Not enough storage space on your iPhone or iPad to install iOS 8? Here's how to fix it!

Trying to install iOS 8 to your iPhone or iPad but getting a not enough storage message? Not only can we help you figure out what is eating up your storage space, we can also make some suggestions on how to remedy it so you can get back to installing iOS 8, error free!

How to find out what's using the most space on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad

  1. Launch the Settings app from the Home screen of your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on General.
  3. Now tap on Usage.
  4. The first section is the Storage section. Give your iPhone or iPad a minute to load everything. The more data you have, the more it has to load.
  5. Tap into any item in the list to see more details on how much storage space it's taking up.

That's all there is to it. The usage list sorts in order of most storage used to least so you know the first few items in the list are the problem. Notice that as of iOS 7 you can also see how much space the Messages app is taking up. If you're bad about clearing your messages out or never have, this could save tremendous amounts of space. I was shocked to see I had 6 GB of messages stored on my phone. That's a lot of storage space!

How to clean out your Camera Roll!

The most common culprits when it comes to storage issues are videos, with photos coming in as a close second. The problem with dumping them on your computer is that you no longer have quick access to them when you want to show them to people on your iPhone or iPad. Fortunately, that's not your only option.

Uploading your photos and videos to a storage service like Dropbox can save loads of space and still make them accessible on your device through the Dropbox app. You can even set up automatic upload so your photos are backed up to Dropbox automatically each and every time you launch it. That lets you clear out your Camera Roll in order to save space.

Dropbox isn't the only storage option when it comes to cloud storage. Take a look at our comparison to decide which one is right for your photo and video storage needs.

See also:

Note: Originally posted, September 2013. Updated, September 2014.

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Allyson Kazmucha

Senior editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

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Reader comments

Not enough storage space on your iPhone or iPad to install iOS 8? Here's how to fix it!


For some reason, when I downloaded the app "elements", my apps had "cleaning..." under it, and one of my school textbooks apps lost all its data. Then I had to redownload the book. Then there was an update for elements, then I lost the textbooks data again, and had to redownload it. Why does it do this? Is it because I had less than 1.5GB?

What about getting rid of the "Other" data? Is there a way to get rid of this on the iPhone? This seems to consume a lot. I wish I could show people, but whenever I now sync music onto my iPhone 5 running iOS 7, I get my "Other" data go from 1GB to 8GB! I have a 32GB model, but this is nuts? Have you seen notice this with iOS 7?

Just out of the blue, my storage (16 GB) iPhone went from 9.5 GB to just over 8.0 GB. I removed most of my pics, deleted my email accounts. I dont have any music or video. it's all apps.

I was only able to get 200 MB more. I did a backup, wipe, reset, and restore. Same 8.2 GB. This is frustrating. The apps I updated aren't significantly larger in size over the previous versions (I keep the old ones as part of a periodic backup).

I even used a utility (no jailbreak required) called PhoneClean and it only got rid of 100+ MB.

I have no idea what's going on. Argh!

Or you can use a utility called Backuptrans iPod/iPhone/iPad Space Free Up to free up storage space by removing system junk, app temp/cache/crash log etc. Without reset device. Hope it helps.

The only way to get rid of some 'other' data memory is by deleting unwanted notes, messages , emails , all / missed calls .

It Is when your stupid parents only give you phone with like only 8GB and they put you on the same data plan and when your a 13 year old Fangirl and you have to have ever social app posible it dosent help when you only have 8GB on a shared data plan

Your "stupid Parents" didn't have to give you a phone at all you unappreciative little shit. If I was your mom I would smash your damn phone and never give you another one. this is the problem with kids nowadays .. they feel entitled to everything, like their parents owe it to them .. well newsflash for you kid .. your parents owe you NOTHING .. so take what they give you and be thankful.

Hahaha well said Rebecca!
She should think herself lucky that her parents have given her a phone.
Take it off her & give her a walkie talkie

Cleaning means it's clearing out the temporarily data for the app to reclaim some of the storage.

If you're running out of storage, iOS is going to start cleaning the temporary folders in your iOS apps.

