Running out of storage space on your iPhone or iPad? Here's how to fix it!

If you've ever tried to download an app, video, or file onto your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad only to get the dreaded "out of storage space" error, then you know how frustrating it can be. Wether you have 16GB, 32GB, or more, it feels like we're only ever a few big games, albums, or 1080p movies away from being full up. Luckily, iOS 7 makes it easy to see what exactly is taking up the precious storage space on your device, and remove it so you can go back to downloading new stuff. Here's how!

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:

Allyson Kazmucha

Editor for iMore, Potter pundit, and the ninja in your iOS

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There are 49 comments. Add yours.

unstoppablekem says:

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?

Allyson Kazmucha says:

Hmm, that's odd. I've never heard of that issue. I'll look into it though!

Johnny Sanchez says:

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?

gordol says:

The only way I know of to clear "Other" is to do a device reset / wipe and reload.

Spaz888 says:

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!

jmburke1982 says:

I have wondered the same thing. What is the "other" data?

CORYK333 says:

The mysterious "other" data is actually your iPhones soul

whyiteasy says:

my other data size level is 7gb+ :( :( :(

P Rokhum says:

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

thatotherdude24 says:

There's a program called phoneclean that takes care of the 'other' data. It's cleared off 1GB worth of stuff for me and it works on all iOS devices.

http://www.imobie.com/phoneclean/

bailey jeanes says:

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

RebeccaR1 says:

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.

MikhailT says:

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.

JazzMan1982 says:

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.
http://www.fireebok.com/resource/how-to-delete-documents-and-data-on-iph...
http://www.idownloadblog.com/2013/11/11/how-to-manage-ios-diagnostic-usa...

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yazooy145 says:

Zooz

Sent from the iMore App

aturner10 says:

What about the Messages app? I've got 1.1GB there - how do I clear that out easily?

Allyson Kazmucha says:

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.

Lockywood says:

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 Kazmucha says:

Toggle iMessage on and off then check ;)

It seems to be a glitch

JPiLLa says:

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?

Allyson Kazmucha says:

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.

Chen Xiaowang says:

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.

EPJS says:

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.

Johnny Sanchez says:

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.

Joebin says:

Thanks Allyson, I did this for my wife's phone to make room for the iOS 7 update.

Becjr says:

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

trogdor502 says:

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.

Becjr says:

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

trogdor502 says:

Thank you! While it wasn't actually Skitch, it was very close and led me to Napkin. http://m.imore.com/napkin-makes-annotation-fast-functional-and-fun

Allyson Kazmucha says:

Yep, as trogdor502 pointed out, it's Napkin for Mac, AWESOME app!

Michael B32 says:

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!

JonaYO says:

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?

Bazza1 says:

There's also PhoneClean (www.imobie.com/phoneclean/) as run from your computer. After a scan, you can be very clear as to the gunk it clears out - but it can restore storage, especially the first time run.

Bazza1 says:

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.

klak91283 says:

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.

z-tobi says:

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 http://hdmiguru.hubpages.com/hub/How-to-Get-More-Storage-Space-for-iPhon... ). 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....

neftella says:

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.
Help?

Joe Wilson3 says:

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?

Stephanie Smith2 says:

How do I get rid of Facebook data that's taking up significant amount of space?

OMMBoy says:

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?

Rick Streeter says:

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.

darinr80 says:

Use Picasa Web Albums it's way better and will upload iPhone photos automatically, in full size!

dougierydal says:

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."

Rachel Krokenberger says:

so i did this to my music on my phone and now most of it has disappeared. how do i get it back?

jennking1616 says:

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.