Believe it or not, your iPhone has a limited amount of storage. (The exact amount depends on which iPhone you purchased: it could be 16 GB, 32 GB, 128 GB, or 256 GB.) If you take a lot of photos, download videos and music, and never delete text threads, you’ve probably used up a sizeable chunk of available memory. Don’t let it get to the point where you’re about to take a killer photo and your screen flashes “iPhone storage full.” Below we’ve compiled a list of tips to help you free up space and keep you out of a situation like that.
Tip #1: Track Your Storage and Delete Useless Apps
Track and manage your storage by going to Settings → General → Storage and iCloud Usage → Manage Storage. On the top of the screen you’ll be able to see how much of your storage is used and how much is still available. You can also see exactly how much memory is allotted to each app on your iPhone. Delete apps you hardly use, like that Merriam-Webster dictionary app you downloaded two years ago but haven’t touched since. (This will also help your iPhone run faster, a topic we’ve covered with more tips included.)
Tip #2: Delete Old Photos/Videos
The easiest (or hardest, depending on your level of sentimentality) way to clear up chunks of storage is to delete old photos and videos. Deleting is simple: go to the Photos app, tap the photo/video you want to delete, and click the Trash icon in the bottom-right corner. If you want to mass delete, tap Select in the top-right corner of the screen and then choose each batch of photos/videos to delete. The whole batch will be selected and you can delete them by clicking the Trash icon in the bottom-right corner. (Side bar: if you need help taking quality photos in the first place, check out our guide.)
Bonus tip: if you have HDR photos turned on, and want to stop double-saving photos, go to Settings → Photos & Camera → toggle Keep Normal Photo off.
Tip #3: Transfer Old Photos/Videos To Your Computer
If getting rid of old photos and videos isn’t an option for you, then your other choice is to transfer them to your computer or external storage device. To transfer to a computer: use your lightning charging cable and plug your iPhone into your computer. The Photos app on your computer should automatically launch, but if not, simply find it in your Applications folder and launch it manually. In the app, select the photos you wish to upload, check the “Delete items after import” box, and click “Import All New Items” in the top-right corner.
Tip #4: Delete Text Message Threads
Individual text messages eat up next-to-no memory, so it’s easy to forget that *all* of your text messages together actually do quite a number on your available storage. If you haven’t deleted any messages in a while (or ever), going through old text threads and deleting them is one of the simplest ways to free up space. Go to Messages, tap Edit (top-right), and then select the threads you’re OK deleting. (Obviously make sure it isn’t an important thread that has info you need. You don’t want to have to text Pamela from Accounts Payable for the office’s March Madness pool password again.)
Bonus tip: you can automatically delete messages based on time by going to Settings → Messages → Message History → select 30 days, 1 year, or Forever.
Tip #5: Manage Your Music Library
If you have a streaming service like Apple Music or Spotify, chances are most of your music in your library is up in the cloud, which doesn’t take up any storage space. But if you’ve downloaded music from those apps, you’ll begin to eat up storage rather quickly. Check your Storage Usage to see how much space is being taken up by downloaded music and clear out all expendable songs/albums/artists. And let’s be honest, most of the albums you downloaded were only because you really liked their Top 40 single and felt the need to have “context.”
Tip #6: Clear Web Browser Cache
Frequently using your web browser, such as Safari or Chrome, without clearing its cache is another way to use up valuable storage space. To clear your cache for Safari: Go to Settings → Safari → Clear History and Website Data. For Chrome: Open up the Chrome app and click on the three vertically aligned dots in the top-right. Tap on History and then tap Clear Browsing Data.