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Clean up your iCloud storage and make the most of your free 5 GB

Clean up your cloud storage

Cleaning up your iCloud storage

iCloud storage

Maybe you’ve started to get notifications on your iPhone or iPad that you’re approaching your iCloud storage limit and are running out of storage space.

With your Apple ID you get 5 free GB of iCloud storage across all your Apple devices. We’re going to show you how to make the most of that free space.

We’ll walk you through the basics of iCloud storage management, show you how to wrangle your photos, talk about keeping your backups under control and encourage you to make those hard decisions along the way. What kinds of hard decisions? Well, maybe your beloved Roller Coaster Tycoon Classic game is taking up a bit too much of that precious free storage. Just saying.

Manage storage

Let’s start with the basics. You can manage which apps connect from your device to iCloud by navigating to Settings and selecting your name and Apple ID at the top of the menu.

iCloud storage

Select iCloud and manage what apps you want syncing to the cloud. Just toggle them on or off.

iCloud storage

Wrangle your photos with the iCloud Photo Library

Photos, for most of us, are the biggest monopolizer of storage and data across mobile devices. Apple’s iCloud Photo Library is great because it lets you easily sync and view photos across devices. If you’re using this feature, you’ll want to make sure to optimize your iPhone storage.

Just go to:

Settings > iCloud > Photos and select Optimize iPhone Storage.

iCloud storage
iCloud storage

This replaces full-resolution original photos with storage optimized versions on your device. The originals are kept safely on the cloud.

Unless you’re a pretty picky photo taker you’re going to run down that free 5GB eventually. If, however, you love the convenience of using your iCloud Photo Library and the peace of mind that you always know your memories are safe, it’s may be worth purchasing some of that extra Apple storage. Or, check out Google Photos.

Delete photos and videos

Practice good data hygiene and delete photos you don’t need to use your free space efficiently.

Open a photo on any of your Mac devices. Hit the garbage can icon and then select Delete Photo.

iCloud storage

Delete multiple files in one go by opening the Photos app and tapping Select at the top right corner. Choose the tiles you want to delete and then hit the garbage can a the bottom right.

iCloud storage

You can recover any deleted photos from your Recently Deleted photo album for 30 days

Manage the size of your backups

iCloud only keeps the latest backup for each of your devices. Under manage storage, you can see the old backups of the Apple devices associated with your Apple ID. Open the old backup of your device and select which apps you don’t need backing up.

Go to Settings > your name > iCloud > iCloud Storage > Manage Storage.

iCloud storage

Tap the name of any iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch that’s linked to your account.

Tap Delete Backup > Turn Off & Delete.

iCloud storage

Use it wisely

Decide what you’re going to use your iCloud for. Most of us won’t get everything backed up on 5 GB. Pictures alone are going to run that down pretty quickly. Create a backup system that works for you.