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How To Free Up Space On iPhone (Without Deleting Important Stuff)

The iPhone range of smartphones has very limited storage that can’t be expanded. Space on older iPhones can be as low as 16GB which can be used up quickly with video, photos, and other information.

This is frustrating because you want to be able to take as many pictures as you like but once you have no more space you can’t. Well, unless you delete the old photos first.

This article will help you free up space on your Apple device without being forced to delete old photos or videos.

There are a few things you can do such as connecting up your iPhone to your computer and removing junk from it. You can also compress photos, and remove temporary files to make more room directly from your device.

Read on to find out what you need to do…

How To Clear Space On iPhone


How to free up more space

There are 2 proven techniques that can clear room on your iPhone if the storage is full:

  1. Use an App to automatically remove and compress your data
  2. Manually clear space

Use an App to free up space

 iMyFone UmateIf you are not very technically minded or you want an easy way to create more room on your device you should use an App to help you.

After trying out several, I found the best was Umate. It works on both Windows and Mac-based computers.

The list of features is impressive and includes:

  • Compress photos losslessly to release 75% of photo space.
  • Export photos to PC for backup or future use.
  • Preview, select and delete all the unwanted photos with 1-click.
  • Remove redundant junk files like app caches/cookies/crash logs.
  • Delete downloaded temp files, user storage files, and corrupted files.
  • Clean camera roll, photostream, and photo library cache.
  • Scan and find out all large files over 5MB on your device.
  • Export important videos to PC for future needs.
  • Preview and selectively delete videos with backup for original files on PC.
  • Quickly scan and list apps to reveal the storage space they occupy.
  • Selectively uninstall the apps to keep your favorite ones.
  • Mass delete apps with one click to reclaim the space.

They also offer helpful and responsive support. So if you find yourself stuck you can reach out and get help on how to get the most from the software. I found them brilliant with replies to my questions coming back in a couple of hours.

There is also a “try before you buy” version which allows you to try out some of the features on your device before you commit to buying the software. This is a good way of seeing if the App works for you before buying it outright.

Having said that, iMyFone offers a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can buy safe in the knowledge that you will get your money back if it doesn’t work properly.

The price is currently a very reasonable $19.99 USD (approx £15 GBP) for a single license, which is discounted from the usual $29.99 USD for a limited time. So if you want a bargain it is worth grabbing a copy while it is cheaper then normal.

I’m not sure how long this deal will last so if you are on the fence about purchasing it I’d recommending buying it now before they stop the 33% discount

So If you want an easy, automated method to clear space I recommend Umate wholeheartedly.




If you are more technically minded or don’t want to pay $20 for the software then you can use the process I describe below to clear the space instead.

Manually clear space

I’d set aside a couple of hours to try all the methods described below to clear the space, especially if you do the backup and restore described at the end. There are a number of things you can try:

  • Delete and reinstall apps – particularly Instagram and Facebook
  • Delete text messages
  • Clear Safari Cookies, Data, History
  • Delete voice memos
  • Reduce your email retention time
  • And if all else fails, backup and restore your iPhone, iPad or iPod

Delete and reinstall apps

An App on its own may not take up that much storage space on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod but after using it for a while it will start to save all sorts of data. These saved games, components, and other stuff can cause the App to bloat and take up loads more space. If you want to know which Apps are guilty of storing lots of extra stuff do the following:

1. Click settings

iOS settings icon

2. Click General

general settings screen

3. Click usage


4. The usage screen appears

Storage space

5. Look at the largest Apps and compare the Documents & Data size to the actual app size. If there is a big difference then you should consider either removing some of the data or reinstalling the App.

Compare data usage

Remember that if you do reinstall an App all of the data saved with the App will also be deleted. So if the App has important data in it such as documents, saved games or photos then it may not be able wise to reinstall it. If you do you will lose all of the saved data.

