If you can afford it, we recommend buying an iPhone with maximum storage capacity. But if you can’t pony up the cash or frequently find yourself running out space anyway, there’s still hope. Here are some fresh new tricks that will help you regain some of your precious iPhone storage.
In the past, we’ve covered some of the easiest ways to clear up your iPhone’s storage. So before you try any of these new tricks, you might want to try some of those older ones, like deleting duplicate photos and screenshots, backing up photos and videos in the cloud using services like Google Photos, or using this strange iTunes rental hack. If those methods don’t work, you can try some of these:
1. Shoot in High Efficiency
If you’re on an iPhone 7 or newer with iOS 11 installed, Apple has a new “High Efficiency” compression format that saves photos in HEIF (High Efficiency Image Format) instead of JPEG and videos in HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) instead of H.264 (.mov).
Apple says that you’ll be able to store twice as many photos in HEIF compared to JPEG. In some tests, HEIF photos clocked in at up to 80 percent smaller file sizes.
High Efficiency formats are enabled by default on iOS 11, but if you’re not sure if it is or if you’ve accidentally turned it off, go to Settings > Camera > Formats > and select “High Efficiency” instead of “Most Compatible”.
There is one caveat to High Efficiency formatting: They’re not supported by all devices. You will need to convert them to JPEG and H.264 formats if you want to view and share them on other devices. Thankfully, there are apps and online conversion tools built specifically for that.
2. Delete photos and videos in Messages
Do you send a lot of photos or videos in Messages? Well, guess what? They’re hogging up precious storage on your phone, most likely as duplicates that you already have saved in your Photos app.
You’ll have to manually go into each conversation and then long-press on the photo or video. Tap “More…” on the menu box window that pops up, select each photo (you may have to scroll up a lot to get to all the older ones), and then tap the trash can icon in the lower left. Click “Delete Message” to confirm and, boom, they’re gone.
If you’re on iOS 11, there’s an easier method to clear these attachments that doesn’t require so much manual work. Just go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage and scroll down “Review Large Attachments” and tap it. Now, you’ll get a whole list of all the attachments you sent in Messages. Tap “Edit” and select all the ones you want to trash and you’re good to go.
And if you’re on an iPhone X and have sent a lot of Animoji, you may as well delete the ones you don’t need as well. They’re sent and saved as video files, and you definitely don’t want a bunch of this crap clogging up your phone storage.
3. Set messages to automatically delete
The best thing about Snapchat is that every message you send on it automatically deletes itself after it’s opened, never wasting any of your local storage. That’s not the same for Messages, unless you set them to expire.
While they won’t disappear immediately, you can set expiration time for messages where they’re automatically cleared every 30 days or every year. Just go to Settings > Messages and down under “Message History” tap on “Keep Messages” and set the time you want.
But why stop at having texts automatically deleted? Do the same for Audio Messages, which is also within the Messages settings page. Set the expiration on Audio Messages to two minutes instead of never.
4. Offload unused apps
In iOS 11, there’s another handy storage-saving feature called “Offload Unused Apps”. Head into Settings > General > iPhone Storage and then click “Enable” under the feature.
Once it’s flipped on, your iPhone will automatically delete unused apps when the storage is low. So games that you may not play often or apps that you almost never use will be removed. The data stored in the apps will still remain intact, and if you choose to download these auto-deleted apps again, they’ll restore back to their previous state as if they were never gone.
5. Delete cached app data
Some apps like Twitter cache a lot of data in order to load quicker. But all this caching can use up a good chunk of space.
Take the Twitter app, it stores a bunch of stuff — photos, GIFs and Vines — in its “Media storage” section. Dump these files, and you could regain some serious storage.
For Twitter, make sure you’re on the latest version of the app, and then tap your profile icon. Tap on “Settings and privacy” and then “Data usage”. Then, tap “Media storage” and “Clear media storage.” Do the same for the “Web storage” setting if it’s also showing heaviness.
We’ve seen up to 1GB of storage cleared with this trick.
Check your apps to see if there’s a similar setting, and clear, clear, clear!