When we get a brand new iPhone or iPad, we have all the storage space in the world we can use. However, over the months and years of using these devices, storage space starts to go down as we install more apps, add more media like photos, videos, and music, and eventually it gets to the point where we start to run out of space.

If you find yourself running out of space and don’t know what to do, check out these tips below that will show you various ways of cleaning up unwanted junk on your phone or tablet to free up more storage space.

Check Your Usage

First of all, to determine the best way to free up space on your iPhone or iPad, you need to check what’s being used and what apps or services are taking up the most space on your device.

  1. Launch Settings
  2. Go to General > iPhone Storage

From here, you’ll see a breakdown of how storage space on your iPhone or iPad is being used, where it is divided up into apps, system files, media files, photos, messages, and so on. It will also show you a list of apps installed on your device, where the app that uses the most storage will be listed at the top and is sorted in descending order.

Delete Apps You Don’t Need

Over time, we start to accumulate a lot of apps that we no longer need. For example, you could have downloaded an app to use a couple of times for a certain event and no longer need to use it, and now it’s just sitting there wasting space. If you’re looking to clear up storage space, now’s a good time to start spring cleaning those apps.

  1. Launch Settings
  2. Go to General > iPhone Storage
  3. Tap the app that you want to delete
  4. Choose Offload App or Delete App

Now there are two options here for you to choose from. By choosing Offload App, this means that you will only be deleting the app but keeping any data belonging to the app on your phone. This means that when you eventually redownload the app, all data related to the app will be restored.

If you choose to Delete App, the app and all its related data will be deleted completely. If you have absolutely no plans to ever use the app again, or if you don’t really care about your settings getting erased, then Delete App will probably yield the biggest returns of freeing up storage space.

Delete Native iPhone And iPad Apps

In the past, Apple would not allow users to delete native applications on the iPhone and iPad. This means apps that some of us might never use will just sit there unused and taking up space, but with iOS 10, Apple has allowed users to delete (some) stock apps.

  1. Launch Settings
  2. Go to General > iPhone Storage
  3. Tap the app that you want to delete
  4. Choose Offload App or Delete App

If you’ve deleted a stock app on your iPhone or iPad, restoring it is easy. Just launch the App Store, search for the name of the app, and reinstall it. To Apple’s credit, most of the stock applications that come with the iPhone and iPad have pretty small footprints so deleting them will yield marginal results.

Automatically Offload Unused Apps

You can manually choose to delete apps in the steps we mentioned above, but if you’d rather not go through the hassle and would prefer your iPhone or iPad do it automatically, one of the newer features of iOS is the ability to offload unused apps. This means that over time, iOS will learn which apps you haven’t used for an extended period of time.

It will then offload the app to free up storage on your iPhone or iPad, freeing up space in the process. All app related data will still be kept on your iPhone or iPad, and you will see apps that have been offloaded marked with a small cloud icon next to its name. All you need to do is tap on it and it will download itself again.

  1. Launch Settings
  2. Select iTunes & App Stores
  3. Turn on Offload Unused Apps

Upload Photos To The Cloud

Given how much we take photos using our phones and how many photos we probably send to each other on a daily basis, it all very, very quickly adds up. One way to free up space on your device is by uploading these photos and media files to the cloud, which thankfully Apple has built into iOS with iCloud integration.

But does this remove photos from your iPhone? Nope, because how it works is that Apple will display smaller versions of the photos on your iPhone that you can view at a glance, and will only download them when you tap on them to open them up. This way you know what photos are there, but you don’t need to download them or view them in its full resolution unless you want to.

  1. Launch Settings
  2. Select Photos
  3. Turn on iCloud Photos and select Optimize iPhone Storage

That being said, depending on how many photos you have, you might need to buy additional iCloud storage. Learn how to manage your iCloud storage with our guide here. Alternatively, if you’d rather not use iCloud, Google Photos is an option worth considering as well, and it is also free and unlimited for photos below a certain resolution.

Adjust Your Camera Settings

While our iPhones are becoming increasingly capable of taking higher quality photos and videos, it also means that the resulting images and videos will take up more space. These can be easily changed by adjusting your camera settings.

Turn Off Smart HDR

Taking photos in HDR will result in images that look more saturated and richer in terms of colors. It looks fantastic, but due to the way HDR images are captured (usually multiple images of different exposures), it can take up more space than you think.

  1. Launch Settings
  2. Select Camera
  3. Turn off Smart HDR
  4. Turn off Keep Normal Photo

Lower Your Video Capture Quality

With the latest iPhones, they are now capable of capturing 4K video at 60fps. As Apple notes, the higher the framerate and resolution, the more storage it consumes, where a minute long video captured in 4K at 60fps is 400MB in size, versus 720p HD at 30fps, which is at 40MB per minute.

Depending on your needs, you can adjust the settings accordingly. If you do not need to have the highest quality videos, then consider lowering the quality to something you can live with, without it taking up too much storage.

  1. Launch Settings
  2. Select Camera
  3. Select Record Video
  4. Tap on any of the video capture settings you prefer

Delete Old Podcasts You Don’t Listen To Anymore

We get it, there are some of you out there who prefer downloading and keeping podcasts. Over time, just like photos, this will add up. Generally speaking, these podcasts can be streamed online and you can always revisit them, so there isn’t always a need to download them onto your device.

However, if you are storing them on your iPhone or iPad, you might want to consider deleting older podcasts you don’t listen to anymore to free up space on your device.

  1. Launch the Podcast app
  2. Go to the Library tab at the bottom of the app
  3. Tap Downloaded Episodes
  4. Swipe left of the podcast you want to delete
  5. Tap Remove

Consider Using A Music Streaming Service

Similar to podcasts, storing music on your device will take up a lot of space, especially if you have a very huge library. This is where music streaming services can come in handy where you can just stream any song you want without having it take up space on your device. With some music streaming services, such as Apple Music, you even have the ability to upload your own songs to the service to make it available as a stream.

Be sure to check out our guide on how to add songs to Apple Music if you’re new to this. Alternatively, you can also consider other streaming services like Spotify, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, and so on, just to name a few.

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