How to Free up Space on Your iPhone

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I recommend backing up your device with both iTunes and iCloud. If you have to pick one, pick iTunes, as it is possible to restore individual files. iCloud is convenient, secure and disaster-proof. If you make an iTunes backup and your hard drive crashes, you’re out of luck. iCloud stores your backup in a secure and reliable data center. It’s best to do both, however, an iTunes backup offers the flexibility of restoring individual files using a third-party application like iPhone Backup Extractor.

Assess the Situation

Before you delete anything, it’s best to find out which apps and content are taking up the most space. Tap on Settings > General > Usage to view how much free space you have on your iPhone. This will also show a list of apps ordered by how much space they take up. It may take a few seconds for this list to populate. You can tap on each individual app to see details. Some apps, such as Music, Videos and Podcasts, will allow you to delete contents directly from this screen, which is covered later in this article.

check available storage space on iPhone

If you have backed up your iPhone, you can safely delete most content. The only exception would be third-party apps that don’t backup documents and settings to iCloud or iTunes. You can view a list of apps that have iCloud backup enabled by tapping Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup > Manage Storage > This iPhone > Show All Apps. Everything that is backed up to iCloud will be switched on.

iCloud backup options

As mentioned, iTunes does a full backup of the device. That’s no guarantee that you can restore documents created by any app on your iPhone. If you are using a music creation app, for example, it may save data in a proprietary format. I have a music creation app that transfers files using a built-in web server. Go through your apps and make sure that any third-party (non-Apple) apps that create documents (word processor, music creation, etc.) are backed up. Even if you aren’t going to delete these apps or their content, it’s a good idea to back up the content.

Delete Unused Apps

Most people have a lot of apps on their iPhone. A lot of these apps are rarely used. You can delete apps and re-install them later. You will always own your apps. One rare exception is if the app is removed by the developer or Apple. Flappy Bird is a perfect example of this. For the most part, deleting the app will remove it from your device, but you can re-install it later, even if the app is not free. (continue…)

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