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Need to Clear Space on an iPhone or iPad? Here’s How to Do It in iOS 12

How to clear the clutter from your iOS device

Running out of space on your iOS device is a lot like getting older.  You don’t see it coming until you wake up one morning and take a good look at that reflection staring back at you.  

In life, “not enough storage” means join a gym.  Or eat more fruits and vegetables.  But on your iPhone® or iPad®, it means it’s time to lighten the load, free up space and make room for more data.

When your device starts to nag you about managing your storage, there are simple steps to take to solve the problem.  And now with the emergence of iOS 12, Apple® has significantly improved the options for clearing unnecessary data from your device.

Here are some highly effective tools for clearing space and resuming your mobile life, uninterrupted.

Storage Graph

Start with Settings > iPhone/iPad Storage.  At the top of the screen, a graph will reveal the source(s) of your space hogs — such as Apps, Photos, Media, Messages, Mail, Books, iCloud Drive® and the mysterious Other.  You can’t manipulate the graph, but it will reveal the main culprits.


Next, iOS shows recommendations for quick ways to recover space. These vary based on how you use your device, so you will likely see other options here.  There is a range of solution possibilities.

Offload Unused Apps. This choice is particularly helpful if you download a lot of apps that you later stop using.  Enable it, and iOS automatically recovers space from unused apps when you’re low on storage.  Each of these apps remains on your Home screen with a little cloud icon next to it, and when you next tap the app to open it, iOS re-downloads the app from the App Store®.  You won’t lose any documents, data or settings associated with an offloaded app.

Review Downloaded Videos.  Some apps, like Netflix, can download videos for offline watching.  That’s great for when you’re on a long flight, but if you forget to delete the videos, they can consume a lot of space.  This option displays those videos and lets you swipe left to delete some or all of them.

Review Large Attachments.  Photos, videos and other files sent to you in Messages can take up a lot of space.  This recommendation reveals them and lets you swipe left to delete those you don’t want or need to keep.

Recently Deleted Album. When you delete photos in Photos, they go into the Recently Deleted album, where they’ll automatically be deleted after up to 40 days.  Now, if you choose, you can remove those images right away.

Review Personal Videos. Shooting videos with your iPhone or iPad can guzzle storage.  This recommendation displays the videos you’ve taken and offers the option to delete them.

So now you’ve executed some of these tips, and you feel … better.  But if you need to dig even deeper to declutter, let’s look at the usage of your individual apps.

Individual App Usage

The third and final section of the iPhone/iPad Storage screen lists every app on your device, sorted by how much space that app takes up.  But it also helpfully tells you the last time you used the app — if ever!

When you tap an app, iOS shows more information about how much space the app and its documents occupy, and lets you tap Offload App or Delete App to recover that space.  For some apps — mostly those from Apple like Music and Podcasts — iOS also shows the data stored by the app and lets you delete any individual item by swiping left.

Focus on the apps at the top of the list — they are sorted by size — to make it easier to realize, for instance, that you’ve never used GarageBand® and its 1.59 GB of “wasted” space.  

It’s alarming how quickly storage disappears on your iPhone or iPad.  But with these iOS tools and CranstonIT’s suggestions, you should have no trouble making space on your device for the photos, videos and apps that you actually need or want to use.  

Did you also know that deleting junk files and clearing the cache and memory are great ways to give your iOS device a boost in speed and overall performance?  For more spring cleaning details, reach out to CranstonIT at 888.813.5558 or email us at support@cranstoninc.com