One of the most common questions I get asked about iPads and iPhone is how do I free up some space?   Until recently most of the base model iOS devices (the operating system that runs iPhones/iPads) came with 16GB of storage.  As the installation of iOS itself was growing it was nearly taking up 10GB alone, which doesn’t leave much space for your apps and data.

So here are a few space saving tips that’ll help you reclaim some of that space!

Let’s start by taking a look at what’s using up the space.   If you go into settings -> general -> iPad/iPhone Storage you’ll be presented with a chart showing you what’s using up all the space.   It’ll also show you how much is available.   Below the chart it’ll list all of your apps – along with how much space they each use.   This is useful for finding old apps that you might not use any more that are using large amounts of space.   With each app it’ll show you when you last used it – a good way of weeding out old apps that could be removed.

On this settings page is also an option called “Offload Unused Apps”.   If you enable this, it will automatically remove apps that you haven’t used for a while.  Don’t worry – you can still get them back, but they’ll have to be downloaded again to be able to run.  Bear in mind that if you’re on a cellular connection and you need to run an “offloaded” app, it could use quite a bit of data.

The next biggest use of storage is photos/videos.   There’s a new option that reduces this drastically.   As with the previous option to “offload apps”, there’s a similar option when it comes to photos.   Take a look under settings -> Photos.  Under here you’ll find an option to “Optimize iPhone/iPad Storage”.  Enable this, and all that will be stored on the device will be small thumbnail previews of each photo/video.  The original large photo will be moved into iCloud (Internet) storage.   From then on, if you tap on a photo to view it, the device will first have to download it from the internet.   This is a pretty good option to use as it doesn’t take long to “re-download” photos one they’re on iCloud.   And there are great savings to be made with storage by taking this approach.

Just be aware that moving your photos into iCloud, you’ll now be using up iCloud storage space.   You get 5GB of free iCloud storage when you create an Apple account, but if you’re uploading lots of photos, you may go over this free allotment.   Don’t worry though, it’s only $1.29 per month to upgrade to 50GB – and there are also family plans for not much more where you can share 200GB between devices!

Another type of data that can use a lot of storage is Music.  You can review this by going into settings -> General > Storage & iCloud Usage > Manage Storage > Music.   Here you’ll be able to see all of the music you have stored on the device.   You can then swipe on each track to delete it from the device (don’t worry – you can download it again for free later if you’ve already purchased it)

Of course the other option would be to upgrade your device.  The latest iPad now comes with double the storage at 32GB which gives you a lot more breathing room!