How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad

How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad

Apple introduced its free 5GB of iCloud storage in 2011. Despite the increase in the size of photos and videos shot on iOS devices, the company has made no effort to increase this quota. Expanding iCloud storage is an option, but it will also become full. Therefore, your best bet to optimize space is to clear iCloud storage on your iPhone and iPad.

How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad

This article will help you save money on iCloud’s paid tiers (or if you don’t want to upgrade) and free up space on iCloud from your iPhone or iPad. Perform a backup before proceeding so you can recover any lost data. Let’s first understand what is using the iCloud storage.

Why Is My iCloud Storage Full

Before we discuss the methods to clear iCloud storage, let’s first determine what is taking up your iCloud storage. This will give you an understanding of the situation and help you make an informed decision regarding what to clear.

To check your iCloud storage usage on your iPhone, open the Settings app, tap on your username, and select the iCloud button. Then, choose Manage Storage to see what is using up your storage space.

How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad

In the image above, you can see that the majority of our storage is occupied by documents, while the rest is filled with mail and photos. Now that you know how your iCloud storage is occupied, let’s see how to clear it.

Here are ten ways to clear iCloud storage on your iPhone. Let’s start by deleting unwanted photos.

1. Delete Unwanted Photos

Photos and videos occupy a lot of storage. Even with the latest HEIC and HEVC formats used by iOS devices, all those live photos, bursts, and slow-mo videos will still take up a significant amount of space. To reduce the occupied space on your iCloud storage, you need to delete unwanted photos and videos. Deleting items on your iPhone or iPad will also remove their backed-up copy stored on iCloud. The Albums tab in the Photos app allows you to filter and delete duplicates or unnecessary items.

2. Start Using Google Photos

If you don’t want to actively manage your photo and video library, switch to Google Photos. Besides being a great photo manager, it’s also a fantastic way to back up your media with no limits. However, the photos and videos will be compressed — 16mp and 1080p, respectively. But that’s still an acceptable trade-off.

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Even if you want to store your media at its original quality on Google Photos, you still have 15GB of free storage. Unlike iCloud, Google Photos is available on Android and other platforms.

Google Photos also allows you to conveniently delete photos after they’re backed up, freeing up space locally as well.

If you are comfortable using Google Photos or prefer managing photos offline by backing them up to a PC or Mac, consider turning off iCloud Photos. This will disable subsequent backups to iCloud. You can also delete the stored photos on iCloud, which consume the most storage. This is the fastest way to gain space on iCloud.

Step 1: Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad, tap your profile > iCloud.

How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad

Step 2: Tap Photos and disable the iCloud Photos switch. Important: If your iOS device was low on storage, it may have replaced locally stored images with low-res versions. To retrieve the original versions, enable the ‘Download and Keep Originals’ setting before disabling iCloud Photos. For more information, refer to our guide on disabling and deleting photos from iCloud backups.

How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad

Note: Your photos or videos will no longer be backed up to iCloud.

To delete backed-up photos and free up iCloud storage, follow these steps:

Step 3: Go back to the previous screen and tap Manage Storage > Photos.

How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad

Step 4: Tap ‘Disable & Delete’ and then ‘Delete Photos and Videos’ to confirm.

How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad

4. Turn Off Apps That Use iCloud

Many apps on iPhone and iPad use iCloud to sync data, actions, and settings. However, some apps like Messages and WhatsApp use up iCloud storage due to attachments or multi-media content. To disable this, follow these steps:

1. Open the Settings app on your device.

2. Tap on your profile.

3. Tap on iCloud.

How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad

Step 2: Scroll down the Apps Using iCloud section and locate an app you want to disable, like WhatsApp. Turn off the switch next to it.

The app will stop using iCloud to sync or back up any data.

Step 3: On the top of the screen, tap Manage Storage, then tap on the app whose data you want to delete from iCloud.

How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad

Step 3: Tap Delete Data, then Delete to confirm.

