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Seven ways to free up memory on your iPhone

Lynn Wright / 09 February 2016 ( 28 August 2018 )

With lots of apps, photos and music, it’s easy to run out of storage space on your iPhone. Follow our top tips for freeing up iPhone memory.

Use our tips to free up your iPhone's memory

Unlike Android phones, you can’t extend the storage capacity of Apple’s iPhone by slotting in a memory card. Instead, you’ll need to carefully manage your iPhone’s storage space and make use of services, such as iCloud, to ensure you’re not left squeezed for space on your iPhone. 

Here are our top tips to free up iPhone storage space.

1. Check storage usage

Find out what’s using the most space on your iPhone. Tap 'Settings > General > iPhone Storage' and then tap 'Manage Storage'. You’ll see apps listed by how much storage they use. Tap an app to see more information including its Document and Data size.  

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2. Delete unused apps

Remove apps that you don’t use. Even with apps you use everyday but whose Document and Data size is high, a quick delete and then reinstall will free up space by clearing all saved data. 

To delete an app on your home screen, press and hold its icon until it starts jiggling, then tap the X sign and confirm deletion.

Newer versions of the iPhone will do this automatically for you within the iPhone Storage facility.

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3. Clean out your camera roll

Photos are one of the biggest culprits for hogging storage, so transfer them to your computer or other external storage and then delete them from your iPhone. 

To delete multiple photos at once in the Photo app’s thumbnail view, tap 'Select'. Choose the items to delete; tap the trashcan icon and then tap 'Delete Photos'.

Turning off Photo Stream and not sharing other people’s Photo Streams will save space too. Open 'Settings', tap 'Photos & Camera' and deselect 'My Photo Stream' and 'iCloud Photo Sharing'.

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4. Use iCloud Photo Library

If you want access to all your photos on your iPhone, activate iCloud Photo Library (Settings > Photo & Camera) which uploads all your photos to Apple’s servers. 

You can then configure iCloud Photo Library to show only low-resolution versions on your phone, which take up much less room.

5. Stream your music

Subscribing to a streaming music service frees up lots of memory as there’s no need to store songs on your iPhone. 

If you sign up to Apple’s iTunes Match (£21.99 a year) all the tracks you own, included those copied from CDs – are uploaded to the cloud. You can then download and listen to them on your iPhone whenever you want. 

Other popular music streaming services worth investigating include Spotify and Pandora. 

To delete stored songs in your iPhone’s Music app, swipe a track from right to left, then tap 'Remove'.

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6. Delete old messages

Texts and iMessages can hog storage space so delete old ones that you don’t need to keep. 

To delete an entire conversation in the Messages app swipe from right to left, then tap 'Delete'. Alternatively, delete selected messages by tapping 'More'… and then the trashcan icon.

Newer versions of the iPhone will do this automatically for you within the iPhone Storage facility.

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7. Ditch iBooks

You can claw back storage by deleting iBooks that have been automatically downloaded to your iPhone – say because you’re reading them on your iPad. 

Choose 'Delete This Copy', and then check 'Settings > iTunes & App Store' and stop 'Automatic Downloads of iBooks' when you buy them on other devices.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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