When the remaining space iphone is less than a certain value, iOS system will automatically clean up some app cache files or app document & data. This is similar to the hard disk fragment Cleaner.
I think your iPhone will run out of storage space. You can go Setting->General->Usage to check the available iPhone storage, then deleted some apps which take up your most storage. Or if you don't want to uninstall the app, you need to use some app to clean up the caches files, document &data, the "Other" data and more.
Some articles will help you to solve this problem.

Unfortunately, you'll just have to clear out the messages you don't want anymore. You can delete entire threads at a time by swiping sideways in the main view and tapping delete.

I have deleted every single text message and the Messages app still says 3.6GB under Settings->General->Usage. Then I click on it and it says "Messages (Saved) 3.6GB". No option to do anything else.

Allyson - I tried this and it still didn't seem to fix it, even rebooted my phone. I have zero iMessage / Text Messages on my phone and I still have 475MB of Storage being used for iMessage on my iPhone. When I click on it it says Messages (Saved) 476MB on the next window. I don't have any saved that I am aware of. Any idea?

I would assume it's a glitch. Maybe try turning iMessage off, turning the device off an on, then turning it back on?

I'd say it probably did clear the storage space, it's just not updating right.

You can use Phoneview. Beautiful modestly priced software to download and display yor messages on your computer. Developers are exceptionally supportive and just really decent people. I had a tiny problem with the software once and they went way out of their way to help.

Something odd is I actually gained a couple of GBs on my iPad after upgrading to iOS 7. But the storage has stayed the same on my other devices.

I always recommend to never use the OTA on iOS devices to update the phone. After the development and release of iOS 7, Apple has failed to be more proactive in developing a unique way to update devices the way they are suppose to be updated. I find downloading the full update via iTunes has helped me at least. I find iOS 7 less buggy than I did when I did the OTA. Try it and see if you all notice the difference.

The biggest problem with storage that I've been experiencing is "app bloating".
There are many, no, I dare say that any and every app that acquires the data it presents us users with from a server out there in the ether takes that data and caches it away inside the app's "Documents and Data". Weather apps, news apps, ... Even the flashlight app I used to use and Apple's Remote app (wtf?)... They all bloat! That flashlight app was holding onto 22.6 MB of data. For what?! All the ads it spammed me with when I used it? TUAW - a 12.6 MB app had 41.6 MB of data. Apple "Trailers" - 6 MB app; 37.7 MB data. ... ... iMore - 3.9/17.8 MB... Yahoo Weather! - 17.4/51.6 MB... I could go on.

My point is this, apps are holding data. The only way I know of to get that space back is to delete and re-install the app and set them up all over again.

I've been asking Apple for a way to clear cache for over a year, but I can only guess that Apple believes it's not a relevant problem or Apple expects app developers to handle this on their end - like Google Earth and Wallpaper stand HD.

I'd love to have the ability to set apps to auto-clear their cache just like Apple's Mail app will clean house on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, but at this point I'd be happy with a "clear cache" button in the Settings. I want that 1 GB of Shanghai'd space back without having to go 1990's on my iOS system with a delete and reinstall procedure.

[Face palm]

Sent from the iMore App

Can someone please tell me the name of the software used to create the screenshots in these iMore articles? I thought it was mentioned some time ago but I can't find it.

The only way I know to take a screen shot of an iOS device is by pressing the "Sleep" and the "Home" buttons at the same time. It puts the screen shot picture in your Camera Roll. You'd have to composite those images with another application.

Sent from the iMore App

The new update 7.0.2 closes apps automatically, does not allow picture upload from email, camera roll pictures loom huge! And when formatting them they cut a portion of the pucture right off. As well as when taking photos they are NOT as good as the ones before the update! How do I get the old layout back. I had no issues! And an update should be an option not mandatory!

i have a question, if you have an iPhone and an iPad, do you have this problem where you delete photos from your camera roll on the iPhone and later charging it only to see the deleted photos back in there. Is this because it's not deleted on both the devices? Do you have to delete on both devices then?

