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How to free up space on your iPhone or iPad

How much space is left on your iOS device? Do you strike a wall when you try to update your operating system or download new apps? What is the best way to move files you want to keep in order to free up space? And how can you make smart decisions about what to keep and what to delete? Follow these few simple steps, and you will be on your way to a less congested, more organized iPhone or iPad.

Check Your Total Usage

First, decide how much space you have. Go to Settings> General> [device] Storage . At the top you see a color-coded bar chart that describes how much space certain categories of apps take up on your device.

  iPhone storage

You do not need to understand these numbers deeply. To update iOS you want up to 5 GB of free space. If you just want enough free space so you can take new pictures and install new apps without worrying about hitting an obstacle, give yourself at least 2 GB of free space.

Note that when you add your free space and the space used, they will not supplement your phone's overall size because it does not contain the space used by the operating system.

Find apps that take up the most space

If you continue to scroll down during storage, a list of all your apps will be displayed according to how much space they consume.

Choose any app and a new page shows the use in two parts: how much space the app itself uses (in the light gray at the top) and the space used by the app's data and documents. For example, the displayed Podcasts app takes up 1.63GB in total: 25.3 MB for the app and 1.6 GB for documents and data.

  iPhone storage

Sometimes this information helps that it is not the app that takes up space, but rather what you store in it. In my case, I can see that podcast episodes and photo heavy messages take up space on my device. When it comes to podcasts, I can quickly remove episodes from this menu by dragging to the left.

Target Applications You Don't Use

Remove Them

On this device for the storage page, look for apps that you do not use. It is much easier to do this than on your home screens, where apps are likely to spread across multiple pages and blown into folders.

 Delete or disable an iOS app [19659006] If you find apps that you do not need, tap them and select Delete app. All apps you have purchased are always available for re-download at no extra cost from the App Store.

To delete apps from the home screen, place a finger on an app you want to delete and hold. Apps begin to start angling and a small X appears on each icon. Press X and confirm to delete. To stop wiggling, press the home button on devices that have it or tap "Ready" at the top right for those who don't.

Relieve them

If you want to temporarily disable an app without deleting its settings, which when you need to free up space to install an iOS update, Apple can download them. They will remain on your home screen, but you will need to press to reload to return. Find the app in the storage list, press it and select Unload app.

You can also set Automatic removal of apps that you do not use frequently. Go to Settings> General> iPhone Storage> Uninstall Unused Apps and press Activate.

Check your photo and video usage

The pictures often take much more space than people realize, so let's handle the current app directly. Under Settings> General> [device] Storage find photos to see how much storage it uses. If you have more than 1GB here, consider copying photos and videos to a cloud storage service so you can remove them from your device.

If you have a Google Account, it's easy to use Google Photos. Download the app, log in and press the hamburger menu (). Select Settings> Backup and Sync and switch Backup and Sync to on. Make sure Google Photos has access to photos (Settings> Google Photos> Photos) and then back up each photo you take with your device automatically to Google Photos when you are online and available across your devices and the web. Google offers unlimited photo storage through Google Photos, but only if you agree to compress images to 16MP. Otherwise, uploading images to your Google Account will count.

  Google Photos Backup and Sync

You can also upload your iPhone photos via Dropbox or any cloud-based sync and storage service you want. Ideally, you want the service to have a mobile upload feature in its iPhone app, which Dropbox does.

When iPhone images have been uploaded to your cloud service, double and triple, make sure they are there – remove them from the Photos app. Then navigate to Albums> Last Deleted. Press Select, and then tap Delete All at the bottom. If you skip the last step, you will not free up space for a month, because your iOS device will hang on deleted pictures for 30 days, only if you change your mind.

You can also choose to keep lower-resolution photos on your phone while the full resolutions can remain in iCloud. Go to Settings> Photos> Optimize iPhone Storage and make sure it has a check mark next to it.

Wade Out of the Stream

Photo Stream is a seamless way to share photos over iOS devices. Activate it on your Apple devices, and at any time on the same Wi-Fi network, images taken from a device, such as your iPhone, appear on the others, like your iPad.

 Upload to Photo Stream

It's a convenient feature, but Apple allows up to 25,000 My Photo Stream uploads per month, so it can eat up space. If you store your photos on a device, it is enough for you to turn off Photo Stream by going to Settings> Photos> Uploading to My Photo Stream and turning it off.

Removing unwanted music

Multimedia, like audio tracks and videos, takes up a lot of space. There are two ways to remove audio files and video clips.

From Settings

Go to Settings> General> [device] Storage> Music . At the bottom comes a summary of all the songs and albums you have stored on your phone. To delete albums or tracks you do not listen to, drag to the left. You can also use the Edit button to delete multiple tracks and albums in one shot.

 Managing music on iOS

From within app

Open the Music application. Go to Library> Downloaded Music, where you will see music stored locally and taking place. To delete an entire album, tap it and a pop-up menu will contain a "Delete from Library" option. You can do the same for specific songs within an album; press "Delete."

To put the music back on the device, open the Music app and tap Library. Find the song or album you want and download it again by tapping the cloud arrow icon on the right.

Consider Streaming

If you want thousands of songs at your disposal, use a music playback service like Spotify. However, if you are a Premium subscriber, keep track of how much you download for offline use.

Delete the message

If you do not like to hang out on calls for sentimental (or legal) reasons, delete any "run late" or "what do you want dinner?" Texts to free up space. If you like to live dangerously, set texts to automatically delete. Go to Settings> Messages> Message History and select to keep messages for 30 days or a year.

Clear your browser's cache

A final smidge of junk for wiping your iPhone or iPad is the cache of the Safari browser or other mobile browsers you use. For Safari, go to Settings> Safari. Press Clear History and Website Data.

For Chrome on iOS, open the app, press the three points at the bottom right and select History. Then touch Clear Browsing Data to wipe everything out or Edit to delete specific sites. You can also navigate to Settings> Privacy> Delete Web Browsing Data, so you can delete browser history, cookies and site data, cached images and files, saved passwords and auto-fill data – or all at once.

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