How to Quickly Free Up iPhone Storage
If you’re running out of storage on your iPhone there are a few steps you can take to quickly free up space for new apps, videos, or a new version of iOS.
The iPhone doesn’t come with a microSD card slot which puts a greater importance on the device’s internal storage space. This is particularly true if you own an 8GB, 16GB or 32GB iPhone model. That space can fill up fast.
A full, or nearly full iPhone can be irritating because your phone will alert you if you don’t have enough space to take a photo, download a new application, or install a brand new iOS update. If you’re getting tired of seeing these alerts, you’ll want to get a handle on what’s causing the problem.
This guide will show you how to quickly free up space on your iPhone without having to delete important files or investing in additional iCloud storage.
Delete Saved Podcasts
If you’ve downloaded podcasts on your iPhone they’re probably taking up a ton of space on your device’s hard drive. If you’re done with any of your saved podcasts, delete them.
To do this you’ll want to head into the Settings app rather than Podcasts. From there go to General > Storage & iCloud Usage > Manage Storage under the Storage section > Podcasts.
There you’ll see a list of the Podcasts you have saved. Tap Edit and delete anything you no longer listen to.
If you’re deep in the podcast game you might save yourself a few GB of space.
Delete Music You No Longer Need
If you use a service like Apple Music you might like to save songs to your device’s internal hard drive. These can start to add up if you aren’t careful.
Finding and deleting music you no longer listen to or no longer need to store locally should only take you a few minutes.
If you’re using Apple Music head to your Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage > Manage Storage. Find Apple Music on the list and tap it.
From there you can choose to delete individual songs with a simple swipe or, if you’d prefer to go nuclear, you can delete all of your music with a swipe on All Songs at the top of the screen.
If you’re using Spotify, deleting locally stored music is a much different process.
Instead of going into Settings you’ll need to go into the app itself and manually delete the songs, playlists, and albums stored on your device.
If you send and receive lots of iMessages they might be taking up multiple GBs of hard drive space.
First, check your internal storage via Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage > Manage Storage. If you notice data from the Messages app taking up a ton of space on your iPhone, head back to Settings and scroll down and tap Messages.
Once you’re in there, scroll down to the Message History section. Tap the Keep Messages tab and make sure you’re set on 30 Days.
Warning: This will delete previously stored data so make sure you save important texts or files from within those texts before taking this step.
Delete Apps You Don’t Use
Deleting apps you no longer use is a simple but effective way to cut down on the clutter eating away at your hard drive.
Head into Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage > Manage Storage. From there you’ll need to determine what apps can stay and which apps can go.
If you determine you no longer need an app, select it from the list with a tap. From there, tap on Delete App.
You can always download the app again.
Stop Saving Two Photos
If you use your iPhone’s HDR mode you might’ve noticed that your phone saves two copies of your photos. One is an HDR version and the other is a normal version.
To put an end to double-saving, go ahead and open Settings > Photos & Camera. Scroll down to the bottom of this page to where it says HDR (High Dynamic Range).
Tap the toggle next to Keep Normal Photo to turn this function off. If you own an iPhone 7 Plus you’ll also see a toggle for Portrait mode. Disable that as well.
If you use Instagram, you also might be doubling up photos. In addition to the normal photo your device will also save a cropped/filtered Instagram photo.
To shut this off, open up the Instagram app. From there tap your profile tab in the bottom right corner and then tap the little gear icon in the upper right corner of your screen.
Under the Settings section, hit the toggle next to Save Original Photos to turn this function off.
Get Rid of Recently Deleted Photos & Videos
If you recently deleted a photo or a video from your iPhone that photo or video is probably still taking up space.
If you don’t want to wait a month for iOS to automatically delete your photos and videos, you’ll need to manually delete them from your phone.
To do this head into the Photos app and head to your Albums. Scroll down to the Recently Deleted album and tap on it.
From there you can select individual photos and videos to permanently delete. Or, if you’d rather get rid of them all, you can opt to delete them all.
Clear Browser History
You can also quickly free up storage space by clearing your browser’s data.
If you use Safari go into your iPhone’s Settings > Safari > and scroll down to where it says Clear History and Website Data. Tap that.
Clearing this will remove your browsing history, cookies, and other data from Safari. Your history will also be cleared from any devices signed into your iCloud account.
If that sounds like a plan, tap Clear History and Data again.
If you’re a Google Chrome user head into the app and tap the three vertical circles located in the top right corner.
Here you can select to delete Browsing History, Cookies & Site Data, Cached Images & Files, and Autofill Data.
If you’d prefer to delete everything, tap Settings > Privacy > Clear Browsing Data. From there, select them all (you’ll see a check mark on the right once you’ve done this) and then click Clear Browsing Data.
Delete Your Reading List
Safari’s offline reading mode is useful when you don’t have an internet connection but it can take up unnecessary space on your iPhone. Try clearing it to free up some space.
To clear Safari’s offline reading list on your iPhone, head into Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage.
Under the Storage section, tap Manage Storage > Safari. Next, swipe left over Offline Reading List and tap Delete to clear the cache.
To delete individual items from your reading list open up Safari, head into your Reading List and swipe left to delete anything you no longer need.
Update to iOS 10.3.2
If you declined to install iOS 10.3 or iOS 10.3.1, download iOS 10.3.2 to free up some space.
If you skipped iOS 10.3 or iOS 10.3.1, the iOS 10.3.2 update will deliver the APFS file change that first arrived on board Apple’s iOS 10.3 update. Thanks to APFS, you might see some additional free storage open up on your device.
You won’t get an extra 10GB of storage space but you could get 7GB+ of free space. We got about 2GB of space back on our iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.
Install iOS 10.3.2 If You Want Better Security
If you value your security, you'll want to seriously consider downloading the iOS 10.3.2 update on your iPhone or iPad.
iOS 10.3.2 brings (by our count) 23 security patches for a potential exploits. That's a ton for a small maintenance update and a great reason to install iOS 10.3.2 in the near future.
Your iOS 10.3.2 update will bring even more security features if you failed to download previous versions of iOS.
If you skipped iOS 10.3.1, your iOS 10.3.2 update will bring its security patch. If you skipped iOS 10.3, iOS 10.3.2 will also bring its monster list of patches as well.
The iOS 10.3 update delivered over 60 known patches for potential exploits. That's substantial, even for a milestone upgrade. The previous version of iOS 10, iOS 10.2.1, brought 14 known patches.
If you skipped the iOS 10.2.1 update and/or the iOS 10.2 update, know that iOS 10.3.2 brings their security patches with it as well. Again, the iOS 10.2.1 update had 14 important patches on board. You can see them all right here.
If you failed to install Apple's iOS 9.3.5 update, iOS 10.3.2 will also bring the three crucial security patches it delivered last year. These patch up serious security problems that could potentially expose your calls, contacts, texts, and emails.
These patches enhance the security on your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch making them ideal for those of you who store sensitive files/data on your device.