iPhones now come in a variety of storage sizes ranging from 32 GB to 512 GB, and depending on your usage, your device may or may not have enough room for you. While saving space isn't hard, there are some ways you may not have thought of — or possibly forgot — that can help you squeeze the last few megabytes out of your iOS device. Continue reading to learn 11 hidden tips to free up your iPhone's storage space!
11 Offload Unused Apps
Lots of apps can be overwhelming, and many apps and games are getting larger, taking up more and more space. It can be challenging to decide which apps to delete. After all, what data will you lose? Will you need to start over from square one on that game that doesn't support cloud syncing? Will you need to set up your favorite health app again?
Luckily, Apple makes it easy for iOS users to remove apps without losing data. Many apps and games store their data on iCloud, but for those that don't, iOS lets you “offload” apps without losing data: This can be done automatically or manually depending on your preference.
If your iPhone doesn't have a lot of storage space, you may consider setting up to offload apps automatically.
- iPhone Storage.
- Enable “Offload Unused Apps”.
You will also be able to see how much storage you will save. Keep in mind, the data itself remains on your device.
If you'd rather manually offload apps, you can also do this under the iPhone Storage Settings. Just select an app from the list and tap the Offload App button.
10 Use iCloud, Dropbox or External Storage
Using cloud storage solutions — such as iCloud or Dropbox — will let you access files over the Internet instead of storing them directly on your device. Apple’s Files app is an excellent solution, as iCloud is built right in, and you can add other cloud storage services so you can access all of your documents and media in one place.
If you'd prefer to keep your data out of the cloud and on a physical device, there are many external storage options that will work with your iPhone to back up photos, videos and documents.
9 Optimize iPhone Storage (Photos)
Photos and videos take up a lot of room. There are a few things you can do to help minimize the amount of space these files take up on your device.
First, you can use iCloud Photos to keep your media files in the cloud.
- This can be enabled under Settings.
- Scroll down and select Photos.
- Once activated, you can choose to “Optimize iPhone Storage” or “Download and Keep Originals.”
Choosing the latter will save the full-resolution photos and videos to your device taking up a lot of space. If this isn't something you need, you may want to choose to optimize storage. This results in smaller files, and stores the full file in iCloud so you can download it if needed.
8 Don’t Keep Both Photos When Using HDR
Another option is only to save one photo when shooting HDR. HDR — high dynamic range — can help a photo pop. iOS can save both the HDR file and the original file so you can choose which one you like best at a later time. But if you're strapped for space, you may just want to discard the original.
- Find the section HDR and a toggle for “Keep Normal Photo.” Simply toggle this switch off or on depending on your preference.
With this option disabled you will only save one photo, resulting in less used space.
7 High-Efficiency Formats (HEIF/HEVC)
JPEG and H.264 file formats are widely used for photos and video. This means these formats are the most compatible with a variety of devices and software. If you have all Apple products, have a decent understanding of media formats, and are low on space, you may want to consider using high-efficiency formats — HEIF and HEVC — instead. These formats are much smaller, saving you valuable storage space.
- Select "High Efficiency".
6 Low-Resolution Video Recording
Newer iPhones are capable of recording up to 4K resolution video. As incredible as 4K is, those extra pixels take up a lot of your device’s storage. Additionally, 4K may not always the best option, like if you don't actually own a 4K display.
If your phone doesn't have a lot of space, you might want to stick with 1080p. You can also shoot in 720p if you need to save even more space.
- Resolution and frame rate can be set under Settings.
- Record Video.
- Select 1080p or 720p.
Apple even provides estimates for how much space each format takes up. For example, one minute of video in 720p takes up about 40 MB. Compare that to 400 MB for one minute of video in 4K (60 FPS).
5 Setup iMessage to Delete Old Messages
Texting seems to be the default form of communication these days. Why walk across the room when you can text someone from the comfort of the couch? Jokes aside, iMessage is probably up there on your list of most-used apps. While a few messages might not take up a lot of room, these messages stack up and take up precious space.
This is especially a problem for users that are close to their storage limit. One way of dealing with this is to delete old message threads. But, there's an even better way.
- Keep Messages.
- You can tell your device to delete photos that are over a year old or 30 days old.
Also under the Messages settings, you can choose to have audio messages expire or enable Low-Quality Image Mode (not recommended). Both of these options can save additional space.
4 Delete Old Photos in iMessage
You can easily delete iMessage attachments.
- iPhone Storage.
Here you can review attachments by type and delete individual attachments. You can also review and delete large message threads.
3 Remove Books You Aren’t Reading
If you’re a heavy reader who uses the Books app, you might be using up extra space. As you complete a book – simply delete it from your device. Like media and apps, these purchases are saved and can be downloaded again as needed. Books not on your device will still show up and you can simply tap to re-download and start reading.
2 Delete Individual App Data Where Possible
Your games and apps might have in-app content that takes up space. Remove downloaded Netflix movies, delete unused game files, and remove music downloads that you're not using. This will help free up storage.
1 Stream iTunes Media
A lot of the videos we watch and the music we listen to is now streamed. But that doesn't mean you still have to download iTunes purchases. Both music and movies purchased on iTunes can be streamed to your phone. Keep in mind, while streaming over cellular will let you watch movies on the go without taking up storage, it will use your data plan or Wi-Fi data allotment.
Enable iCloud Music Library under..
- iCloud Music Library.
You can find your existing iTunes movies and TV shows on the TV app. To stream over cellular and specify resolutions, go to..
- iTunes Videos.
✓ Make Sure to Choose the iPhone That's Right for You
Apple’s never offered removable storage on iOS devices. In a way, they don't need to. Apple has always had excellent internal storage options. When purchasing a new device be sure to choose one that meets your storage needs. Think long term, look at space-saving options, and don't forget about cloud storage and streaming.
Purchasing a device with limited storage doesn't need to stop you from using your favorite apps and media. There are a variety of ways you can save space. If you have an idea that we didn't mention, let our other readers know in the comments and on social media. Thanks for reading!