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10 Clever Tips To Free Up Storage on Your Smartphone

You spring-cleaned your closet, now purge those unused photos, apps, and data.

Let-go-of-old-textsJillian Moffa/RD.com

Let go of old text messages

Are you keeping a string of texts about driving soccer carpool or obsessing over that last email fight with your ex? Are you hanging on to a message from a number you don't recognize because you think you'll eventually recall who it was from? It's time to apply some common closet-cleaning principles and dump those text messages if you haven't read them...in 30 days. Not only are they sucking up precious storage space, they're sucking your energy too, whether you're aware of it or not. And zapping them is easy peasy: Open up Settings and tap Messages. Scroll down until you find Message History and choose how long to Keep Messages. You'll also have the option to delete older messages here. If you're feeling the need to hang on to that one text from your ex, you may want to keep them for a year. But think about how great it will feel to simply let them all go! Try these tricks to use less cell phone data and lower your monthly bill.

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Let iCloud optimize storage

Another way to clean up storage space on your device is to store only your latest images and video and leave the rest up in the clouds—iCloud that is. Don't worry; your photos will be available when you need them, but without taking up valuable storage space on your phone. Here's how: After connecting to Wi-Fi, enable iCloud Photo Library. Then in Settings tap Photos & Camera. Then select Optimize iPhone Storage. Once you do so, iCloud will automatically remove full-resolution versions of older images from your device, retaining only the most recent images. The removed images and video aren't gone, they're in the cloud at full resolution and can be downloaded at anytime.

Tune-OutJillian Moffa/RD.com

Sometimes you need to tune out

Now let's take a look at your tunes. No matter how much you love Beyoncé, keeping all her albums on your phone eats up a ton of space. Instead, make special playlists to upload for those 5-mile runs or long road trips. Bonus: You can easily delete them when you'd like stop the feeling' after hearing Justin Timberlake's song for the umpteenth time. Here's how to set things up: Go to Settings then General. Tap on Storage and then scroll to iCloud Usage. Finally, go to Manage Storage and find Apple Music on the list. You can swipe to delete individual songs or you can swipe on All Songs at the top to delete all. Downloading new tunes? If iCloud is on, your songs will back up to all your devices. Here's how you can turn off all of those annoying phone notifications.

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Trash your phone history

Another storage hog is your browsing history. History and data may come in handy when you want to revisit a site you looked at yesterday, but realistically, how often does that happen. Well, that info is taking up storage space and the history won't disappear unless you tell it to. Here's how to clear the browser cache: Open up the Settings app and tap Safari. Scroll down and click Clear History and Website Data. If you use Chrome instead of Safari, open up the Chrome app and tap the triple-dot button in the top right. Next, tap History and at the bottom of the screen tap Clear Browsing Data. Done and done! Now, check out these other things that may be slowing down your computer.

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Delete downloaded podcasts

How many podcasts are worth a second listen? Well, maybe those like the intense series Serial, where you may feel compelled to research important facts from a true murder trial. But most podcasts aren't so attention-grabbing that you need a second round. Delete podcast from you phone and you'll free up a good deal of space. Like music, podcasts stick around until you delete them. Here's how to eliminate old podcasts: Click on Settings and go to General. Scroll down to Storage & iCloud Usage and then hit Manage Storage and tap on Podcasts. There's no select all option for deletion, so you'll need to delete each one separately.

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Nix those apps that you don't use regularly


That Disney app was awesome in helping you find your way around that Magic Kingdom, but now that you're back home in New Jersey, it's time to delete it. And how about that fitness app that failed to keep you fit? Chuck it, too. There's no benefit to keeping apps on your phone that you're not utilizing, because you can always get them again if you change your mind. Ditching apps will open up a ton of storage on your phone and keep your phone's battery from draining so quickly. Here's how to clean out your apps: From the home screen, find an app you no longer use, tap the icon and hold until it (and all the other icons too) start "shaking." This means you're in edit mode. Now, tap the X in the left corner of every app you wish to delete. Boom!—they're gone. Edit mode also allows you to drag app icons into new positions on the screen, so you can move the ones you use most up front.

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Get a program that does the work for you


When you've got a big cleanup job, iMobie's PhotoClean can be used to remove junk files from iOS. Quick Clean in PhoneClean 5 knows exactly which files are useless and how to cut them out safely. It's similar to deleting temp files from failed or unexpectedly terminated iTunes syncs or downloads that generated temporary or corrupt media files. Another cleaning program to try is iMyFone Umate for Mac and Windows, which can also be used to quickly and easily remove temporary and junk files from your iOS device. The program performs photo compression, cleans up junk files and manages apps. It will show you at a glance how much iPhone space each app takes up, so you can decide to keep or purge. Deleting apps may make you feel more organized, plus it gives you room to try some new apps that can actually help you organize.

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Try Cnet's Magic Trick

If you've got an iPhone 5 or 6 with only 16 MB of storage, you're probably hurting for space. Cnet has revealed a nifty hack that "tricks" your iPhone into allotting you more storage space. Here's how you do it: Go to Settings and tap General and About, and note how much storage space is available on your phone. Now, open the iTunes Store app and head to movies. find any old movie that requires more space to download than you actually have available on your phone. Now, tap the Rent button twice. Don't worry; you won't actually end up downloading it, and therefore won't be charged. You'll see a message that there's not enough space available to download your rental. Now, tap Settings, then return to General and About and you should see a couple a hundred MB worth of additional available storage has suddenly become available to you! Repeat the steps to accumulate even more. According to Cnet, each time you do this it frees up more space. Cnet reports they tested the trick on an iPhone 5c that had just 4GB of available space and boosted it up to 4.4GB! Try these easy tricks to extend that battery life of your smartphone.

ditch-photo-streamJillian Moffa/RD.com

Ditch that photo stream


Photos in your photo stream that are uploaded to your device at a much lower resolution are still taking up space. Because most of these photos are duplicates of what's already on your device, consider turning off photo stream. Here's how: Open the Settings app and go to Photos & Camera, then turn off Upload to My Photo Stream. The photos in your Photo Stream will be deleted from your iPhone, but they'll remain on other devices for which you have Photo Stream turned on, such as your iPad or computer. They'll also remain on your iCloud account for 30 days from the date they were uploaded. Unfortunately, once Photo Stream is turned off it means that your iPhone photos won't be instantly uploaded to your Photo Stream on your other devices. But you can always turn it back on again after your storage need has passed—and the files will automatically re-sync.

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Double the trouble

Here's another hot tip from Cnet: If you use your iPhone's HDR mode, you're automatically saving two photos—the HDR version and the normal version. In fact, the caption under Keep Normal photo on your iPhone reads "HDR blends the best of parts of three separate exposures into a single photo. Save the normally exposed photo in addition to the HDR version." If you're short on storage space for taking new photos, you might want to shut down this double saving feature. Here's how you do it: Go to Settings and scroll to Photos & Camera. At the bottom, turn off Keep Normal Photo. If you have an iPhone 7 Plus, you'll see a similar toggle for Portrait mode that you can also disable. Finally, did you know that the deleted photos in your Photos app are still taking up space? To get rid of them permanently, open Recently Deleted album in Photos and select the photos you want to wipe out. Next, read up on these hidden iPhone hacks you never knew about.