there are a number of other services like Spotify, Pandora, Rdio etc., that let you stream music.

ios7-itunesradio-hero

  • You could also tell iTunes to sync lower bit rate versions of songs, which occupy less space than their higher quality counterparts. To enable this, connect your device to iTunes, scroll to the Options section of the Summary tab for the device, and you should see a “Convert higher bit rate songs to AAC” checkbox. Select the bit rate you like and check the box.

itunes sd videos

  • If you already switched to an online music streaming service, you could consider deleting your entire music collection from your iPhone or iPad, by going to Settings > General > Usage > Tapping on Music under the Storage section. Once you’re in the detail view, tap on the “Edit” button at the top right, and you’ll see a red delete circle appear next to All Music. Tap on the circle, and tap on the delete button that appears and all your music should be deleted.

music-delete

  • If you listen to Podcasts, but have a lot of episodes belonging to shows that you no longer listen to, you can delete them by going to Settings > General > Usage > Podcasts and tapping the Edit button.

podcasts

Delete Videos

  • Videos occupy a lot of space, and you can free up a significant amount of memory by deleting unwanted videos. To delete videos in the Videos app, swipe from right to left on any video. Or if you want to delete multiple videos at once, tap the Edit button on the top. If you use VLC or any other third party apps, you could use their respective editing modes to delete videos.

videos delete ios 7

  • If you use iTunes to sync your video purchases, you can tell it to always prefer standard definition videos, which occupy less space than HD videos. To enable this, connect your device to iTunes, scroll to the Options section of the Summary tab for the device, and you should see a “Prefer standard definition videos” checkbox.

itunes sd videos

Clear Photos and Videos

  • If you use the camera a lot, your Photos and Videos might end up consuming a lot of space, especially if you do not keep transferring them to your PC or Mac. To import your photos from your iPhone or iPad, you can use iPhoto on the Mac or Windows’ inbuilt Pictures and Video importer, and both these programs give you an option to delete photos from your iPhone once the import is done.

iphoto import from phone

  • If you’re not a fan of wired transfers, then you can use Dropbox or Google+’s automatic photo backups, with the only downside being that you’ll have to manually keep deleting the photos that have been successfully uploaded.

Clear Safari Cache, Offline Reading List

  • Safari’s cache and the offline reading list might end up occupying much more space than you expect. To delete the offline reading list, go to Settings > General > Usage > Safari and tap on the Edit button on the top right. A red delete button will slide in next to “Offline Reading List,” from where you can delete your items. Note that, even if you delete items from your offline list, they’ll still be there in your reading list.

reading-list

  • Strangely, you can’t delete Safari’s cache from this menu itself. Instead, you’ll have to navigate to Settings > Safari > and tap on Clear Cookies and Data. If you, however, want to selectively delete data of certain websites you can go to Advanced > Website Data > Tap on Edit and delete whatever you don’t need.

safar-data

  • You can also clear your history, but that won’t free up a significant amount of space.

clear history

  • You can similarly also delete cache from Chrome by tapping the Menu icon, going to Settings > Privacy > Clear Browsing Data.

chrome-delete

Delete Messages

  • iMessages, especially ones with photo and video attachments, can eat up a lot of space without immediately coming to your notice. You can delete iMessage threads that you know include a lot of photos by opening the Messages app and swiping from right to left. You can also individually delete each message by long tapping on a chat bubble, tapping more and then deleting unwanted messages.

delete-messages

(Image via)

If you keep running out of space constantly, then you might want to think about buying an iPhone or iPad with a higher storage capacity or consider upgrading when you buy your next iPhone or iPad. You can follow this guide to decide which storage capacity iPhone should you buy.

If you have any other tips that you use to free up space, and we’ve missed them in the list, tell us in the comments below.

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  • BALTRL

    If there was only some way to delete JUST the photos within the iMessages.

    • Guest

      There’s a way. Press and hold the picture and a menu will pop up with the options “copy|more…” Click on more and then a circle will appear next to each entry which you can press on to mark it. You can the delete.

  • mtealo

    If only you could delete the ota IOS update if it uses 3+ GB as told by iPhone Hacks that downloads itself. Some users do not update their phones like my wife who has her iPhone 4s still on 5.1.1.

  • Squid

    What about the unresolved “OTHER” storage problem? Over 5GB wasted on my iPhone 4s and iPads….

    • BMWIIIMPower

      I’m going to look into this some more tonight… on a jailbroken iPhone on iOS6 the iMessage “attachments” were never actually deleted even if you deleted them in messages app. You would have to navigate to the “attachments” folder in the root of the device and delete them all from there. I’d usually gain back ALL of my other space. I once had 14.3 GB of attachments/”other.” I wonder if iOS7 solved this or if they still store the attachments. Anyone familiar with this know about iOS7?

      • BMWIIIMPower

        10 months later on iOS 7.1.2 and the iMessage attachments folder is still the culprit for me for the mysterious “other” space being taken up. I use iCleaner app in Cydia to help manage the clutter and periodically have to go into the root of the phone to Library/SMS/Attachments to delete the subfolders filled with photos/videos.

