How to Free Up iCloud Storage Space on iOS Device

Zoey Wen
Updated on September 14, 2017 Preview 6.9K Preview 3
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“My iCloud storage is full. Do I need to buy more iCloud storage?”“How do I free up space on my iCloud?” This kind of questions are often asked and many users are looking for solutions on freeing up iCloud space. As every iPhone user knows, you automatically get 5 GB of free storage when you sign up for iCloud and that free 5 GB is per Apple ID, not per device. Device backups, photos, documents, iCloud email, and other bits of data all share that space. You’ll run out of free iCloud space quickly especially if you have multiple iOS devices or many data. In this tutorial, we will show you how to free up iCloud storage space on iOS device.


Part 1. Things You Should Do before Freeing up iCloud Space

Check Available iCloud Storage on iOS Device

Use these steps to see how much iCloud storage is available in your account:

On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch:

If you're using iOS 8 or later, tap Settings > iCloud > Storage > Manage Storage.

If you're using an earlier version of iOS, tap Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup.

Make Copies of Your iCloud Data

Beore deleting something, you’d better make a copy of the data that you use with iCloud and keep it in a safe place. If you accidentally delete an important contact, email, or document, safari bookmarks, etc, you can retrieve it from this copy.

Apple has a support document Archive or make copies of your iCloud data which explains how to export or copy all data stored in iCloud. It’s not easy, and it will take a while, but this document will serve as a good template explaining how to copy the data for each of your apps.

Part 2. How to Free up iCloud Space on iOS Device

Select Important iOS Apps to Back Up

When you back up your iOS device to iCloud, many important data on your device is backed up automatically, including your documents, photos, and videos, etc. But users can choose which apps to back up. Disabling any non-essential apps from a backup will free up much iCloud storage.

  1. Tap Settings > iCloud > Storage > Manage Storage, then tap the name of your iOS device.
  2. Under “Backup Options”, turn off any apps that you don't want to back up.
  3. At last, confirm it and choose “Turn Off & Delete” to turn off Backup for that app and remove all of its data from iCloud.

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Delete Old iCloud Backups

Backing up your iPhone or iPad to iCloud is a common way to avoid data loss, but when you upgrade phones, you might end up with multiple backups, including ones you don’t need anymore. Deleting old iPhone’s iCloud backup can help conserve valuable storage space in Apple's iCloud.

  1. On iOS 8 or later device, go to Settings > iCloud > Storage > Manage Storage. On earlier version of iOS device, go to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup > Manage Storage.
  2. You’ll see all your backups, select one you no longer need.
  3. Tap “Delete Backup”. When you're asked to confirm, choose “Turn Off & Delete” to turn off Backup and remove all backups for that iOS device from iCloud. When you delete a backup, it also turns off backup of your iOS device.

Delete Documents & Data Stored in iCloud

Apps’ documents and data stored in iCloud can quickly eat up your 5GB storage of iCloud. If you don’t want to waste any of that precious space, you’d better delete documents and data of the apps which you don’t use. How to clear out unused documents and data in iCloud? Below are the detailed steps.

  1. Go to Settings > iCloud > Storage > Manage Storage. Under “Documents & Data”, tap “Show All”.
  2. Tap on the app for which you want to delete documents and data stored in iCloud. Then tap the Edit button from top right corner.
  3. Tap “Delete All”, and tap “Delete All” again to confirm. These documents and data will be instantly removed from iCloud and all of your devices.

Backup Your Photos and Videos elsewhere

Photos and videos can eat up a lot of space. If you enabled iCloud Photo Library, your photos and videos are automatically uploaded to iCloud at full resolution. The direct way to free up iCloud space is to move these photos and videos to other safe places and delete photos and videos from your backups. You can backup your photos using third-party cloud services such as Yahoo's Flickr app, Microsoft One Drive, DropBox, and Amazon Cloud Drive and you also can transfer videos and photos to Mac.

More tips on freeing up iCloud space

  • Turn Off “My Photo Stream” and remove all duplicate photos from the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
  • If you’re using Apple’s iCloud Mail, delete emails with large file attachments to free up iCloud space.
  • If you still can’t get more free space in iCloud, you need to pay for more iCloud storage by tapping “Buy More Storage” on the Storage & Backup screen.
  • If your iPhone is running out of space, you need an iPhone cleaner to clear app’s cache, remove junk files and get more storage on iOS device.
Zoey Wen
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Zoey shows a great interest in what she does. Although not long with Cisdem, she has possessed a professional understanding of data recovery.

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Comments (3) Leave a Reply

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  • Gino

    Hi, Rosa, What is backed up to iCloud? Can i delete all iCloud backup files?

    8 years ago commonReply

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    • Rosa Reyes

      Things backed up in iCloud include photos and videos, iMessage, text (SMS), MMS messages, Device settings, App data, Visual Voicemail, Health data,etc. In my opinion, you'd better not delete iCloud all backup files, but you can delete some files that you don't need anymore.

      8 years ago
  • Reed

    When i backed up my iPhone to iCloud manually, it reminded me that there was not enough storage to backup. I deleted some photos and videos. I think it is the most effective way to release iCloud storage.

    8 years ago commonReply

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