Owning an iPhone has a certain prestige and all, but it still has its limitations. One is the constricted capacity of the smartphone’s memory. iPhone users just seem to keep running out of space! And getting that “There is not enough available storage to take the photo” message can be incredibly annoying, and constantly deleting your favourite apps is exasperating. Whether the culprit is apps, music, photos and videos, or games, the lack of space seems inevitable. And you can't even manually increase an iPhone's storage.
Although upgrading the internal storage is impossible without buying a new iPhone, one can extend the phone’s capacity with external storage accessories, granting, you might have to spend a little moola to get more out of them. Alongside tips and tricks to help you free up some space, we’ve gathered up the best ways to help you make the most out of your iPhone’s memory. Plus, we've added a little-known secret just for you!
Tip #1. Diagnose Your Phone First
Say you buy a 16Gb iPhone. What you need to know is that the smartphone may only have 12Gb of usable space, since the operating system uses about 8Gb. To assess where your 12Gb is being used, go to ‘Settings > General > ‘Storage & iCloud Usage > Manage Storage > Storage Settings’. Here you will see a ranked list of the biggest and least space offenders (note: this could also be done on your computer or laptop if you connect your phone to iTunes). Most of the time, it’s not the app that’s taking up space, but rather the data you place in it.
Tip 2. Stop storing your iMessages.
A default feature of the Phone is that text messages are stored on your phone forever and can take up a lot of space especially if you send and receive countless photos, gifs, and videos.
Open ‘Settings > Messages > Message History > Keep Messages’ and change ‘Forever’ to ‘30 Days’. You might also want to delete older messages.
This method saves you time and the effort of deleting your conversations one by one. If you're the avid texter, this tip can purge you of old unwanted messages and save you a substantial amount of space.
Tip #3. Don't double-save photos and delete unwanted pictures.
If you like taking crisp photos, then the camera’s HDR mode (that's High Dynamic Range) is for you. But the catch is, you’re going to have to save the original photo as well. The same applies to the new Portrait mode on the iPhone 7 Plus which blurs the background to give you that SLR camera effect. Same goes for Instagram: right after you post your edited photo, the non-HDR version of the image is simultaneously saved on your Camera Roll as well.
If you want to keep HDR images only, go to ‘Settings > Photos & Cameras' and toggle the ‘Keep Normal Photo' switch to OFF. You can also change the Portrait mode problem here. For Instagram, open the app. Under Settings, untick ‘Save Original Photos’.
Tip #4. The Cloud and the Stream, stop it or use it?
A lot of iPhone users don't know how the iCloud and the Photo Stream feature functions. Here's how they work: the stream can save up to 1000 images from your Camera Roll, compressing them to a lower quality at the same time. The images can be stored there for up to 30 days before being wiped clean. The upside is you can access these photos with all devices under your account. The downside is that this is limited to images, so say goodbye to your videos, gifs, and other image formats. The cloud, however, enables you to store all types of data, from images to videos, jpg, raw, png, etc., for as long as there is space on your iCloud account (5Gb is free, $0.99 monthly for extra 50Gb, and $9.99 for 1Tb of space).
To access these options, go to ‘Settings > Photos' and toggle ‘My Photo Stream' and ‘iCloud Photo Sharing' on or off.
Whether you use either the cloud or the stream is entirely up to you, depending on your photo usage. But if you don't want to use either of these, there are other external options for you to utilise. Google Photos offers 15Gb of free storage, while the ShoeBox and IceCream apps allow free storage but of course, there is the question of privacy.
Tip #5. Clear your cache, browsing history, and cookies.
Since the advancements in technology, browsing the internet has become more convenient. But convenience goes hand in hand with frequency. Prolonged and frequent use of internet browsers often takes up unnecessary bytes unbeknownst to its users. These take the form of browsing histories, cookies, and pointlessly cached images and files.
To clear Safari's web data, open ‘Settings > Safari ', and simply scroll down then click ‘Clear History and Website Data'. For Google Chrome, open the app and then tap the button with three dots (Settings). Tap ‘Clear Browsing Data’ under History.
Tip #6. Delete downloaded music.
If you’re one of those people who have a specific playlist to match every mood and every chore in your day, then you might want to double check how much space your tracks are eating up. Music can be downloaded via iTunes and then sent and stored in Apple Music. Deleting songs stored here is a reasonably simple task. From ‘Manage Storage', find ‘Apple Music' on the list and tap it. You can delete individual songs or all of them at once. Connect your phone to your iTunes account and back-up your songs on your laptop.
Spotify is another alternative for playing or streaming music. If you've accidentally downloaded songs or whole playlists, it will take up a lot of space. Open up the Spotify App, tap on ‘Your Library', then under ‘Songs', toggle the ‘Download' option Off, and proceed to delete or remove the downloaded ones to get up to 1Gb free space!
Tip #7. Delete and Reinstall Apps to free up storage.
One of the more apparent space-hoggers is apps. Whether the apps you frequently use or even the least ones you visit, these take up a considerably large part of your phone's storage, especially when updating them adds more byte usage. Delete those travel and cooking apps that you only used once and efficiently free-up space for up to 500Mb. Don't worry about apps that you paid for. They can be easily downloaded again for future use when needed.
Since the release of iOS 10, other built-in apps can also be deleted like Podcasts, Facetime, Watch, Weather, Stocks, etc., but your iOS doesn't remove them. It just safely tucks them away somewhere you can quickly pull them back from when needed. Doing this helps make a bit of free space available for you.
Tip #8. The ‘’Movie Rental’’ glitch!
We saved the best for last. We discovered this tip from iPhone user forums from users who have the same space problem. This only works when your phone is almost at its full capacity. First, take note of how much space you have left. Then open the iTunes App Store. Look for a movie that would take up a significant amount of memory (we suggest Star Wars or Lord of the Rings) and rent it. Don't worry; you won't be charged because a prompt will pop up and say your phone doesn't have the required memory to play the movie anyway. Now check your phone's memory and behold the magic. Up to 500Mb of space has been freed, more if you do it more than once! But how?
We're not sure how this method works, but some people speculate that the operating system erases your phone's cache and other useless data on the ‘Others' tab. The great thing about this method is that your phone does not need to be jail-broken nor does it nullify the warranty.
Now go and free up some space, get that popular app, take more photos and videos, listen to more songs. Just take note of these tips, and even a 16Gb iPhone's memory can be maximised and used to its full potential!