iPhone Storage Full? 6 Steps to Free Up Space

Uh-oh: your iPhone storage is full — again. This frequent problem plagues all sorts of iPhone owners, and it can be really frustrating. This time, instead of just deleting a few random things, follow this sequence of six steps. You’ll free up much more space so you can get back to using your phone the way you want to.
  • Delete unused apps
  • Offload old photos and videos (or use a cloud service)
  • Analyze what’s taking up the most space
  • Check the list of apps by size
  • Examine common problem apps
  • Consider Apple’s additional recommendations (like “Review Large Attachments”)
Check out fuller explanations for each of these steps below.

Delete Unused Apps

If your iPhone storage is full, the first thing to try is simply deleting any unused apps on your iPhone. Every installed app takes up at least a little bit of storage space, so it pays to remove the ones you never use.

Offload Old Photos and Videos (Or Use a Cloud Service)

Nothing eats up storage on your iPhone faster than photos and videos. In fact, if your iPhone storage is full, it's likely filled with photos. It’s tough: you don’t want to delete them because you know some of them are meaningful. But going through every single one takes so much time. So, for many users, many gigabytes of photos and videos just sit there on their phones.
Take the time to offload old photos and videos to your computer or external hard drive. Or, better yet, use a cloud service. iCloud can get expensive, but Google Photos and Amazon Photos (for Prime members) offer quite a bit of storage for not a lot of money.
Once you’ve backed up the photos somewhere, delete them from your phone and reclaim the space.

Analyze What’s Taking Up the Most Space

If you’re still struggling for space after the first two steps, it’s time to put on your analyst hat and do some deeper investigation. Here’s what to do:
  • 1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  • 2. Tap General.
  • 3. Tap iPhone Storage.
The segment at the top will show you how much space is going to various types of content on your device. You might be surprised by what you see there. If so, you can start investigating the areas that seem out of proportion.
You’ll also see some recommendations below the colored bar. Emptying the “recently deleted” album is a safe bet, but the others get sort of complicated. More on some of those later on.

Check App Size List

On the same screen as the previous step, below the recommendations, you’ll see a long list of apps and services. These are arranged from largest to smallest in terms of storage space, and it’s a great place to do some checking and editing.
Some apps listed here won’t be a surprise. That AAA mobile game you play every day? It’s going to take some space. Have you downloaded a bunch of music to Amazon Music for offline listening? Then that 7 GB figure makes sense.
But you may also see stuff that doesn’t make sense. If you see apps or services that are way bigger than they need to be, tap them. Some apps give you some options for cleaning up space, while others don’t.
If an app is too big but you can’t justify getting rid of it entirely, try deleting it from your phone and then downloading it again. Apps that do a lot of caching can grow over time and downloading them again is the only way to clear app cache on an iPhone (at least for most apps).

Examine Top Problem Apps

If checking app size is too overwhelming, you might want to focus on some top “problem” apps, including these:
  • Facebook (and other photo-heavy social apps)
  • Podcasts
  • 3rd Party Music Apps like Amazon Music
Photo-heavy social apps like Facebook often abuse cache. And, unfortunately, Apple’s Podcasts app doesn’t always delete podcasts when you finish listening (especially after the latest updates to Apple Podcasts, which seem to have messed everything up again).
Additionally, 3rd party music apps like Amazon Music helpfully download entire playlists for offline listening. That’s great if you need it, but bad if you need space more.

Consider Apple’s Additional Recommendations

If your iPhone storage is full still, it’s time to dive into Apple’s Additional Recommendations. These are located on the same Storage page in Settings as several of the other steps.
Your iPhone will populate this area with the recommendations it thinks might help your situation. You might not see all the same options every time. Here’s what to know about these.
iCloud Photos: Ignore unless you want to pay extra for iCloud.
Review Personal Videos: Videos do take up just a ton of space. Your iPhone will curate the ones that it thinks you might not care about, allowing you to delete them one by one.
Review Large Attachments: Text message attachments never go away on their own, and they can add up to half a gig or more before long. Tapping this option lets you see them all in one place.
Offload Unused Apps: Apple will automatically offload apps you don’t use to save space. This sounds great until you need an app, but Apple decided you didn’t. Don’t use this feature unless you have no other choices.

Protect Your iPhone (Storage and All) With an Upsie Extended Warranty

Hopefully, after following these steps, you’ll have plenty of room to work with on your iPhone. The next step is making sure that iPhone continues to work for you for years to come.
An iPhone subscription warranty from Upsie is a cost-effective and reliable way to do so. You’ll be covered for both product defects and accidental damage, and you can even use the Genius Bar for repairs if you need to make a claim.
For warranties that cost just $9.99 per month yet still include premium benefits, choose Upsie.

Learn More About iPhones:

Return to all posts

* This article is over 6 months old and may or may not be updated.