Incidentally, I just noted there's been a radical change to the layout (and operational abilities) of PhoneClean Free - but I have found that that the Quick Scan (the original features) won't nag you to buy a license and still let's you choose what to scan - and after that, what you really want to purge. Post iOS 7.0.2 , I just tried this version and I allowed it to purge some 400 MBs of space.

just simply swiping does not work. i did that and not only do my messages still take up 9.1GB of space, but the next time i restarted my phone they all came back. Before messages didn't take up a lot of space -- there seems to be something majorly wrong here.

Thanks for the tip. In addition to that I saved tons of space by subscribing to iTunes match. It made my whole media library available in iCloud and I could simply delete all music files which were physically stored on my iPhone (btw works great with the way you described above. For a detailed instruction check ). Now I can simply download the songs I like and keep everything else stored remotely.

Apart from that I am thinking to buy an external wifi hard drive. Especially when it comes to movies the internal storage of my iPhone is quickly reaching it's limits....

Alright, I need a response.
On my iPhone, I've deleted ALL my apps for storage, only leaving me with Instagram.
I've got less than 396 pictures, with only a few videos.
I can't take pictures or even download one app (Which barely takes up any storage), and it's annoying the crap out of me.

i have an ipad 4 with retina display wifi only and have a lot of videos be they diy or music that just wont play. you start and it stops. after 2or3 times you give up and move on. i ve tried the jasmine app and had similar results. i am not tech saavy and dont intend to bec ome one, but whts going on?

I was wondering the same thing -- my Facebook app is clinging on to 696 MB of data without a way for me to get rid of it (short of deleting and reinstalling the app). Any suggestions out there?

I have deleted every app on my iPad and I still can download not even one of my.movies due to no enough space..... Why and how can I fix this.

I noticed my Podcast app 'PocketCasts' was showing 600MB when I looked under 'Usage', and as I only had 2 Podcasts downloaded (a total of 62mb), I contacted the makers of the app on Twitter and they replied saying "That’s an iOS caching issue. If you actually start running low on space it will be auto cleared."

This will be very useful since I haven't been able to update my phone because it requires a little less than 2GB for the update. I plan on getting the 32GB for my next iPhone.

Simplest fix of all? Don't to on device updates - use iTunes - no muss, no fuss.
I know that doesn't help people with no computer, but for those that do, it is not worth the hassle to clear space just to use a slower and less reliable update method.
Fix number two? Don't try to upgrade the second the update is made available - that's just nuts. Wait 'til tonight or tomorrow.

quickest and easiest method by far if you are 'low' on space and don't want to fight with it. Tip: transfer purchases and then backup and then update.

Sent from the iMore App

I had to clear out a fair amount of stuff on my 5S this morning to make room for iOS 8 too. That's the last time I get a 16 GB model. So far iOS 8 is working great, tho, and I'm pretty happy with it.

Why One Drive wasn't recommended as an option ?? Is it not a good option in anyway ??Or One Drive wasn't available at the time when original article was written??

Sent from the iMore App

I deleted a podcast and freed up 23 gigs. Then I synced with my computer to do the upgrade and the first thing iTunes did was restore everything I had deleted from that podcast!

Sorry people but this is a nightmare on my Ipad. I have to delete almost all the apps to be able to install the update. Somehow Android handles this much better. With almost no storage left the updates still works perfectly.

So here is my problem. My messages are taking up way too much space like 4.2 GB!
I have deleted them from my message app, But they are still taking up 4.2 GB, my question is how do I get rid of that, they are obv saving somewhere else, But I cant figure out where and how to delete them! Can someone offer some advice?!

Plug your phone into your computer and open iTunes. When iTunes prompts you that there's an update for your iPhone choose "Download Only." This way you can start the download and unplug your phone. The download will continue to iTunes. Later, when the download completes, you can plug your phone back in and update it. This also keeps you from having to have the extra free space on your phone for the download because when you upgrade from the phone, you may get a notice that you don't have enough free space.

Let's not forget this possibility.......

I believe there was a bug in iOS 7 whereby after the upgrade, it orphaned attachments from SMS messages that were deleted. So you may have deleted the messages but the phone thinks (?) that more space is being used. Or something like that. My iPhone 4 ended up with about 1.5GB of space being wasted. My daughter's 4S has about 3+GB being taken up this way.

