Is Your iCloud Storage Full? 5 Tips To Free Up iCloud Storage Space

BY Parth Shah

Published 29 Mar 2020

Free up iCloud Storage

Similar to Google Drive on Android, Apple uses the iCloud platform to backup everything including photos, videos, app data, device settings, and more. The whole process is designed to help keep your data synchronized across Apple devices. However, since iCloud only offers 5GB of free space, most people are going to fill it up in no time. In this post, we will guide you through some of the effective ways to delete the iCloud storage.

The limited storage space on iCloud is going to be an even bigger issue for most people now as Apple has launched iCloud Folder Sharing. This means you can now use iCloud Drive as a true Dropbox alternative and use it to share and sync files with your friends and family.

Limited storage on iCloud will also cause issues with your apps. For example, your WhatsApp backups will start failing if you don’t have enough free storage space on iCloud.

How to Free Up iCloud Storage Space

Check the iCloud Storage

Before starting up, you need to check how much storage is consumed and how much space is available on iCloud. There are two ways to find that. Open iPhone Settings, and navigate to Profile -> iCloud, and here you will see the detailed breakdown of iCloud storage with consumed and available space.

remaining icloud storage

Alternatively, you can open the iPhone Files app, and go to the iCloud folder. Scroll down to the bottom and it will display the available iCloud storage. Is the remaining storage in MBs and almost full? Then, let’s follow the guidelines below to free up some iCloud storage.

1. Delete Old Device Backups

Apple’s iCloud service works across all the Apple hardware you own. Your iCloud account might have old backups from the earlier iPhone or iPad you owned. You identify the irrelevant device backups and delete them from the iPhone Settings menu.

delete device backup

Head to iPhone Settings -> Profile -> iCloud -> Manage Storage -> Backups. Here you will see the list of Apple devices that you own and the amount of backup space it’s consuming on the iCloud platform. Tap on the unnecessary iPhone or iPad backup and select Delete Backup option.

2. Turn off and Delete Photos Backup

As I mentioned earlier, Apple uploads every image from the Photos app to iCloud. Your vacation and travel photos will quickly occupy that 5GB of iCloud storage. Consider turning off the option from the Settings menu.

iCloud Photos Settings

Open the iPhone Settings app, tap on the user profile and navigate to iCloud. You will see a breakdown of iCloud storage with a list of apps using the iCloud platform. Go to Photos and toggle off the iCloud photos option. Now, it won’t upload any new photo to the iCloud. But what about the already uploaded photos and videos?

delete iCloud photos

To delete them, open the iPhone Settings and go to Profile -> iCloud -> Manage Storage. Here, you will see the amount of space photos are taking in the iCloud. Open Photos menu and select the Disable & Delete option.

Alternatives to iCloud Photos Backup

Now that you have disabled iCloud Photos backup option, it’s always advisable to have them backed up at a secure place. For an offline backup, you can transfer photos from iPhone to an external hard drive using Mac or Windows laptop.

To backup photos on other cloud services, you can opt for Google Photos app, which offers unlimited photos backup at high quality. Download the Google Photos app from the App Store, sign in using Google credentials. Tap on the hamburger menu, go into Settings -> Backup & sync and switch on Backup & sync for Google Photos.

google photos

If you are an Office 365 subscriber, then got with OneDrive as the package comes with 1TB of OneDrive storage. Download the app from the App Store, and log in using Microsoft account. Dive into OneDrive app Settings -> Camera Upload and toggle on backup option.

Onedrive backup

DownloadGoogle Photos


3. Delete App Data from iCloud

Most of the major iOS apps utilize iCloud to store and backup apps data. They silently eat up a major chunk of the iCloud storage in the background. You should delete the data of the app that you no longer use.

Open the iPhone Settings app and go to the user profile -> iCloud -> Manage Storage. Here, you will find the list of apps with the amount of consumed space in the iCloud. Tap on the irrelevant apps and delete the data.

delete iCloud apps data

You can go back to the iCloud menu and individually turn off iCloud backup for the installed apps. While you are at it, you shouldn’t toggle off the iCloud backup for the default iOS app. They are essential to restore the data on the new iPhone. Besides, they hardly take-up space on the iCloud, so keep them as it is.

4. Delete iCloud Drive Folders

Over time, you might have created folders and stored files and documents in iCloud. You should delete or move the unnecessary items to a different location.

Open iPhone Settings, navigate to the user profile -> iCloud -> Manage Storage -> iCloud Drive. The menu will display the list of folders in the iCloud platform. You can delete it all by tapping the Delete Download & Data or go into individual folders to erase the content.

free up icloud folder

If it seems confusing then simply use the native Files app in iOS. Open the app and it will showcase the device storage, iCloud, and other third-party cloud storage from the installed apps.

free up icloud folder from files

Go to iCloud and swipe left on folders to delete them. You can also long tap on it and copy or move them to the device storage. I mostly use the Files app to organize folders in iCloud and OneDrive.

Delete iCloud Folder and Data from the Mac

As I mentioned above, iCloud is tightly integrated with macOS too. You will see an iCloud section in a new Finder window on your Mac. You can navigate to the location, identify unnecessary files and folders and put them away in trash using the right-click menu.

Mac iCloud

Alternatively, one can open System Preferences -> Internet Accounts -> iCloud. You will see the default macOS apps backed up to the iCloud. Select manage and individually delete files from the following menu.

free up icloud from mac

5. iCloud Mail and Messages

All the emails that you send and receive using iCloud will count against your 5GB of free storage space. All your iMessage conversations are also stored on iCloud and space they occupy count against the 5GB quota. You can try deleting all your emails with attachments or empty the spam folder to free up storage space on iCloud. Similarly, you can delete your irrelevant iMessage conversations to free up space.

How Do You Manage Your iCloud Storage Space?

Which trick do you find the most effective to clean up the iCloud storage? Also, tell us why are you moving away from iCloud and which alternative you are opting for? Drop your views in the comments section below.