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10 Hacks to Free Up Space on Your iPhone (Without Deleting Photos!)

Tired of the message, “There is not enough available storage"? Read on.

1 / 10

Trick your phone into making room

Go to iTunes and pick out a big-storage item like an HD movie and hit “Rent.” Don’t worry, you don’t actually have to put money down—before you can pay, a message will show up saying, “There is not enough available storage.” Weirdly enough, you’ll have more storage at this point than when you started, probably because your iPhone tried to clear out data to make more room. Repeat a few times to get even more storage. Just be careful to keep checking how much is available, because if you do have enough storage, you could end up renting a movie you didn’t actually want. Here are iPhone hacks for better battery life.

2 / 10

Clear out old texts

There’s an easier way to get rid of old messages than deleting every individual text or chain. In fact, you can literally get your phone to clean itself up. Go to Settings > Messages > Message History > Keep Messages. The default is to keep them forever, but you can tell your phone to clear out old texts after a year or a month. While you’re at it, make sure you aren’t guilty of these annoying texting habits.

3 / 10

Quit doubling HDR pictures

Your phone’s camera uses a high dynamic range mode to blend three exposures into one photo with top quality. When it does this, it also keeps a version of the picture from a normal exposure. You might want that normal version if your phone is too slow and old to take a decent HDR picture. But with an iPhone 5 or newer, you’ll probably prefer the HDR picture anyway, so no need to waste space on the other. Avoid duplicates by going to Settings > Photos & Camera, and deselect the “Keep Normal Photo” option. Alternatively, you can turn HDR off with the option second to the left when you open your camera. Here’s how to make your smartphone pictures even better.

4 / 10

Turn off Photo Stream

You know that album of 1,000 photos under your camera roll full of duplicates? It’s handy for automatically sharing recent pictures between devices on your account, but it can also take up a ton of memory. Go to Settings > Photos & Camera and turn off My Photo Stream to delete it from your phone. If you end up missing it, it’s easy to switch back on.

5 / 10
iStock/Courtney Keating

Restore your phone

Corrupted files take up more space than they should, but restoring your phone will get rid of those space wasters. When your phone is plugged in to your computer, start by selecting Back Up Now in iTunes so you don’t lose all your data. Then choose Restore iPhone, followed by Restore Backup.

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iStock/Anatolii Babii

Identify space hogs

Find out which apps use the most space by going to Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage, then hitting Manage Storage under the Storage category. The list that shows up will be in order of amount of memory they’re using. Now figure out which ones you’re willing to take off your phone. If you rarely open an app, you might be better off deleting it for now and re-downloading it when you need it. Here are surprising times it’s actually better to text than talk.

7 / 10

Spring clean your apps

If you use an app often but it’s taking up a ridiculous amount of storage, see if there’s anything within it you can delete. Get rid of old podcasts you’ve already listened to, or take off eBooks you won’t read any time soon. If you largely use your iPad for reading, keep the books off your phone. Select Delete This Copy in the app, then going to Settings > iTunes & App Store and stop automatic downloads of iBooks. Speaking of cleaning, you can clean your phone of cookies by learning how to clear cookies on your phone.

8 / 10

Back up your photos

You can cut down on storage space without actually deleting your photos. Cloud storage systems like Google+ and Dropbox will automatically save your snapshots, so you can delete them from your Photos app.

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iStock/Petar Chernaev

Start streaming

Keep your favorite songs and albums in iTunes, but consider switching to a streaming service for everything else. Get a subscription to Spotify, Apple Music, or Google Play for more listening options on hand than you had with your personal music library.

10 / 10

Clear out photo-editing apps

If you use downloaded apps to edit your pictures, you might have old photos hiding there, even if you already saved your favorite to your camera roll. Go through and delete anything you’re not working on anymore. Make your pictures great the first time with these tips on looking more photogenic.


Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest

Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.