I think there are only 2 primary ways (I know of) that help get rid of that....

1) restore the phone to factory defaults and then manually add stuff back (if you restore, you may propogate the problem back)

2) Edit the backup file. somewhere here on the forum are a lot of references to ibackupbot. I used that to edit the backup file and then i restored the edited backup to the phone and got the space back.

Sooooo, just sayin that when people are looking for space culprits, this is one thing that could be to blame.

Hey! Back up on iCloud. Wipe it clean. Start as new. Automatically updates to 8. Wipe clean again. Start from iCloud backup. You're done.

Hey you can export them to your mac and access them via iCloud!

My strategy is to import them to my Mac using the preinstalled Image Capture app; it's set to open when I plug my phone in. I can then easily import to iPhoto (Aperture will work too) and delete the photos from my iPhone. iPhoto and Aperture both upload new photos to iCloud automatically, which means they are accessible on your iPhone again. No need for Dropbox!

I have cleaned my photo album and only have about 33MB of photos and videos showing in storage on laptop File Manager in iPhone 5C/32GB when I Sync with iTunes on Windows 7 laptop. Yet, iTunes and iPhone Usage show over 8GB in photo. I have deleted ALL in iPhone albums and it still shows >8GB. What or where is it? Some kind of shadow storage of
Photos or what? Quite frustrating when I bought the 32GB to avoid this type of issue. I cleaned all emails and messages TOTALLY, and it still shows!?! Anyone have any ideas?

I was considering buying the 64gb iPhone 6 after constantly running out of space on my 16gb iPhone 5. Then my friend told me what he was using this app called "Lyve" to manage his storage. I gave it a try and cannot live without it now! even works with my Samsung Tab, Macbook and old Windows laptop. Check it out

I have an iPad with I think 12 gigabytes and I have no storage what so ever! and I know what's taking up all the storage, photos! Photos are taking up 10 gigabytes, so I deleted all but 12 photos and it's STILL taking up 10 gigabytes so now i don't have enough space to do anything! Is there a way to fix the problem without deleting all my pictures and apps? Help! Ps. No videos on my iPad either

Thank you for all the information that you have left on your website. Unfortunately, my problem did not have a posted solution and I've been digging for a few months for one. I'm one of those people that is having a problem with the messages app taking up a large space - 6GB of space - in my usage settings. I have already went into my messages app and deleted nearly all of the hundreds of text messages along with all of the threads. (Out of the approx. 1500 I deleted all of them except for 31 messages that are not lengthy in content) When I went back into the usage section/usage tab under the general tab in settings I noticed it did not change or decrease or free up ANY usage space. Next, for comparative and understandable purposes, I started deleting the secondary apps that nearly tied in the taking for the ranking of 'Second Largest in hogging memory/space.' I did notice however, when going back to see if any additional storage space was then freed - with fingers crossed... - and it did take away some of the space in the usage settings.! but it wasn't much. And certainly not enough space to allow the new iOS update I've been needed for months! The messages that are saved in the usage app are primarily and overall is the sole issue with taking up the largest amount of space. This causes me not to be able to download the new iOS update ----still. Now, I understand the messages app cannot be deleted because it comes preinstalled on the iPhone it is one of those apps that can not be deleted. However, I wish that I could delete the messages within the app without deleting the actual messages app. This would allot the needed space So I could (finally) download my new iOS update. The other apps that did not come preinstalled on your iPhone is deletable. I would love to but, wonder if we could make a suggestion (that's heard and has a real chance for an update fixing this 'bug' as I call it - allowing one an option to delete the texts and threads but not the actual messages app. - this suggestion would be inclusive of the messages app as well as any other preinstalled, non-removable apps that omit the 'delete app' button that only the after purchase, owner installed apps have.
In the meantime I'm still looking for an option to fix this besides deleting my entire phone, setting it up as a new phone by using iTunes via USB to computer and then reinstalling my data via iCloud backup...
Thanks so much in advance to anyone that takes the time to reply and assist me me with soling this long and frustrating, ongoing dilemma I am having.
Erin C.