Is your iPhone storage full? Free up disk space without deleting anything

When your iPhone is running out of storage space, it’s quite difficult to get something done. You can’t install the latest iOS software updates, download more apps, or even take a single photo or video. And your phone will probably crash more often. You have some obvious options to clean up your storage, but you either have to delete things or spend money.

You can remove large files like movies, TV shows, and music albums, but you might not be ready to give them up just yet. There are also various cloud alternatives to expand your existing storage, but that involves moving files and you may have to pay for it. You could also just buy a new phone with more storage – but that’s an expensive option.

Therefore, if you don’t like these options, you can and should use certain iOS features to free up space on your iPhone without having to delete anything or spend any money.

There are two built-in iOS settings that can help you clean up a significant amount of storage space on your iPhone — one permanent and the other temporary — so you can install the latest software updates, take more photos and videos, and download more apps . Here’s what you need to know.

If you want more tips on how to get more iPhone storage, check out how to free up space on your iPhone in 2023 with these simple tricks and best cloud storage options.

Enhance your iPhone photos and videos

It’s not always easy to simply delete the contents of your camera roll. So if you want to keep your precious memories or even just your meme screenshots but still free up device storage, the easiest way to do that is by optimizing the photos and videos already stored on your device.

READ :  Apple reveals the best iPhone apps and games for 2022

By default, every time you take a photo or video, it is saved to your device in full resolution. If you take photos and videos in the highest resolution possible, they can take up quite a bit of space. A minute of video in 4K at 60 frames per second takes up around 400 MB – almost half a GB. That’s pretty significant.

To optimize your photos and videos, go to Settings > Photos and turn on Optimize iPhone Storage (you must have the iCloud Photos setting turned on above for this to work). This may take some time depending on how many photos and videos you have on your iPhone, but once it’s done you should see significantly more space on your device storage.

You must have the iCloud Photos preference turned on for this to work.

Screenshot by Nelson Aguilar/CNET

All of your full-resolution photos and videos are then transferred to your iCloud, while smaller, lower-resolution versions remain on your device to take up less space. If you want to access your higher resolution photos and videos, you can go into the Photos app and download each file, which will be optimized, but this requires a decent internet connection. Your recent photos and videos may be in full resolution, so you don’t have to download every photo or video.

If you don’t have enough iCloud storage, upgrading your cloud is easier than buying a new phone. In the US, you can upgrade to 50GB for just a dollar a month, or you can go bigger: 200GB for $3 a month or 2TB for $10 a month. Prices vary by country or region.

READ :  Getting the "Use your Apple ID for iMessage" message? What to do

To update your iCloud on your iPhone, go to Settings > (your name) > iCloud > Manage Account Storage > Buy More Storage. Choose a plan and then follow the instructions. Upgrading to a paid iCloud subscription gives you access to iCloud+, which also offers iCloud Private Relay and Hide My Email features.

You can spend as little as $1 a month on more iCloud storage.

Screenshot by Nelson Aguilar/CNET Download your biggest apps

You don’t use every application stored on your iPhone. A lot of them just sit there, like apps for your favorite airlines, third-party cameras, and music production. And even if you only use it occasionally, you probably don’t need consistent, day-to-day access to most apps, so you might want to consider offloading apps if you’re in dire need of storage.

Suppose you want to download and install the latest iOS update. If it’s a major update like iOS 16, you might need a little over 5GB to successfully install the software. If it’s a point update like iOS 16.1, you’re looking at around 1GB. And if you don’t have enough storage space to update, you can quickly offload apps, which is a middle ground between keeping and deleting your apps.

Go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage and check which apps are taking up the most storage space. Certain built-in apps like Photos and Messages can’t be offloaded, so be warned. If you find a bulky app that you want to offload, tap on it and click Offload app. Wait a bit and the app should then be removed offline while your documents and data remain on your device.

READ :  Mourning the loss of Dark Sky? Clime is the weather app that fills the gap in 2023

You have to tap Offload App twice to “delete” the app.

Nelson Aguilar/CNET

If you need temporary storage for a software download, just go through the list and download any app you can find. The amount paged out for each app varies, but you should see the number next to App Size. Discard the number next to Documents & Data as they will remain on your device. The only way to get rid of that is to actually delete the app.

Download as many apps as you need until you have enough space. Of course, you can’t use a paged app, but if you want to get a paged app back, go to your App Library and tap the iCloud button to download it again. If the offloaded app is on your home screen, just tap on it to download it. No need to sign in again or anything – you’ll have access to the app as if it had never been deleted.

First published Dec 15, 2022 at 4:30pm PT.