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What Should You Do if You Are Running out of Storage on Your iPhone?

iphone storage

If you’ve ever received a notification on your iPhone which indicated that you were running out of space, there’s no doubt that it made you very frustrated.  Of course, this makes it difficult to be able to do much of anything – including watching the movie that you want to watch.  That said, while receiving the warning is annoying, you should have definitely looked at this sooner.  Like with anything, maintenance is key, so don’t wait until it gets to that point.  There are things that you can do to avoid this all together.  Keep reading to find out how:

iphone storage

What’s Using Up All Your Space?

Before you start to do anything, you should take a few minutes to assess your iPhone storage situation.  You might already know what the problem is.  For example, maybe you like having a ton of offline movies to watch on your iPhone, or you have a massive amount of unplayed podcasts.  Or maybe you just finished shooting a thousand pictures when you were on vacation.

Grab your iPhone, tap on Settings, tap General, and tap iPhone Storage. You’ll see what should be a familiar sight: the little graph that shows you how much space you have to work with and which kinds of data—apps, media, photos, or the mysterious “other”—are all filling up your iPhone. Right below that, you’ll see a list of your apps, ranked in order of how much space they and their data take up on your device.

You can then tap on any app to see the split between how much space the app takes up, and how much space its related documents & data take up.  This is important because if you use iOS’ “Offload App” feature, it’ll only remove the amount listed under “app size.” In the case of a podcast app, for example, it might be a mere 36.4MB, which is hardly worth it to clean up.  But the real problem is the 7.4 GB of unplayed podcasts.

iphone x

What About Photos and Videos?

I take a decent amount of photos on my iPhone 8, and while I only have 64GB, it hardly does anything to my overall iPhone storage.  If you are shooting more than me, or let’s say 4K videos, you’ll definitely need to take your iPhone storage into consideration.  How can you clean up the media on your iPhone?

Go back to the iPhone Settings app, scroll down a bit, and tap on Photos. Make sure that your device is set up to use iCloud Photos—assuming you have space to store your media there—and that the option to Optimize iPhone Storage is checked. That way, your original media will head to the cloud and your device will download smaller versions if, or when, you start to run out of space on your iPhone. You might also want to go ahead and physically connect your iPhone to your Mac or PC, and then transfer your photos and videos off your device manually.

Another option would be to use a third-party app like Google Photos.  This will allow you to upload everything to the cloud for free.  Once you’ve backed up all of your files elsewhere—either to a computer or the cloud—you can delete them off of your iPhone. Don’t forget to clear out your Recently Deleted album in Photos, too, or else your device won’t free your space for up to 40 days.  This is something that I regularly do.

apple music

Delete or Download Less Music

If you’re an Apple Music user, then you might find that you’ve got a lot of music on your device.  Again, head back into the iPhone Settings app.  Scroll down a little bit and tap on Music.  Look for the “Downloaded Music” option. This will definitely tell you how much space you’re spending on albums and songs from Apple’s streaming service.

You can tap on “Downloaded Music” to view all the downloaded music that’s taking up space on your device, by artist. To delete anything, tap on Edit in the upper-right corner and tap on any artists you no longer need for offline listening. (You can also tap into any artist listing—like Unknown Artist—to get a bit more specific about your removals.)

imessage

Clean Up iMessages

Last, but not least, you might want to consider cleaning up your iMessages.  Again, go back to iPhone Storage from the Settings app, and then tap on “General”.  Look for Messages in here.  Tap on that option, and you will probably be asked if you want to review any “Large Attachments”.  From there, head into your Messages app and clean up the messages in order to free up this space.

Again – these are things that you should be doing regularly in order to keep your iPhone in good working order.

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