iCloud Storage Full? How to Free up & Get More iCloud Storage without Paying
You will be given 5GB of storage for free when you first set up iCloud. You can use the 5GB for iCloud backups, to store your photos & videos, documents, and app data. But as time goes on, you may find that iCloud storage is almost full. It will cause a lot of issues: Your device cannot make new iCloud backups, your photos & videos cannot be uploaded to iCloud Photos, and your documents won’t be kept up to date in iCloud Drive.
If you want to increase iCloud storage for your iPhone or iPad, it is a simple way to purchase for more space. But some Apple users may wonder if there is any way to get more iCloud storage without buying it. The answer is “Yes”. Actually, to free up iCloud storage is the only option to increase iCloud storage for free.
- Part 1: Check iCloud Storage on Your iPhone/iPad
- Part 2: How to Free Up iCloud Storage When Full
- Bonus Tip: How to Recover Mistakenly Deleted Data on iPhone
How to Check iCloud Storage on Your iPhone/iPad
When your device says iCloud storage is full, you need to check the iCloud storage there first. It will list every use of your iCloud space.
- Open the Settings app on your iPhone/iPad.
- Tap on [your name] to get to the Apple ID interface.
- Click on iCloud, and you can check the iCloud storage at the top.
How to Free Up iCloud Storage When It Is Full
1. Manage iCloud Backup Settings
The primary role of iCloud space is for backups, which means iCloud backups may eat up a mass of space resulting in iCloud storage full. To free up iCloud Storage, the most direct way to clear iCloud storage is to delete backups in iCloud, and stop iCloud from automatically backing up everything. Follow steps below to manage iCloud backup settings.
Delete backups and turn off iCloud Backup on the iPhone
- Step 1: Go to the Settings app on your iPhone.
- Step 2: Tap on your Apple ID at the top.
- Step 3: Navigate to iCloud and flip it.
- Step 4: Click Manage Storage below the colored graph.
- Step 5: Click on the Backups bar.
- Step 6: Tap the name of your device.
- Step 7: Tap on Delete Backup, and then Turn Off & Delete.
Select which apps not to back up
- Step 1: Launch the Settings app on your iPhone.
- Step 2: Tap on [your name].
- Step 3: Click on iCloud, and then Manage Storage.
- Step 4: Tap Backups, and then the name of your iPhone.
- Step 5: Under the CHOOSE DATA TO BACK UP section, switch off the toggle of the app you don’t want to back up.
- Step 6: Tap on Turn Off & Delete to confirm.
After that, iCloud won’t back up that app, and all its backup data will be deleted from iCloud.
2. Turn Off iCloud Photos & My Photo Stream
Photos and videos may take up too much space when your iCloud storage is full. If you turn on the iCloud Photos, all your photos and videos will be automatically uploaded and stored in iCloud so that you can browse, search, and share them from any of your Apple devices. iCloud Photos brings great convenience but also uses a chunk of storage on iCloud. To clear out iCloud storage, you can turn off iCloud Photos and My Photo Stream.
- Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud.
- Click on Photos.
- Disable iCloud Photos and My Photo Stream.
When you turn off iCloud Photos, you can try a third-party cloud service like Google Photos, which offers unlimited storage space for free. You can also choose other alternative cloud services like Yahoo’s Flickr app, Microsoft OneDrive, DropBox, and Amazon Cloud Drive. These cloud services will automatically back up your photos just like iCloud.
3. Delete Files in iCloud Drive
iCloud Drive helps keep any of your documents up to date across your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, and Windows PC. You can increase the iCloud storage by removing files stored in iCloud Drive. Here’s how to manage it.
- Step 1: Go to the Files app on your iPhone.
- Step 2: Tap on Browse on the bottom right.
- Step 3: Click on iCloud Drive under the Locations section. Then tap Select in the top right corner,
- Step 4: Tick the documents you want to remove, and then flick the delete icon.
- Step 5: Enter Recently Deleted under the Location section, and tap on Select.
- Step 6: Select the files you need to delete and tap on Delete to permanently delete them.
4. Delete Email Messages and Text Messages
When you are using Apple’s iCloud Mail, you can free up iCloud storage by deleting email messages from your iCloud Email Account.
If you have the Mail app enabled for iCloud access, you can delete email messages in the Mail app directly.
- Step 1: Open the Mail app on your iPhone.
- Step 2: Tap Edit at the top right of the screen.
- Step 3: Check the messages you want to delete and tap on Trash on the bottom right.
- Step 4: Go back to the home page of Mailboxes and click on the Trash bar.
- Step 5: Flick Edit on the top right, and tap on Delete All in the lower right corner.
If you have not enabled the Mail app in iCloud, you can go to iCloud.com, open the Mail app online, and delete messages within it.
Similarly, when you are using Messages in iCloud, you can remove text messages and attachments to clear iCloud storage.
- Step 1: Go to the Messages app on your iPhone.
- Step 2: Tap on Edit on the top left.
- Step 3: Tick the messages you don’t need and flip Delete in the bottom right corner.
If you want to delete a conversation in a text message, you can tap into that text message, long press the conversation you want to delete until you see a small window, tap on the More option, and then flick the trash icon and Delete Message.
5. Remove App Data from iCloud
Most of the apps installed on the iPhone, including Voice Memos, Notes, and WhatsApp sync the data to iCloud. You can see which apps are using iCloud in the iCloud interface. To free up space on iCloud storage, you can disable the apps you don’t want to sync to iCloud and delete the data of those apps.
- Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud.
- Toggle the switches of the apps you want to disable in iCloud to the white off position.
- Tap on Manage Storage, and flick the name of the apps you want to delete data from.
- Click on Delete Data and then Delete to confirm it.
Besides removing app data from iCloud, you can also delete some apps that you won’t open.
Bonus Tip: How to Recover Mistakenly Deleted Data on iPhone
It could happen that you permanently deleted some vital data which you still need on iPhone by accident when clear storage on the iPhone, including photos, contacts, iMessages, voice memo, and many more. You can, of course, recover them from your iPhone backups. But what if you have no backup or the backups are corrupted? Don’t worry; you can resort to a third-party recovery tool like Gihosoft iPhone Data Recovery. It is a professional data recovery tool which can help you get back up to 16 types of data from your iPhone.
- Step 1: Open this program on your computer, select the file types you want to recover and click on the Next button.
- Step 2: Connect your iPhone to the computer, wait for the program to recognize your device, and click the Next button to start scanning.
- Step 3: All the scanned files will be well organized in the left pane. You can preview each of them and tick the data you want to recover.
- Step 4: Click on the “Recover” button to save data to your computer.
In virtue of this tool, you can also preview and selectively recover data from your iTunes backup or iCloud backup.
If your iCloud storage is full, it is not wise to blindly buy more space for iCloud. You can try to manage and free up iCloud storage via tips mentioned in this article. Be careful when you delete items from iCloud and iPhone in case you lose some vital data. But don’t worry if that accident happens, you can use Gihosoft iPhone data recovery to recover lost data from your iPhone directly. If you have any queries or suggestions, please sound off in the comment section.