In our earlier writeup on freeing up iCloud storage space, we covered clearing out documents, turning off backup for specific apps etc. While these are helpful, there is one important step that can actually reclaim a lot of iCloud storage space for your Apple ID.
If you have used multiple iDevices in the past, this one is for you. If you’ve linked more than one device to the same iCloud account in the past but you’re not using the other device now, you can get rid of the backup of that device. That’s what we’re going to learn to do.
Deleting Old Backups of iPhone or iPad
- Open Settings
- Go to General → Usage
- Scroll down to the iCloud section and tap on Manage Storage
- You can also go to iCloud storage via Settings → iCloud → Manage Storage
Under the Backups section, you should see one or more devices. If you have signed into iCloud on other devices (with the same Apple ID) and enabled backups in those devices, all of those will be listed here. If you see just one, it means you have signed into iCloud only on this device. (or enabled backup only for this device). If you see more than one, see if you can do away with any of the listed device backups.
Suppose you used an old iPad that you no longer use (or whose backup you no longer need), you can delete it.
To delete a backup:
- Tap on the device name under Backup
- Next, tap on Delete Backup
- Confirm the delete by tapping Turn Off & Delete
- The backup will be deleted and you will reclaim that space.
It’s easy to setup, backup and forget all about it when you use multiple devices. If you happen to change devices frequently, the backups of older devices stay, even if you have them transferred to the new device. That can sometimes eat up as much as a gig of space from your 5GB iCloud storage.