Here’s what to do when your iPhone storage space is running low

It’s Christmas, but many iPhone fans aren’t getting the iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone 14 Pro Max of their dreams. Unless they ordered one before November 10, they’re probably stuck with an old iPhone model rather than the hottest new Apple handsets. Using an older iPhone also means struggling with storage. The older the handset, the bigger the storage issues, especially if you bought an entry-level 64GB iPhone years ago.

The good news is that there are several tricks to free up storage space before upgrading your iPhone, whether you’re waiting for the latest model or not.

The biggest iPhone storage problem

When dealing with iPhone storage problems, remember these words: photos and videos. That’s what clogs your memory. It’s not just the photos and clips you’ve saved in the photos app on your device. You’ve probably also shared countless photos and videos on messaging apps, such as iMessage and WhatsApp. They take up a lot of space in addition to all the photos and videos you have stored in the Photos app.

Other apps can also take up a lot of storage space, especially if you have games on your iPhone. But in the Photos app, you need to start cleaning up.

It may sound tedious, but it’s actually quite easy to do once you get the hang of it. Before deleting photos and videos, make sure to backup iPhone to save everything. That way you don’t lose anything. You can back up iPhone via iCloud or locally to a Mac or Windows.

You’ll need to sync your photos with the Mac’s Photos app if you go the Mac route.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro notch
Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro on a table. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

What to delete first from the Photos app

But you don’t need backups to free up iPhone storage. Instead of scrolling through your Photos app looking for large files, tap the albums menu. Scroll to the Media types section, which automatically categorizes file types on iPhone.

You want to tap the Videos menu first. Clips take up a lot of storage space, especially long videos that you may have recorded a long time ago. You probably don’t need all those videos.

Next, you want to search for Live photos and Panoramas, which can also take up more storage space. If you take a lot Eruption photos and Played slowly videos, which will also take up quite a bit of storage space.

Screenshots could be another folder in your Photos app that fills up quickly. You want to delete most of them because you probably don’t need them. Screenshots usually have a short lifespan, but we don’t delete them after use.

As regards RAW photos, these will eat a lot of storage. If you shoot RAW, you already have a decent amount of storage space on your relatively new iPhone. But even then you have to clean up.

The Media Types section in the Album menu of Photos can help you free up iPhone storage space easily.
The Media Types section in the Album menu of Photos can help you free up iPhone storage space easily. Image source: Chris Smith, BGR

Get help to speed up iPhone storage cleanup

The really tedious work involves deleting individual photos from the past. But even there you can start with multiple images of the same subject that you may have created for a specific purpose. Just tap the Select button to choose the photos you don’t need as you scroll through the photos.

Keep choosing images until you get to the other side of the library. Press Waste icon to remove everything from the app.

There’s one more thing to do here. Go to the Recently deleted folder and tap it Select options, but don’t select anything. Just search for the clear all options that appear at the bottom of the screen. That’s all you need to do to delete all those photos and videos you no longer need. If you do not perform this last task, the deleted items will remain in storage for another 30 days.

If all that manual work sounds tedious and tedious, consider getting an app for that. Other way around recommends Cleanup, an app that might come in handy. It detects duplicates and similar photos and helps you remove them.

Folder with deleted photos on iPhone.
Folder with deleted photos on iPhone. Image source: Apple

Don’t forget the chat apps

Now go to your chat apps and think about the conversations where you share photos, videos, and other storage-hungry content. It is likely that your favorite contacts send you the same amount of media. You want to manually delete items from those conversations to free up additional iPhone storage.

Once you’re done with these photo and video chores, take a look at the apps that take up a lot of storage that you may not need. You should know this by now, but go do it Institutions, Generaland iPhone storage will tell you exactly how much storage space you have left and what your data is consuming. There you will also find app sizes and you can decide what to delete.

These tips apply to any iOS device, be it a very old iPhone 6s or the latest iPhone 14 Pro Max. Even if you don’t run into any iPhone storage issues this Christmas, you should still consider cleaning up the handset once in a while. The less clutter, the easier it is to backup and transfer to a new device.