How to Free Up iCloud Storage Space (5 Quick Tips)

Gotechtor.com is reader-supported. When you make a purchase through links on this page, we may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Unsurprisingly, the 5GB that comes with free iCloud accounts is not enough for average iPhone users. You’ll run out of storage even faster if you own multiple iOS devices.

Even though you can purchase additional storage from Apple, there are ways to get more space from your iCloud account without spending a fortune. In this guide, we’ll go through five easy tips to free up iCloud storage space.

Why You Should Free Up iCloud Storage

iCloud backup is great only if you don’t exceed the 5GB limit. Without enough storage, your device won’t be able to back up to iCloud. This is critical if you lose or break your phone, then you can restore your data to a new iPhone.

Otherwise, your photos and videos won’t upload to iCloud and iCloud Drive. And you can’t also send or receive emails with your iCloud email address. Well, that shouldn’t be an issue since most iPhone users don’t use it as their primary email.

One way to free up iCloud storage is to choose what to back up to iCloud. The Photos app takes up a lot of space in iCloud. So if you have a lot of photos, you can use other alternative cloud storage services to back up your photos and keep them safe. 

During your iPhone setup, if you’ve selected to use iCloud for backing up your iOS device, then after you install your apps, their settings and data will automatically back up to iCloud.

You can, however, choose which apps to back up to iCloud. That way, you have more control over your iCloud storage space.

How to Free Up iCloud Storage

Here’re all the iCloud storage tips you’ll learn in this guide.

  1. Manage your backups
  2. Manage your photo and video storage
  3. Delete documents & data
  4. iCloud Drive
  5. Delete iCloud Emails

Click the links above to jump to a specific section, or continue scrolling to learn how to free up iCloud storage.

Check Your iPhone Storage

Before we get to the tips, you’ll want to know how much storage space you’ve used.

To see how much storage you currently have, go to the Settings app, tap the Apple ID banner, then iCloud.

checking iCloud storage in iPhone settings
Screenshot: Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

The color graph at the top shows how much storage you have left and which data are taking up how much space.

As you can see from the picture above, Messages and Docs are taking quite a bit on my iCloud storage.

1. Manage Your Backups

As mentioned earlier, your iPhone backs up your apps’ data and settings when it’s plugged in, locked, and has a Wi-Fi connection.

While this may sound great, as it ensures you never lose your apps’ data, you can run out of iCloud storage quickly.

apps using iCloud
Screenshot: Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

Here’s what you can do to manage your iCloud storage. Under “APPS USING ICLOUD,” disable any apps that store their backups in iCloud.

That way, you can remove their data from your iCloud storage online. Don’t worry. They won’t be included next time you back up your iPhone.

See also: How to clear “Other” storage on your iPhone

2. Manage Your Photo and Video Storage

Photos and videos are a nice way to capture those moments you don’t want to forget. If you’ve enabled iCloud Photo Library, your photos and videos can quickly drain the 5 GB of free iCloud storage Apple provides.

manage photos and videos storage in iCloud
Screenshot: Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

To clean up iCloud storage, turn off “iCloud Photo Library” and use other free cloud storage services to store all your photos and videos.

You can also save them locally on your iPhone if you have enough storage. But we strongly recommend using a cloud storage service if something happens to your iPhone.

3. Delete Documents & Data

You can save space on your iCloud storage by deleting app documents and data. These are browser history, cookies, logs, caches of photos and videos, database files, and more stored by your apps.

If they’re not important to you, you can delete them. Besides saving you space, deleting your browser’s cookies can protect your phone and make it more secure.

deleting app data from iCloud
Screenshot: Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

While in iCloud, tap “Manage Storage” to see a list of all the apps and how much space they occupy in iCloud.

Then, tap an app to delete its documents and data. They can build up quickly, so only allow selected apps to store their data in iCloud.

4. Delete Files on iCloud Drive

If you’re using iCloud Drive across all your iOS devices, those files count toward your iCloud storage. You can make more space on your iCloud storage by deleting files from your iCloud Drive.

checking iCloud Drive's available storage space
Screenshot: Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

If you wish not to delete anything, you can optimize iCloud storage by transferring these files between your Mac/PC and iPhone.

5. Delete iCloud Emails

If you use your iCloud for your email, which we don’t recommend, emails will be backed up using your free 5GB of storage.

To clear up iCloud storage, delete unnecessary emails, especially those with large attachments.

how to free up icloud storage
Screenshot: Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

To delete an email, open the Mail app, swipe left over an email, and tap the Trash button. Remember to go to the Trash folder, tap Edit, and then tap Delete All to empty the trash folder. That way, you know you’ve truly deleted them.

Remember that you can only delete emails within the “All Mail” folder. If you go to a specific mailbox, you won’t find the “Delete” button when you swipe to the left.

Be mindful that this only applies to Apple’s email. Other email apps would use their respective cloud service for storage. So deleting those emails won’t clear out your iCloud storage.

Wrap-Up: Free Up iCloud Storage

It’s easy to see how iCloud can quickly fill up storage space with files from across the Apple ecosystem.

You can free up space, stay on top of the clutter, and avoid paying for more storage by cleaning out your storage space periodically. Using these five tips, you can solve the most common causes of a full iCloud account in no time.

Let me know if this helped free up iCloud storage space on your iPhone. If you found success doing something else, leave me a comment below!

Photo of author
Herby has a healthy obsession with all things technology, especially smartphones. He loves to rip things apart to see how they work. He is responsible for the editorial direction, strategy, and growth of Gotechtor.

2 thoughts on “How to Free Up iCloud Storage Space (5 Quick Tips)”

  1. This is a huge problem that I’ve faced with every cloud service, mainly with iCloud. I use a free iCloud account with my iPhone but the storage is not enough. To solve this problem you have to buy more storage or customize your files, mainly you have to sacrifice some files.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Welcome to our community. We invite you to join our discussion. Please read and understand Gotechtor's community guidelines before participating. So be respectful and constructive and keep on topic.