Ways to Free Up Space in iCloud Storage When It's Occupied

There’s no need to panic if your iCloud storage is full, as this is a common problem for iPhone users. Even if you have a recently purchased iPhone, the free 5GB storage capacity associated with your Apple ID is often insufficient for storing an extensive collection of images, files and backups.

Although purchasing more iCloud storage space or subscribing to one of the best cloud storage services would be the ideal solution to free up space, clearing out clutter is also an excellent option. With this guide, you can discover five simple ways to free up iCloud storage space.

1. Determine what’s using your storage space

Prior to cleaning up files from iCloud, it’s essential to identify the types of data using up the most storage space. Open your device’s settings application and select iCloud, then pick Manage Storage.

On the display, you’ll see a bar graph that shows what kinds of files are consuming your available iCloud space. Backups, photos, and messages could account for more than 50% of your storage capacity. Below the chart is a comprehensive list of installed applications and the amount of iCloud storage each app occupies.

By identifying the types of files that consume the most space, you have a clearer understanding of which files to delete, yielding the most freed-up iCloud storage space.

Backups of your devices could be the cause of occupied iCloud storage space. You may have asked your old iPhone to automatically upload backups to the cloud, and you did not remove those files. Years later, those files still take up valuable storage space, which you will probably never need in the future. To get rid of these files, access iCloud from the Settings app (iOS) or System Preferences app (MacOS). Click or touch Manage Backups to display all backups that are presently saved in your iCloud account. Delete ones you no longer need, freeing up storage space immediately.

While you’re at it, check the backups of individual apps saved in your iCloud account. Your Photos app might be important to copy to the cloud, but you do not need to save data from every single app on your device. To turn off backups for any app, tap the status bar to change from green to gray.

2. Remove old messages

Individual text messages and iChat threads are small, only a few kilobytes each. However, if you have been an iPhone user for many years, there could be over a gigabyte of old messages stored away in your iCloud account. The total size of all those messages could be more significant if you send many emojis or photos.

In order to free up some space in your iCloud account, you can make use of various methods. One option is to head over to the Messages app on your device. There, you have the option to delete individual messages or entire conversations. Keep in mind that removing messages on one device will result in their removal from all of your Apple devices.

Another way to save space is to get rid of attachments that take up a disproportionate amount of storage space. From a conversation, simply tap on the contact's name followed by the info button. Then, choose to see all photos and select the ones you want to delete.

Attachments can also take up a significant amount of space in emails. In iCloud Mail, you can sort emails by attachments to quickly delete them. Simply click on View and then select Sort by Attachments. You can either erase all emails with attachments or choose a specific size cutoff to delete.

Your photo library is another common culprit when it comes to taking up space in iCloud storage. Be sure to sift through your albums and get rid of any bad photos you don't want. For videos, you can crop them down to the parts you want to keep. Deleted photos and videos are sent to the Recently Deleted album, so make sure to remove them from there in order to free up space.

To prevent future overflow in your photo storage, try to cull your photos as soon as you take them. You can also move older albums offline to an external hard drive, freeing up your iCloud storage and saving you money on your cloud subscription in the long run.

5. Eliminate Unnecessary Files from iCloud Drive

iCloud Drive is Apple's storage repository for various file types, including documents, PDFs, and application files. As with your messages, mail, and photo libraries, the storage space of your Drive may become cluttered over time.

Clearing your iCloud Drive is most easily accomplished using a computer, although it is also possible to do so on an iPhone or iPad. On a Mac, you can navigate to the iCloud Drive folder in Finder to begin the process. Then, you can sort your files by size, type, or creation date and remove anything that is no longer needed.

Given the number of files that filter into iCloud from various Apple devices, it is not surprising that your storage space can fill up quickly. Using these five tips, you can tackle the primary reasons for a full iCloud account and free up more space.

A screenshot showing how to free up iCloud storage space

If storage space remains an issue, visit this guide on upgrading iCloud storage for iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Our range of Apple-themed guides include information on how to clear the cache on Mac and clear RAM on iPhone, both of which are excellent initial steps if your Mac or iPhone is sluggish.

Next: discover how to adjust the screenshot location on a Mac.

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