Need More Storage on Your iPhone? Learn to Easily Declutter!
I know it doesn’t scare you to declutter your closet, but how about decluttering your iPhone?
What if I told you there are things lurking in the background of your phone using up storage and you don’t even know about it?
Right now, you might be answering those questions with “I don’t know, and I don’t care.”
Unlike your closet, from the outside, your iPhone appears to look the same every day so there is no outside evidence that you have a job to do. But you do.
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I wouldn’t blame you one bit if you are thinking to yourself- I really don’t have time for this right now, if there was a problem, I’d fix it, but right now my closet needs me more.
I get it. Decluttering my iPhone isn’t at the top of my list either, but I hate feeling unorganized, and I found out my phone really isn’t much different than my stuffed, cluttered closet.
I mean you can look in your closet and see exactly what has to be cleaned out, reorganized, and donated, etc.
It’s a boring job, and nothing is really going to happen if you put it off for a while, right?
The same holds true for your phone, except you can’t see what’s inside for sure.
It’s like closing the closet door. – I’ll do it later.
The difference is that something WILL happen to your phone if you put off decluttering and I guarantee you are not going to be happy.
I also understand you may not consider yourself a techy person, and phone stuff just gets too complicated too fast.
You Can Do This- You Have No Choice
Good news. I promise in this post, I will walk you through step-by-step how to declutter your iPhone, and you can even get it done taking baby steps.
Trust me, if I can do this so can you.
If You Don’t Declutter Your iPhone, What Could Go Wrong?
See if this scenario might motivate you:
You are sitting in the front row at your son’s wedding.
He is standing in front of the church looking so handsome and so happy as he is watching his new bride come down the aisle.
You really want to capture the look on his face, so you risk taking out your phone to capture the moment, but when you push the button, you get a message that your storage is full and you can’t take any more pictures!
Besides already being on the verge of tears, you are ready to scream at the same time! Happily, you were able to control the screaming part.
Actually, something similar happened to my husband when our son ran his first and only marathon.
We had been waiting at the finish line to cheer him on for what seemed like a very long time.
We promised we would get his picture as he crossed the finish line.
Finally, we see him coming around the corner towards us looking like he is so proud in spite of total exhaustion. We are ready.
My husband has the best spot to take the picture but when he does, he gets a message on his phone that his storage is full!
I, of course, come completely unglued and asked the obvious question, “HOW COULD YOU LET THAT HAPPEN”!?
That didn’t go over well either.
BTW, the Storage Full message doesn’t necessarily mean you have too many pictures, something else could be totally causing the problem. That’s what we’re talking about here.
Just like with your decluttering your closet,
decluttering your iPhone is creating more storage.
1. Declutter iPhone Apps First- The Big One
Decluttering your apps may seem like a daunting task at first and it’s true we are going to spend a bit of time here- but you can take your time.
Here is what I did first: (I suggest you follow along on your phone.)
- To to Settings
- Tap General
- Scroll about halfway down until you see iPhone Storage- Click on it.
If you have never seen this page, you’re going to find it super helpful.
Not only can you see the amount of storage you have left, but you can also see which category is using the most storage on the colorful bar.
I thought for sure I would see photos were taking up most if not all of my storage, but I was WRONG!
The colored bar showed me that APPS were taking up more than ½ of my storage!
The total storage on my phone is 64GB and 36.5 GB were apps! Photos only took up 2.43GB!
I thought this was just crazy, so I started scrolling down to see what I actually had on my phone.
I discovered I had over 100 apps on my phone, and I counted 48 that could be easily deleted and I would never miss them.
Now It’s Your Turn to Declutter
Scroll down your list of apps on this page just see how many you have!
Do you see apps do you have that you forgot you had, or are thinking to yourself, “how did that get there’?
But hold on a second, before you start to wildly delete all of your apps, I want to show you a couple of other options.
Pick an app, any app. I’m going to show you Notability for my example.
So, when you choose an app it will show:
- a picture of the app
- the app size (how many GB it is using)
- how much storage the Documents and Data are using
- the last date that you used it!
Very efficient of Apple.
What you need to pay attention to is Offload App and Delete App.
Here’s one thing want to repeat. This is important.
When my husband got the message that his storage was full and he couldn’t take a picture, it wasn’t because he had too many pictures.
He had other apps that had filled up his phone and that was why there was no room.
He needed to Delete or Offload.
2. Delete Unused Apps
So to start, I am going to delete apps like Notability that I never use, and I suggest you do the same.
Now, go back to the page listing all the apps you have taking up storage.
Click on each one you want to get rid of for sure and click delete.
If you have a lot, you may want to do this while watching TV or something.
Okay, admittedly, I allowed many apps to be downloaded for my grandchildren.
I’m sure you have things like Mindcraft, Lego City and Mario Run on your phone, right?
Well, I don’t want to delete them, but I don’t want them taking up storage either.
I’ll bet you have apps that fit this description too.
So, I can Off Load them.
3. Off Load Apps
Now, get ready to Off Load. This was new to me, but I am using it like crazy now.
First, what is it?
It means if you choose Off Load App, the app is taken off of your device but all of the data will be saved in the cloud. You don’t really lose the app.
Remember when I said I didn’t want to delete Mindcraft, but I didn’t want it to take up storage space?- Off Loading is a huge space saver.
Right now my music app is the winner on storage usage at 2.43GB.
I don’t usually play music on my phone because I have the same music on my iPad and use that for music.
So, if I choose Off Load for my music app, the app and data are deleted from my phone but it is all saved in the cloud.
