How to spring-clean your iPhone storage

Here's our quickie guide for spring-cleaning your device to clear up some much-needed iPhone storage.

spring clean iPhone storage

How long have you been avoiding that notification from your iPhone, telling you your iCloud storage is at capacity? We get it, and we’re here to help. With spring in full swing, we compiled a list of the easiest ways to spring-clean your device and free up some iPhone storage.

Delete apps you don’t need

This is an obvious and (mostly) straightforward place to start. There are bound to be apps you downloaded and only used once, taking up precious real estate on your phone. Deleting these can free up as much as 500MB on your device.  To delete an app from the home screen, tap and hold on its icon and wait for it (and the other icons too) to start “shaking,” this means you’re in edit mode. Then, tap on the X in the left corner to delete the app. Edit mode also allows you to drag app icons into new positions on the screen.

Stocks, Game Center and other hard-to-delete apps

Some apps aren’t as easy to delete because Apple includes the phone with them pre-installed on new iPhones. These include Stocks, Game Center, Notes, Calendar and various more default apps. In the past, Apple has prevented users from deleting these.

But, with the launch of iOS 10, you’re able to delete some of the preinstalled apps, such as Stocks, FaceTime and Mail. However, with these default apps, you’re really just hiding the app rather than deleting it fully. The data associated with that app will be deleted, but this isn’t likely to gain you very much space. And not all apps are included in this feature. Tips, Maps, Watch and Weather can be removed, for example, Safari, Phone and Messages cannot.

Clear out apps that are taking up most space

A handy way of finding and deleting the apps that are taking up the most space is to go to Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage, then tap Manage Storage. Apps are listed in order of how much space they take up. Anything near the top of the list that you don’t use regularly should be a high priority for deletion. If an app you rarely use is taking up 300MB of space then delete it. Fear not, you can always download it again for free if you want to. Once you have bought something it’s tied to your unique Apple ID so Apple knows you own it.

Delete app data you don’t need

To look deeper into the storage space, look again at Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage > Manage Storage and tap on the arrow beside one of the apps listed there. This way you can see how much data is used by the app itself, and how much additional space is being used by your documents and data.

How to delete lots of messages at once

After clearing out your documents and data, here’s another quick win. Delete old messages from your iPhone. With less than a minute’s work, you can reduce the space taken by messages by 90%. You can clearly them quickly by telling iOS to purge any messages that have been on the device for longer than a specific period; anything older than 30 days, or anything more than a year old. You do this via Settings > Messages > Message History > Keep Messages, select a date range, then tap Delete.

Turn off Photo Stream

If you have Photo Stream turned on you will see photos you have taken on your iPhone or iPad, and those you have uploaded to your Mac from your camera. These images aren’t full resolution, but are still likely to take up a lot of space on your iPhone.  Go to Settings > Photos & Camera and deselect My Photo Stream. This will delete your Photo Stream from your iPhone.

Unfortunately, it also means that your iPhone photos are no longer uploaded to your Photo Stream on your other devices. You can always turn it back on again after the storage issue has passed, and the files will automatically re-sync.

Don’t keep both photos when using the HDR feature

Your phone can use an HDR mode to capture better photos in bad lighting. Make sure that you aren’t keeping the normal photo if you are using both regular and HDR camera. Go to Settings > Photos and Camera and deselect Keep Normal Photo.

Check your photo-editing apps

Photo-editing apps are very popular these days in our Instagram-obsessed culture.  You may have dozens of MBs worth of data in editor apps. Load up those apps and delete the images you no longer need. After all, we had already saved the edited ones to your phone camera roll.

Erase and restore your iPhone

The ‘Other’ section of your iOS Storage breakdown can be frustrating, especially when you’ve got very little space left on your iPhone for your favorite apps, photos and music. However, there is one thing that can be done to remove the Other section, which is usually filled with Safari bookmarks, text attachments and calendar entries, and that is to wipe and restore your iPhone.

Make sure you back up your iPhone first, then head to Settings > General > Reset > Erase all content and settings to erase your iPhone and wipe the ‘other’ section. While there may still be a small Other section on your iPhone, it shouldn’t be as big as originally and should offer a few hundred MB of extra storage.
And! Spring cleaning doesn’t always mean out with the old and in with the new. If your device is cracked, don’t rush to the store and buy a new one, iCracked will travel to you and repair it any time, any place.

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