How to Free up iCloud Storage on iPhone or iPad

iCloud is the default backup location for your device, including all your data, downloaded apps, and files. So it’s necessary to free up iCloud storage on your iPhone or iPad when it gets full. There are several things you can do to manage your iCloud Storage to have more space available. You can choose what exactly you want to store there and what’s not needed. So let’s have a closer look.

Why is my iCloud Storage full?

Apple offers just 5 GB of free iCloud Storage. This is quite meager and can, therefore, get full pretty quickly. This is especially true if you are backing up multiple devices such as both your iPhone and iPad. You can always buy more storage, but if you don’t want to, there are a few steps you can take to clear some space and decide what exactly to keep on your iCloud Storage.

How to Check your iCloud Storage on iPhone and iPad

To see details about how much iCloud storage space you have used up:

  1. Go to Settings [your name]iCloud.Open Settings Tap on Profile and Tap on iCloud
  2. Tap Manage Storage.Tap on Manage Storage on iPhone

Here, you’ll see details of how different apps and services are using the space available. There are several things you can do to free up some iCloud storage, as explained below.

Delete Old Backups from iCloud

Backups of your devices take up a significant chunk of space on iCloud. So it’s a good idea to get rid of old backups which you don’t need. Here’s how:

  1. Go to Settings [your name]iCloud.Open Settings Tap on Profile and Tap on iCloud
  2. Select Manage StorageBackups.Tap on Manage Storage and Tap on Backups in iCloud on iPhone
  3. Select the name of the device whose backup you no longer need and want to get rid of
  4. Select Delete Backup and then choose Turn Off & Delete.Delete Old Backups for Device from iCloud on iPhone

Note: Deleting a backup will also disable iCloud backups for the selected device until you manually enable it again.

Choose Which Apps to Backup on your Device

A lot of apps installed on your iPhone or iPad automatically back up to iCloud. You can turn this off for any apps that you’re not using to free up some space on your iCloud. Here’s how:

  1. Go to Settings [your name]iCloud.Open Settings Tap on Profile and Tap on iCloud
  2. Select Manage StorageBackups.Tap on Manage Storage and Tap on Backups in iCloud on iPhone
  3. Select the name of the device that you’re currently using.Select Device in iCloud Backups on iPhone
  4. Below Choose Data to Back Up, toggle OFF apps that you do not want to back up
  5. Select Turn Off & Delete.Turn Off iCloud Backup for Specific App on iPhone

This will turn off iCloud Backup for the selected apps and also remove all their information from iCloud.

Note: This option is not available for some apps that need to always be backed up.

Delete Photos and Videos from iCloud Photos 

Choosing to store photos and videos from your iPhone or iPad on iCloud Storage can quickly eat up space. So, it’s advisable to transfer and save these files somewhere else. For instance, you can download your iCloud photos to your Mac or PC. Then, you can put them on an external hard disk or on another cloud service such as Google Drive or Dropbox.

Once you have saved your photos and videos to another location, here’s how you can delete photos and videos to clear up space on your iCloud Storage:

  1. Open the Photos app on your iPhone or iPad
  2. Tap on Photos at the bottom of the screen.Open Photos App and Tap on Photos Tab on iPhone
  3. Tap Select, and choose all the photos and videos you want to delete
  4. Tap the trash can icon and then select Delete Photo.Delete Photos from iCloud Photos on iPhone

Delete Files in iCloud Drive

Similar to photos and videos, you can also get rid of your iCloud Drive files and folders to clear up some storage space. However, if other people have shared folders with you, those do not take up any of your storage space.

You can only delete your own folders and files by the method below. Make sure you have already saved any important data in another space before you remove them from your iCloud Drive.

  1. Open the Files app on your iPhone or iPad
  2. Tap on Browse.Open Files App and Tap on Browse
  3. Under Locations, tap on iCloud Drive and then tap Select.Tap on iCloud Drive and Then Tap on Select
  4. Choose all the folders and files that you want to delete
  5. Tap the trash can icon.Delete Files and Folders in iCloud Drive on iPhone
  6. Now, again under Locations, tap on Recently Deleted and then tap Select.Tap on Recently Deleted and Then Tap on Select
  7. Choose all the files that you want to delete permanently
  8. Tap Delete.Select Files and Tap on Delete to Remove Files Permanently from iPhone

Delete Email, Messages, and Attachments

You can free up iCloud Storage by routinely deleting emails from your iCloud email account. Mails with large attachments especially take up space, so get rid of all that you don’t need.

Similarly, if you have turned on Messages in iCloud to sync your messages across devices, all your texts and attachments will take up space on your iCloud Storage. So it’s a good idea to delete iMessage photos and attachments as well as text messages.

Summing Up 

There are multiple ways of clearing space on your iCloud Storage. It’s advisable to make a practice of doing these steps routinely to keep things organized. Did you find these tips helpful? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

+ posts

I have been writing about tech for over 10 years now. I am passionate about helping people solve their tech problems with easy and practical solutions. At iGeeksBlog, I write and edit how-to guides and accessory reviews for all things Apple. My work has previously appeared in Live IT and Woman’s Era magazines. When not working, I love reading and traveling.