On my iPhone, the little icon for Music is still there but it has a little cloud under it.
I can reload it any time just by clicking on it and downloading,
I’ll still be signed in and all my music will be there.
Decluttering Your iPhone Is All About Storage
One more tip, when you first open iPhone Storage you should see the option to choose Recommendation to let Apple Off Load. This will allow Apple to Off Load any apps you haven’t used in quite some time automatically so you don’t have to worry about it.
What if you change your mind and want to control this yourself? I had the same question and I had to dig a little to find the answer. Here it is:
Go to Settings >Open iTunes & App Stores
Here you will find a toggle button for Off Loading apps. You can enable it or disable it when every you want.
Let’s take care of something else while you are on this page.
Look at the heading ” AUTOMATIC DOWNLOADS”
You see the choice to automatically download Music, Apps, Books, & Updates.
Only choose here what you want to automatically come to your phone when you download on other devices.
I had automatically Download Apps chosen here, and that is how I got over 50 apps on my phone I didn’t want or need!
4. Declutter Voicemail.
I know you are very annoyed when you try to leave a message on someone’s phone and you get the message their Mailbox is Full.
I know we all keep a few important voicemails from our kids or friends, but voicemail storage can get out of hand very quickly.
You are probably ready to pull your hair out right now just at the thought of another place you need to keep decluttered on your phone.
But I promise it is easy.
I mean you don’t have to do this every day. Apple is nice enough to send us a message when we are nearing the 90% full spot with our Voicemail Inbox.
I am sure you already know you can go to your voicemail page delete the messages you don’t want, then you’re good to go, right?
I am afraid I learned this trick the hard way. When you delete your voicemails, did you know they actually go to a folder at the bottom called “Deleted Messages”?
The reason for this is a good one. There might be a message you accidentally deleted and want to retrieve from this folder.
That is a good thing, right? Yes, I agree.
However, that folder is the secret to not having a full mailbox.
Those deleted messages still count! Why??? I don’t know and I think it is very annoying, but you have to open that folder and click Clear All the top.
You will get a pop-up making sure you really mean it. Do it.
I know decluttering your phone isn’t the most exciting task you have to remember to do, but personally, I’d rather be doing that than tackling my closet or kitchen drawers.
Now if you are one of those people who like to help others along the way, these honestly are really good tips that a lot of people don’t know about.
So be sure to pass along this post or just the advice.
My best advice is not to do it for them!
You can walk them through it, but make them do the work.
Yes, I am talking about your spouse.
5. Declutter iPhone Messages!
Here is another example of how apps can be sucking the life out of our storage space.
Old or unneeded messages really take up lots of storage space, they also pull on your battery too!
I have a friend who asked me for help when she couldn’t take more pictures because her storage was full.
I was blown out of the water when I looked at her storage it turned out her Messages took up the most space!
She had never deleted messages, and they went back many many years.
Adding to her problem was that she was keeping them because this is where she saved the photos of grandchildren her sons sent to her.
When I showed her how to transfer pictures from her Messages to her iPhoto app, she seriously spent the better part of an afternoon deleting messages. (just right click on the picture and choose Add To Photo Library.
How to Start Message Decluttering
You might be embarrassed to admit you have no idea how many messages you have stored on your phone.
Don’t feel bad if you don’t know, I sure didn’t.
If you keep messages on your phone because you want to find them again, I am not going to judge! I do too!
However, are you keeping messages that have completely forgotten about?
How about all the shipping messages you get from Amazon or the reminders to pay your Verison bill?
That’s not a problem until you realize you are going back years and have never deleted any of them.
You may want to grab your phone and follow along as we work through the steps.
Slide the message you want to Delete to the left and click DELETE.
OR for Multiple Deletes:
- Head on back to your Messages App if you aren’t already there.
- All you have to do is click edit on the top.
- A little blank circle appears next to each message string.
- Check the messages you can delete and then just click delete on the bottom right.
You are probably horrified right now thinking there is no way this is going to be easy!
My messages go back years!!!
If that is the case, my advice is to start small and just delete those messages from Amazon,
flight reminders or your pharmacy, you get the idea.
I promise you will find this is harder than it sounds because you have become emotionally attached to some messages. – It happens to all of us.
So the answer is easy- Keep that one!
To control Message storage going forward:
- Open up Settings and tap Messages.
- Scroll down until you find Message History
- Then choose how long to Keep Messages. 30 days, 1 year, or forever?- not forever.
6. Declutter by Storing Photos in the Cloud
I know messing with the storage of your photos is really really scary.
You don’t want to screw it up lose pictures.
Have you ever heard of Optimizing Your Photos?
Optimizing Photos saves tons of space on your phone by keeping full-resolution photos and videos in the cloud and then replacing them on your phone with smaller sized versions.
You can download the full resolution versions any time.- Don’t be afraid, it will work.
You can take care of this is a couple of steps.
First, enable iCloud Photo Library in iCloud.
Then head back to settings > tap Photos & Camera > select Optimize iPhone Storage
To learn more about organizing and storing photos, be sure to check out:
7 Steps to Organize & Declutter Digital Photos.
You Are Now In Control of Your iPhone Storage
I know this seems like a lot, but you don’t have to do it all in one day.
Doesn’t it feel great to have your phone storage all organized?
Going forward just knowing all of this, you will be able to keep it all organized.
If you are like me and throwing things is your favorite way to declutter then you loved this!
One of the best parts is you can now help someone else declutter and organize their iPhone!
Don’t forget to download the Declutter iPhone Storage Cheatsheet that will put all of these tips together in one place, so you can work on it when you have time.