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 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:
- Go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage.
- At the top, you’ll see a color-coded bar showing how much space you have left, how muchis taken up, and what's taking it up. The biggest categories are usually Photos and Apps, but that depends on your usage.
- 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.
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 clear storage on iPhone, step by step:
- Clean up your photo library
- Clear browser cache
- Clear app cache and other app data
- Delete attachments in Messages
- 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 storage on iPhonewith it:
- Download Gemini Photos and launch it. It will automatically start scanning your library.
- 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.
- Tap Delete All.
- Go to Similar. Sets of similar photos will be grouped and pre-selected, with the best photo in each set remaining.
- Review a set, select other photos if you want to, and tap Move to Trash to trash selected photos.
- When you’re done reviewing sets of similar photos, tap Empty Trash.
- Go through Duplicates, Videos, and Other to sort out the rest of your photo library.
- Finally, go to the Photos app, and scroll down to Recently Deleted.
- 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:
- Go to Settings.
- Find Safari.
- Choose Clear History and Website Data.
If you use Chrome, follow these steps to clear its cache:
- Open Google Chrome on your iPhone.
- Tap Options > Settings.
- Scroll down and tap Privacy.
- Tap Clear Browsing Data.
- 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:
- Before you start, make sure you remember your logins to various apps or have them saved somewhere.
- 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.
- Tap Delete App.
- 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:
- Go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage.
- Scroll down and tap on Messages.
- 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.
- Tap Edit in the upper-right corner.
- Mark all attachments you want to delete.
- 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:
- Open the Netflix app.
- Go to Downloads.
- Tap on the pencil icon in the top right corner.
- Tap on the red X to delete the video.
Next up, YouTube. To delete offline YouTube videos, follow these steps:
- Launch the YouTube app.
- Go to Library > Downloads.
- Tap on the three dots next to a downloaded video.
- Tap “Delete from downloads.”
- Repeat for each video.
Finally, to delete offline playlists or podcasts in Spotify, do the following:
- Open Spotify.
- Go to Your Library > Music > Playlists.
- The playlists you downloaded will be marked with a green arrow. Tap on a playlist like that.
- Tap on the green arrow icon below the name of the playlist.
- When a confirmation popup appears, tap Remove.
- 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:
- Sign in to your iCloud.com account. It’s the same as your Apple ID.
- Go to Settings on your device and select Photos.
- 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:
- Go to Settings and select Camera.
- 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:
- Go to Settings and tap Messages.
- Scroll down to Message History and tap Keep Messages.
- Change Forever to 30 days or 1 year.
- 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.
iOS devices are notorious for being storage hogs. A quick way to free up space on your device is to delete unused apps and photos. To delete an app, hold down on the app icon until all the icons start wiggling. Then tap the X in the top left corner of the app you want to delete.How do I clear space on my iPhone when it runs out of storage? ›
Open your iPhone's Settings menu, tap General and go to iPhone Storage. You'll see a list of your apps along with how much space each app occupies and the last time you used it. Scroll through the list and try deleting apps that you haven't used in a long time. Get rid of apps you haven't used in a long time.What should I do when iPhone storage is full? ›
- Offload the app, which frees up storage used by the app, but keeps its documents and data.
- Delete the app, which removes the app and its related data.
- Depending on the app, you might be able to delete some of its documents and data.
- Close apps that don't respond. You don't usually need to close apps. ...
- Uninstall apps you don't use. If you uninstall an app and need it later, you can download it again. ...
- Clear the app's cache & data. You can usually clear an app's cache and data with your phone's Settings app.
- Download the app for free (Apple/Android)
- Log in using your Google account. ...
- Click “Device Folders” to select which folders you want to back up.
- Once all your media is backed up, click “Free Up Space”.
It could be that your iPhone has accumulated cache files over a period of time and those caches have now become too large for your iPhone to handle. In this case, what you can do is to clear the cache files for the Safari browser on your iPhone to free up memory space.Can you add extra GB to iPhone? ›
Go to Settings, then tap your name. Tap iCloud, then tap Manage Account Storage or Manage Storage. Or scroll down and tap Upgrade to iCloud+. Tap Buy More Storage or Change Storage Plan.Does deleting text messages free up space? ›
You'll be surprised to see how much storage space your text messages take on your smartphone. You may not even realize those messages are being saved to your phone. Don't worry, you can delete them. Be sure to delete messages with photos and videos first — they chew up the most space.Do emails take up space on your phone? ›
Also make sure you check other folders where emails are stored. Tap the Menu (three lines) icon at the top left. Check the Sent folder or any other folder you think may contain emails you can delete. Regular emails do not take up a lot of space.How to clean up your iPhone? ›
Using a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe, 75 percent ethyl alcohol wipe, or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, you may gently wipe the exterior surfaces of your iPhone. Don't use products containing bleach or hydrogen peroxide. Avoid getting moisture in any openings, and don't submerge your iPhone in any cleaning agents.
Check the Recently Deleted Folder
This means that deleted data still exists on your phone—and is synced to iCloud—for some time, despite you having deleted it. People commonly forget to clear this album out since the folder is buried far down in the Photos app.
