How to Free Up Space on Your iPhone or iPad


 How to Free Up Space on Your iPhone or iPad

How much space is left on your iOS device? Do you hit a wall whenever you try to update your OS or download new apps? What's the best way to move files you want to keep in order to free up space? And how can you make smart decisions about what to keep and what to delete? Follow these few simple steps, and you'll be on your way to a less overloaded, more organized iPhone or iPad.

Check Your Total Usage
First, assess how much space you have. Go to Settings > General > [device] Storage. At the top, you'll see a color-coded bar chart that outlines how much space certain categories of apps are taking up on your device.

iPhone Storage screen under Settings
You don't need to understand these numbers deeply. To update iOS, you'll want to have up to 6GB of free space. If you simply want to have enough free space so you can take new photos and install new apps without worrying about hitting an obstacle, give yourself at least 2GB of free space.


Note that when you add your available space and the used space, they won't add up to the total size of your phone's storage. That's because it doesn't factor in the space being used by the operating system.

Find Apps Taking Up the Most Space
If you continue to scroll down under Storage, you'll see a list of all your apps, in order of how much space they consume.

Select any app, and a new page shows the usage in two parts: the amount of space the app itself uses (in light gray at the top) and the space used by the app's data and documents. For example, the Podcasts app shown takes up 1.63GB total: 25.3MB for the app and 1.6GB for documents and data (that's all those podcasts).

iPhone Settings screen with App Size
Sometimes, this information helps you see that it's not the app that takes up space, but rather what you store in it. In this case, you can see that podcast episodes and photo-heavy Messages are taking up the bulk of the space on the device. In the case of podcasts, episodes can be quickly deleted from this menu by swiping left.

Target Apps You Don't Use
Delete Them
Spotify Settings screen
On that device storage page, look for apps you don't use.Tap them and select Delete App. Any purchased app is always available to re-download again at no extra charge from the App Store.

To delete apps from the home screen, place your finger on an app you want to delete and hold. Apps will start to wiggle and a small minus symbol appears on each icon. Tap it, and confirm to delete. To stop the wiggling, press the home button on devices that have it or tap Done on the top right for those that do not.

Offload Them
If you want to temporarily disable an app without deleting its settings, like when you have to free up space to install an iOS update, Apple lets you offload them. They'll remain on your home screen, but you'll need to tap to re-download to get back in. Find the app on the storage list, tap it, and select Offload App.

You can also set up the automatic removal of apps you don't use often. Go to Settings > App Store > Offload Unused Apps and toggle it on.

Check Your Photo and Video Use
The Photos app often takes up a lot more space than people realize, so let's deal with that app directly. Under Settings > General > [device] Storage, find Photos to see how much storage it's using. If you have more than 1GB here, you should consider copying photos and videos to a cloud storage service so you can delete them from your device.

If you have a Google account, an easy option here is Google Photos. Download the app, sign in, and tap your account icon on the top right. Select Google Photos Settings > Back up & sync and toggle Back Up & Sync to on. Make sure Google Photos has access to Photos (Settings > Google Photos > Photos > All Photos) and then, every photo you take with your device will be automatically backed up to Google Photos when you're online and accessible across your devices and on the web.

Backup and sync screen
Google used to offer unlimited photo storage via Google Photos, but that deal is dead, so plan accordingly as photo and video uploads count against your Google account storage. If you're a Prime member, Amazon Photos still offers unlimited uploads; here are a few more alternatives.

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