Delete text messages

You may not realize it but every photo you ever sent is stored within the message thread. So if you send a lot of photos, or other stuff via text then it may well use up loads of storage space. You have 2 choices:

  • delete the entire message thread., or
  • remove the individual messages with the attached files in them

Here is a great article on how to delete message threads and individual text messages. https://osxdaily.com/2012/07/18/delete-text-messages-iphone/ Don’t forget to reboot your iPhone, iPod, or iPad afterward.

Clear Safari Cookies, Data, History

Safari doesn’t usually take that much storage space but clearing them out won’t do any harm on the amount of storage space other takes up. Remember that if you do clear the cache that you will lose login details and saved web settings and any open windows will be shut. This article explains what you need to do: https://osxdaily.com/2011/05/16/clear-history-cache-and-cookies-from-safari-browser-on-your-iphone-ipad/ Don’t forget to reboot your iPhone, iPod, or iPad afterward.

Delete voice memos

When you record a voice memo your iPhone, iPad, or iPod will store those as an audio file. The longer the voice memo the more storage space that they occupy. To clear space consider removing longer voice memos. 1. Click Voice Memos 2. Tap on an individual memo 3. Click the red “Delete” button 4.Repeat this process for each voice memo you wish to remove 5. Reboot your iPhone, iPod or iPad.

Reduce your email retention time

If you reduce the length of time that email is stored on your device email messages will take up less room as fewer of them will be stored on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod.

1. Click Settings

iOS7 settings icon

2. Click Mail, Contacts, Calendars.

Mail, Contacts, Calendars

3. Select your email account.

4. Scroll down to the bottom to where it says ‘Mail Days to Sync’ and tap it.

5. Adjust the setting to a lower length of time. 6. Reboot your iPhone, iPod, or iPad.

Backup and restore your iPhone

In the end, this is what I had to do in order to reduce my other from 4GB to 750MB. It is time-consuming but it does work when nothing else does.

You can find out more about how to configure your iPhone. You can also get help with other issues in our in-depth how-to tips here.

What is taking up all the space on my iPhone?

Apple mobile devices have the following types of data categories:

  • Photos
  • Music
  • Apps
  • Videos
  • Books
  • Documents and data
  • Other

Other data can get out of control and take up massive amounts of space on your device. But what is ‘other’ data?

Basically, the ‘other’ data is the stuff that doesn’t belong in any of the other categories listed above.

Specifically, these include things such as:

  • Junk and temporary files
  • Safari bookmarks and history
  • Text messages (including multimedia attachments such as photos)
  • Email messages (including file attachments)
  • Calendar entries
  • Notes
  • Contact photos
  • Camera roll
  • App data such as saved games
  • Voice memos

How to see what is using up all your space

You can see the ‘other’ data either via iTunes or the Finder App.

If you have a Windows PC or Apple Mac that has iTunes on it

You need to connect your device to your computer and start the iTunes App.

If you have an Apple Mac with macOS Catalina and Apple Music on it

When Apple upgraded the macOS to Catalina they replaced iTunes with 4 separate Apps – Music, Podcast, Books & TV. The connection between your device and the computer is now managed via Finder. So you need to connect your device to your Mac and go to Finder. Listed on the left you will see your device. Simply click it to see the detailed device information.

The way the information is presented via the finder is very similar to how it was shown in iTunes.

Checking the size of your ‘other’ data

When you view your device data usage on your computer you will notice a yellow section titled ‘other’ is listed in the usage bar graph.

Hover your mouse over it to see the space it occupies.

'other' data in iTunes

You should expect to see ‘other’ data of around 250MB. If your ‘other’ storage space is around this size then you don’t have too much of an issue with this. There are other things you can do instead to clear space. The best option is to use software that can create more room on your device by removing junk and compressing pictures.

However, if like me, ‘other’ data was bigger than 250MB, you can create loads more space by removing it.

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The links above are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you.

Please understand that I have experience with all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something.

Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

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