If you're ready to free up space, tap Delete # items. Open the iPhone or iPad Photos app (not the Google Photos app). Tap Recently Deleted and delete those same photos and videos.Can deleting photos help clear storage? ›
You can use Google Photos to save space on your device when you delete photos that are safely backed up.Why does my iPhone storage keep filling up without doing anything? ›
Clear out the Safari cache and close tabs
If you use Safari often, your iPhone may be storing web history and data that you simply do not need. To clear Safari's browser cache, go to Settings > Safari and Clear History and Website Data.
And to jump from 128GB to 256GB, you will need to shell out $100. This pricing applies to the current-gen iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro models. However, storage costs increase exponentially, as the 512GB models cost $200 more than the 256GB variants.How do I free up space on my phone without deleting anything? ›
- Clear All Apps' Cache.
- Delete Unnecessary Downloads.
- Transfer Apps to SD Card.
- Transfer Photos via USB Cable.
- Vicky Carter.
And don't forget your text messages–All those shared photos, videos, and GIFs can take up space.Does call history take up storage? ›
No. The storage space that the calling list occupies is so small that it is negligible. Note that most amount of storage space is occupied by media data/files.How often should you delete texts? ›
It's easier to keep secrets.
But automatically clearing your texting history every 30 days can help you avoid getting in trouble if your phone slips into the wrong hands.
When your phone storage is full, it basically means your device is clogged with large files — videos, photos, apps and the like. The culprit could also be memory-hogging junk files…
Delete Emails Sooner
The items that are waiting to be deleted take up space on your phone, so if you delete them sooner, you'll free up space faster. To change that setting: Open the Settings app and select Passwords & Accounts. Then, tap the email account whose setting you want to change.
Sometimes the "Android storage space running out but it's not" issue is caused by the overwhelming amount of data stored on your phone's internal memory. If you have many apps on your Android device and use them simultaneously, cache memory on your phone can be blocked, which leads to Android insufficient storage.Should I clear cookies on my iPhone? ›
While it's not strictly necessary, deleting your iPhone's cookies from time to time can help you save space and fix some browsing issues. What are cookies? These are small files that keep track of what you do online.Is there a free app to clean up my iPhone? ›
Cleaner app for iPhone offers the fastest and easiest way to free up iPhone device storage space by deleting similar photos, screenshots, and large video files. You can also organize your contact list by merging duplicate contacts or deleting incomplete contacts with just a few steps.How often should you clean iPhone? ›
If you never use your phone while eating, you don't have to be as diligent about cleaning your device. But if you tend to use your phone all the time—including during meals—a daily cleanse with a disinfectant wipe is a good idea. “I clean mine twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening,” Tierno says.What happens when Android storage is full? ›
When your phone storage is full, it basically means your device is clogged with large files — videos, photos, apps and the like. The culprit could also be memory-hogging junk files… yes, on your smartphone.How do I delete to free up storage? ›
- On your Android device, open the Google One app .
- At the bottom, tap Storage. Free up account storage.
- Select the category you want to manage.
- Select the files you want to remove. To sort files, at the top, tap Filter . ...
- After you select your files, at the top, tap Delete .
Delete unused apps
First, identify any unused apps that are eating up memory and causing your smartphone to lag. Permanently delete them to get more storage space and improve your phone's processing speed.
If you have many apps on your Android device and use them simultaneously, cache memory on your phone can be blocked, which leads to Android insufficient storage. In this case, you can choose to uninstall some unwanted or unused apps to free up storage space.What's taking up all my storage? ›
Right-click on the Windows Start button and then click Settings. From the left sidebar, select the System tab. In the right pane, click Storage. In this section, you can see what type of data occupies the most space on your currently crowded and other drives.
- Open up the Settings app.
- Tap on General Management and tap on Reset.
- Select the Factory data reset option.
- On the final screen, confirm by tapping Reset Device and Delete All.
- On your Android phone or tablet, open the Chrome app .
- At the top right, tap More .
- Tap History. Clear browsing data.
- At the top, choose a time range. To delete everything, select All time.
- Next to "Cookies and site data" and "Cached images and files," check the boxes.
- Tap Clear data.
- Find and Remove Large Media Files. ...
- Delete Downloads From Streaming Apps. ...
- Clear Cache for Frequently Used Apps. ...
- Try Lite Apps. ...
- Use Cloud Storage. ...
- Free up Storage From Google Photos. ...
- Check Storage Manager. ...
- 2 Comments.
If you're seeing an "Insufficient storage available" message on your Android, chances are that you've used up most of your device's available memory. To fix this, you'll need to make some space by deleting apps and/or media; you can also add external storage, such as a Micro SD card, to your phone.What is *# 9900? ›
*#9900# Opens up system dump mode.Does deleting photos help with storage? ›
You can use Google Photos to save space on your device when you delete photos that are safely backed up. Before you use this feature, you must ensure that you've already backed up your photos properly.Can I buy more storage for my phone? ›
Buy storage via the Google One app
On your Android phone or tablet, make sure you're signed into your Google account. From the Play Store, download the Google One app. In the Google One app, at the bottom, tap Upgrade. Choose your new storage limit.