How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad

5. Choose What Gets Backed Up

Performing system backups to iCloud on your iPhone or iPad uploads the documents and data for almost every app installed. While this is great for a complete system restore in the future, you can forgo non-essential app backups if desired.

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Thankfully, turning off backups for individual apps is quite easy.

Step 1: Open the Settings app, tap your profile, and then tap iCloud.

How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad

Step 2: Tap Manage Storage and then tap Backups.

How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad

Step 2: Select your iPhone or iPad from under Backups. On the next screen, disable the switch next to any app that you don’t want iCloud to back up alongside a system backup.

How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad

Step 3: Tap ‘Turn Off & Delete’ to confirm. This will delete any backed-up data in iCloud and stop future backups for the app.

How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad

To disable other apps, repeat the process. If you have multiple iOS devices, use the device related to the backup for these changes.

If you have any unused iOS devices, it likely means there is an unnecessary backup taking up iCloud storage space. Alternatively, you may prefer to back up your iPhone or iPad to your PC or Mac using iTunes. In that case, you can delete the entire iCloud backup to free up significant storage.

Here is how you can do it:

1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.

2. Tap your profile, followed by iCloud.

How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad

Step 2: Tap Manage Storage and then tap Backups.

How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad

Step 3: Select the device and tap Delete Backup.

How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad

Step 3: Tap Turn Off to confirm.

How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad

If you have an obsolete backup or choose to back up your iOS device through iTunes, then and only then should you proceed. Experiencing a hardware or system failure without a way to recover crucial data is not enjoyable.

7. Delete Unwanted Files Manually

iOS 11 introduced the file management service with the Files app, which manages all cloud storage services on your iPhone and iPad. If you want to delete miscellaneous files within iCloud Drive (the file storage arm of iCloud), the Files app is a great way to do it without a Mac or PC. Unwanted files can take up space unnecessarily, so follow these steps to delete them. Step 1: Open the Files app and tap iCloud Drive.

How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad

Step 2: You will see files and folders in iCloud Drive (except for system backups and synced app data). Explore the folders to find and remove any unwanted items. Use the Search bar to filter out items quickly.

How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad

You can delete files stored in iCloud Drive and also move them to other cloud storage or save them locally. Check out our comprehensive guide to explore the various options offered by the Files app.

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Use the optimized storage feature to reduce picture file size on your iPhone. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Open the Settings app.

Step 2: Scroll down and tap Photos.

How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad

Check the option ‘Optimize iPhone Storage.’

How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad

9. Alternate Storage for iWork Apps

iWork apps, including Pages, Numbers, and Keynote, sync files with iCloud. But you can use a different cloud storage on your iPhone or iPad. You can also save files locally.

However, switching to a different service disables some features, like collaboration. So only do this if you’re okay with losing those features.

Here’s how to change the storage location:

1. Open the Settings app and select Pages, Numbers, or Keynote.

2. Tap Document Storage.

How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad

Step 2: Select another cloud storage service or choose On My iPhone to save your documents locally.

How to Clear iCloud Storage That Is Full on iPhone and iPad

Existing iWork documents will continue to save in iCloud storage. You can also move them to another location using the Files app.

10. Upgrade Your iCloud Storage Plan

Clearing your iCloud storage is the most efficient solution for this issue. If you can afford it, we highly recommend expanding your iCloud storage. Here are the prices for different iCloud plans:

– 50 GB: $0.99 per month

– 200 GB: $2.99 per month

– 2 TB: $9.99 per month

That’s all you need to know about clearing iCloud storage. If you have any more questions, check out the FAQ section below.

FAQs on Deleting iCloud Storage

1. iCloud storage starts at $0.99 per month for a single user and offers up to 50GB of storage space.

2. No, there is no official way to transfer data between Google Drive and iCloud.

Not Too Cloudy After All

Whether you use Apple’s free 5GB or a paid plan, these methods will help manage your iCloud Storage efficiently. Using Google Photos for backups alone can save valuable iCloud storage for critical backups.

Do you have any other suggestions? Share them in the comments below.

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