  • BMWIIIMPower

    REEAAALLLY wish the iPhone had a micro SD slot. You can get at 64gb class 10 micro sd for $49.53 on Amazon right now (and probably cheaper somewhere else.) Apple charging $100 to double the storage capacity makes me feel like I’m being cheated.

  • http://lowstuff.com/ Osward Isiguzo

    I you own an iPhone and you find it extremely difficult manipulating it after a month or two, do what you care about it and please get a Nokia

  • Carol

    How do. I delete t v shows that have a cloud next to them?

    • TM

      You need to sign into your cloud and delete them from there. (www.icloud.com)

  • Paul Browning

    I have to say this is a totally useless article that focuses on the minor issues of Pps and pics etc but completely avoids the BIG PROBLEM of “Other”, which uses over half the space on both my ipad and iphone. Why Apple think a file manager is so unnecessary is a complete mystery.

    • Gautam

      Feel free to share your tips on the “Other” BIG problem.

      • Paul Browning

        I’ve never found one, despite the hours and hours wasted searching and the data I’ve lost “restoring.” It just seems to me that Apple products aren’t that good. I think I’m just going to put it down to experience and never buy Apple again.

        • Mike

          the “other” problem is a problem specifically created by Apple to make sure you buy the next iGadget. I’m sur ether make it very hard to get rid of ‘other.’

  • tajjy

    Hey… I just painstakingly went through all my messages and deleted them going over a year back… the messages were taking up 6.2 GB… so I thought… perfect.. delete so I can free up storage space.. after going through about 8 months and deleting… I checked the storage… still showing message as using 6.2 GB… so I restarted phone.. only to discover that once the phone came back on… ALL THE MESSAGES WERE PUT BACK ON.. ugh!
    now what?

    • Sammi

      Don’t delete the messages one by one just go to the conversation screen and delete the conversation instead

      • Adeline

        It still doesn’t work.

  • Tbingy

    I have now deleted all my movies, pictures and apps, and I still don’t have enough space to install the new OS, how can I delete some preinstalled apple apps I don’t care for like the photo booth. this means the other is officially 26GB so what is a customer like me with a 32GB. iPad supposed to do? Can I go back to the old IOS?

  • MechanicalUnsuspicious

    Thank you so much! These tips helped a some. Best article I have found so far, and I’ve done a bit of looking

    • http://www.iphonehacks.com iPhoneHacks

      We’re glad you found it helpful.

  • strawlarryswing

    Thank you, this helped so much! (well except for the ‘Other’ storage issue) Also, you definitely have good taste in music ;)

  • J

    I delete apps,
    And it doesnt relieve of space?
    Do u kno why???
    ( iPad )

    • Justice

      Ive deleted Gmail, it helped actually, lol, thanks

  • LKRR

    Deleted over 300 songs but music storage is unchanged. What do you do when it doesn’t delete properly?

  • Deja Deanna-Marie Land

    These are ridiculous – obvious answers – the problem lies within the iPhone which holds messages pictures and videos long after they’re deleted in hidden unaccessible files. it’s ridiculous!

  • rpurka

    Just compress the video instead…

  • Josh

    I just bought more storage space in ICloud but it hasn’t seemed to give me any more storage space. Is there something I have to do to utilize this space?””””

    • Eli

      I’m afraid that iCloud is only the space that Apple allows you to use for backing up your files. Buying more iCloud space cannot increase your storage space on an iDevice – it simply allows you to backup more.

  • Parkwaydriven07 .

    If it says your messages are taking up like a ridiculously amount of space and you have deleted them all, go to Settings<Messages and then turn it on and off and back on again ! it worked for me

  • Jay

    What is this “Other” file actually ?

  • TM

    Thanks for this article. I have an iphone 5 and the most up to date ios release and was able to free up almost 6GB storage by using your tips!

  • http://www.iphone-manager.com/ copeland lee

    Great for this article. Moreover, you can try with this PhoneClean, it can help you Remove Junk Files & Clear Private Data on iPhone. including App Caches/Cookies/Temp files/Crash Logs, Photo Caches, Safari Cookies/Caches/History, and so on.

    View My Profile or Search YouTube Channel “iPhone Manager” for the way.

  • http://www.iphone-manager.com/ copeland lee

    Great for this article. Moreover, you can try with this PhoneClean, it can help you Remove Junk Files & Clear Private Data on iPhone. including App Caches/Cookies/Temp files/Crash Logs, Photo Caches, Safari Cookies/Caches/History, and so on.

    View My Profile or twitter to @copelandlee08

  • Jondi Gumz

    I just deleted a bunch on direct Twitter messages from my iPod so I could upgrade and my Twitter storage increased by 4 MB when i thought it would decrease. Please help! I am trying to delete things to free up space.

  • Josh

    I’m trying to download a movie on my ipad and it said I didn’t have enough storage so I deleted basically everything and still don’t have enough storage. It say I’ve used almost 10 GBs and I deleted everything that I possibly could!

  • avianeddy

    i make a habit of deleting message threads and the STORAGE REMAINS UNCHANGED! how the heck do you clear the Messages memory?. it is the worst offender in usage