Running Out of Space? Top Tips to Improve iPhone Storage

I can remember the days where 16GB on a phone was more than enough to save photos, videos, apps and music. To be honest those days weren’t that long ago either, we are talking within the last couple of years. The big issue we face now as mobile phone owners is that with the ever-increasing advancements in technology such as HD video, camera quality and apps, there comes a need for larger storage devices because the end result from recording an HD video or taking an HD photo is huge file sizes.

Improve iPhone Storage

Heck, even operating systems are running up to the 5GB mark which instantly takes up over 30% of iPhone storage space on a 16GB phone.

Sometimes though you don’t necessarily want to upgrade your phone and pay hundreds of pounds to get a bigger storage capacity phone, and with iPhones in particular there are no expandable memory slots that can enable you to buy a separate SD card.

So what’s the alternative? How can we free up some space on our phones and clean it up in the process? Lucky for you the iMend boffins have been busy finding ways to free up and improve iPhone storage space and have compiled our top 8 hit list of things you can take action on right now.

Storage Space Tip #1

Photo Streams: Don’t Join Them

Most of you will know that you can create and share specific photo streams with your friends and family, whether it’s Birthday celebrations that you want to share with your relatives or special events you want to share with friends – the photo stream sharing feature is a great way to do this.

The issue is that it can also take up a lot of space on your phone, even if you join someone else’s stream. Before you know it you could lose a couple of GB depending on how many photos are in the stream you are joining.

Improve iPhone Storage: Photos

The Fix: Head into the setting application of your phone and turn off the Photo Sharing option under Photos & Camera. This will make a massive difference to iPhone storage space if you are a frequent user of this feature.

Storage Space Tip #2

Be Careful of HD Photos

Remember I was telling you at the start that HD photos can take up a lot of space? Well there are two things you need to know here. The first is HD photos are better quality than normal photos so the size is going to be much larger. If you have a slow phone or limited storage and aren’t fussed about the HD quality of a photo then go for the standard photo.

Secondly, if you want HD photos then make sure that you are deleting the original standard photo, because you will end up with two different versions of the same photo and waste needless space.

Improve iPhone Storage: Selfies

The Fix: To delete the normal photo just head into the settings app then select Photos & Camera and deselect Keep Normal Photo.

Storage Space Tip #3

Backup Photos to Dropbox

There are a couple of services available like Dropbox where you can install the official app and then have every photo that you take automatically backup to your Dropbox account. If you haven’t got a Dropbox account you can use a Gallery to Google Drive app in just the same way, as well as Photo Stream and iCloud.

Basically, backing up your photos to one of these cloud servers means that you can get rid of them off your phone to free up a lot of space.

Improve iPhone Storage: Dropbox

The Fix: Download the Dropbox app, sign up for an account and turn on the Camera Upload option to instantly upload any photo you take to the cloud.

Storage Space Tip #4

iBooks Can be Greedy

If you love to read books on your iPhone or iPad then you will know how much space these books can take up on your device. With everything readily available in the cloud once you have read a book there is no need to keep it on your device. It won’t be lost forever though, as you can download it anytime you wish and begin reading it again.

One sneaky little space-hogging feature is the option of automatically downloading iBooks when you purchase them on any other device.

Improve iPhone Storage: eBooks

The Fix: Open the Settings app and locate the iTunes & App Store section, in here you can stop Automatic Downloads of iBooks.

Storage Space Tip #5

Clean up Documents, Data, and your Cache

Whether it’s general documents or data, it’s hard to tell what really is taking up space on your device. The good thing with iPhones is that there is a new section that will tell you what is taking up the most space.

A lot of documents that you download tend to get overlooked once you have opened them, and over time the amount of files in the likes of your download or Bluetooth folder just keep growing. So go through these and delete them off your device if you no longer need them.

You can also clear your Safari cache and history to save a bit of space.

iPhone Storage: Downloads

The Fix: Head into your Settings app then go into General then Usage and finally under the Manage Storage section you will be able to click on the arrow beside the apps listed there. This will tell you how much each app is using and gives you an idea of whether it’s worth keeping on your phone or not.

Some of these apps could also be moved to the cloud to save storage space.

If the likes of 4oD or iPlayer are present on your phone then make sure you clean up the data on these apps by deleting any downloading programs that you have already watched. These can be deleted inside the apps themselves.

Storage Space Tip #6

Remove Old or Unused Apps

Moving directly on from point #5 we come to actually deleting apps that you don’t need or apps that are taking up too many resources on your device. Go through all the apps you have downloaded and show no mercy! Apps that you haven’t used for ages, apps that have only been used once and apps that are clogging up your memory must go.

You will find that a thorough clean out could save you as much as 500MB – 1GB of space on your phone depending on how much of an app hoarder you are! Some apps can’t be deleted as these are pre-installed by Apple and sold with the iPhone.

Improve iPhone Storage: Apps

The Fix: Deleting an app on iPhones is easy, just press down on the app icon until it starts to shake. During this stage you will see a small ‘x’ appear in the top right corner of the app, press this and the app will then uninstall from your device.

Storage Space Tip #7

Set Your Messages to Expire Automatically

Since iOS 8 came onto the scene, so did a new feature where you can automatically delete older messages. Note that this isn’t for the type who reminisce on past messages so don’t do this if that sounds like you. In that case you can simply delete messages as and when.

Improve iPhone Storage: Text Messages

The Fix: Head into the Settings app, then head to the Messages sections. Under Keep Message, you can select the options that best suit you from 30 days up to 1 year. The shorter the time, the better for storage.

Storage Space Tip #8

Stream Music Instead of Saving it

Remember the days of saving MP3s on your phone? Each one would weigh in at an average of about 3MB and before you knew it 2-3GB of phone storage had been swallowed up by music files. Well those days are in the past – thanks to streaming services like Spotify you can listen to music streamed through your phone’s WiFi or 3G/4G connection without the need to store it on your phone.

Improve iPhone Storage: Music

The Fix: Remove all your MP3s from your phone and start using iTunes or Spotify. You can either use the free version or upgrade to a paid plan that costs £9.99 per month.

In Summary

If you are still struggling for space after following these 8 top tips then it may be time for an upgrade to a higher capacity phone that will be better suited to the kinds of data usage you would need. You can use our sister site to trade in your current phone in order to cushion the cost of a new upgraded phone.