These iOS Settings Are Free to Keep on Your iPhone (Without Deleting Anything)

Oh no. Your iPhone keeping its limits? It doesn’t matter if you charge your iPhone pictures of happy memories for a whole year or just downloaded a lot of movies, full iPhone storage is a big hassle. You cannot install the latest iOS software updates, download more apps, or even take a photo or video. Not to mention, your phone is likely to crash more often. You have some obvious options to clean up your storage, but you have to get rid of things or spend.

You can delete large files, like movies, TV shows and music albums, but maybe you’re not ready to commit to that. There are also various cloud alternatives to increase your existing storage, but that requires moving files around, and you have to pay for it. You can too buy a new phone with more storage — but that’s an expensive option.

So, if these options do not appeal to you, you can and should take advantage of some iOS features to free up storage on your iPhone without having to remove anything or spend any money.

There are two built-in iOS settings that help you clean up a large amount of storage on your iPhone — one permanently and the other temporarily — so you can install the latest updates. in software, take more photos and videos and download more apps. Here’s what you need to know.

If you want more tips on getting more iPhone storage, take a look how to free up space on your iPhone with these easy tricks and the best cloud storage options in 2023.

Optimize your iPhone photos and videos

It’s not always easy to just delete what’s in your camera roll, so if you want to keep your precious memories, or even your meme screenshots, but you still want to free up device storage, the most An easy way to do that is to optimize photos. and videos already saved on your device.

By default, every time you take a photo or video, it is saved at the full resolution of your device. If you are taking photos and videos at the highest resolution possible, they may take up less space. A one-minute video shot in 4K at 60fps takes up approximately 400MB — almost half a GB. That’s pretty significant.

To optimize your photos and videos, go to Settings > Photos and toggle on iPhone Storage Optimization (for this to work, you must have iCloud Photos setting above it is activated). Depending on how many photos and videos you have on your iPhone, this may take a while, but when it’s done, you should see more storage space on your device.

Optimize iPhone Storage settings

For this to work, you need to turn on the iCloud Photos setting.

Screenshot by Nelson Aguilar/CNET

All your full-resolution photos and videos are transferred to your iCloud, while smaller, lower-resolution versions are stored on your device, so it takes up less space. If you want to access your photos and videos in higher resolution, you can go to the Photos app and download any optimized file, but this requires a decent internet connection. Your recently taken photos and videos can be in full resolution, so you don’t need to download every photo or video.

If you don’t have enough iCloud storage, upgrading your cloud is easier than getting a new phone. In the US, you can upgrade to 50GB for just a dollar a month, or you can go bigger: 200GB for $3 a month or 2TB for $10 a month. Prices vary depending on your country or region.

To upgrade your iCloud on your iPhone, go to Settings > (your name) > iCloud > Account Savings Management > Buy More Storage. Choose a plan and then follow the instructions. When you upgrade to any paid iCloud subscription, you get access to iCloud+, which also offers the iCloud Private Relay and Hide My Email features.

iCloud storage plans in iPhone settings

You can spend $1 per month for more iCloud storage.

Screenshot by Nelson Aguilar/CNET

Offload your biggest apps

You won’t use every application stored on your iPhone. Many of them are just sitting there, like apps for your favorite airlines, third-party cameras and music production. And even if you use them every once in a while, you probably don’t need constant, daily access to most apps, so you should consider offloading those apps when you need them. storage.

For example, you want to download and install the latest iOS update. If it’s a major update, like iOS 16, you may need less than 5GB to successfully install the software. If it’s a point update, like iOS 16.1, you’re looking at about 1GB. And if you don’t have enough storage space to update, you can immediately offload apps, which is a middle ground between keeping and deleting your apps.

Go to Settings > general > Storage on iPhone and check which apps are using the most storage. Some built-in apps like Photos and Messages can’t be offloaded, so be warned. When you find a large app that you want to offload, tap on it and hit Offload the App. Wait a bit and the app should be removed offline, while your documents and data will remain saved on your device.

Save the app to your iPhone

You need to tap Offload App twice to “unload” the app.

Nelson Aguilar/CNET

If you need temporary storage, for software downloads, just go through the list and offload every app you can. The amount offloaded for each app varies, but you should see the number next to it App Size. Dismiss the number next to Documents & Data, as that will remain on your device. The only way to get that is to delete the app.

Offload as many apps as you need until you have enough storage. Obviously you can’t use an offloaded app, but if you want to restore the offloaded app, go to your App Library and tap the iCloud button to download it again. If the offloaded app is on your home screen, just tap on it to download it. You don’t need to sign in again or anything — you’ll have access to the app as if it hadn’t been deleted.

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