- You can clear an iCloud account’s storage in several ways to free up space and avoid having to pay for extra storage.
- Apple gives you 5 GB of iCloud storage with the purchase of one of its devices, and that can fill up fast.
- Most often, your iCloud storage goes towards backing up your photos, files, voice memos, apps, and text messages.
- Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.
Unless you pay for an iCloud subscription, Apple gives you 5GB of storage with any device’s purchase. That’s not a lot of space, and you can quickly find that you don’t have enough room for your photos, iCloud Drive files, and other data from your phone or tablet.
You can upgrade your iCloud subscription, but it’s cheaper to clear out space in your iCloud account. You can delete files, photos, app backups, voice memos, and more from your iCloud Drive directly on your Apple device or through the iCloud website.
Typically, these things and all their associated data get backed up to iCloud by default. This can be both a blessing and a curse, particularly if the things you want to be backed up take up a lot of storage space. But you can save a substantial amount of space by disabling automatic backups, especially when it comes to your largest apps.
You can also delete text messages and any of the videos or images attached to them. While deleting individual texts won’t save much space, you can remove entire conversations and the media associated with them, which can help significantly.
Here’s how to clear your iCloud storage and free up more space.
How to clear iCloud storage
Delete photos from iCloud storage
By default, iCloud backs up all your photos and videos to the cloud. Over time, that adds up to a lot of pictures. You can save space by deleting any images you no longer want. It’s possible to do this from your iPhone, iPad, or the iCloud website. As long as Google Photos is enabled, any pictures you delete in one location are automatically deleted everywhere. Here’s how to delete photos from iCloud.
Delete files and folders from the iCloud website
1. Open iCloud.com in a browser.
2. Log in with your Apple ID.
3. Click “iCloud Drive.”
4. To delete a folder, select it and then click the Delete icon.
5. To delete files, double-click a folder.
6. Hold down CTRL while clicking each file.
7. Select the Delete icon.
Delete unwanted files in iCloud Drive from your iPad or iPhone
1. On your iPhone or iPad, launch the Files app.
2. Tap “Browse” at the bottom of the screen.
3. In the Locations section, select “iCloud Drive.”
4. To delete an entire folder, tap “Select” in the screen’s top right.
5. Then, choose the folder and tap the Delete icon.
6. To delete files, open the folder they’re contained in.
7. Use “Select” to choose files and delete them.
Delete app backups from iCloud on your iPhone or iPad
1. Start the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
2. Tap your account name at the top of the screen.
3. Select “iCloud.”
4. Choose “Manage Storage” on the next screen.
5. Tap “Backups.”
6. A list of your Apple devices being backed up to iCloud will appear. Select the name of the device you are currently using.
7. In the Choose Data to Back Up section, you should now see a list of the five apps that take up the most space on iCloud.
8. Turn off the backup feature for any of these apps by swiping the button to the left.
9. To see more options and disable more apps by tapping “Show All Apps.”
10. Repeat this process for any of your other Apple devices from that respective device.
Delete voice memos from iCloud on your iPhone or iPad
1. Start the Voice Memos app on your iPad or iPhone
2. Swipe a voice memo to the left.
3. Tap the Delete icon.
4. Select “Recently Deleted.”
5. Tap the recording you just deleted.
6. Choose “Delete” to permanently remove the voice memo, which will be erased on its own after 30 days.
Delete text messages and their large attachments on an iPhone or iPad
1. On your iPhone or iPad, start the Messages app.
2. Locate a conversation that has attachments you want to remove.
3. Select the person’s name at the top of the screen.
4. Choose “Info.”
5. On the Details page, photos should appear in a grid. Scroll and tap the “See All Photos” link below them.
6. Tap “Select” at the top of the screen.
7. Select each photo you want to remove.
8. Tap “Delete.”
9. Go to the iMessage app.
10. Select the text thread you want to delete.
11. Swipe it to the left.
12. Tap “Delete.”