Data capacity often seems plentiful when purchasing a new smartphone or tablet computer, yet these devices can exhaust storage. Here are options for freeing needed data and storage on your iPhone or iPad.


Begin by reviewing installed applications. If there are programs or apps you don’t need or use, remove them.

Movies, TV shows, and music videos

iTunes movies, TV shows, and music videos can also quickly consume space. Removing selections you no longer need, such as the children’s movie you downloaded three months ago to help entertain a child on a cross-country flight, can free significant storage quickly.

Remove movies, TV show seasons, and music videos by opening Videos, selecting Movies, TV Shows or Music Videos from the bottom menu, tapping the Edit button, selecting the X and tapping the Delete button to confirm you wish to delete the item (sometimes you need to use the swipe left gesture to remove music videos). Individual TV shows can be removed by finding the specific episode you wish to remove, and swiping it to the left, and tapping Delete.


Podcasts can consume space, too. Unsubscribe from Podcasts by opening the app, locating the podcast, and swiping to the left to reveal the Delete option. Individual episodes can be removed by swiping them to the left and tapping Delete.

SEE: Cloud Data Storage Policy (Tech Pro Research)

Books and audiobooks

Don’t forget to manage books and audiobooks, too, especially if you read or listen often, such as while commuting. I’ve found audiobooks in particular collect on my iPhone and can quickly consume a few gigabytes of space, even though I finished listening to them.

I remove my audiobooks from within the Audible app (whose Great Courses selections are particularly compelling) by swiping them to the left and confirming I wish to delete the material from my phone. If you use Apple’s iBooks app, you can open the program, tap Select, highlight the books you wish to delete by tapping them, tap Delete, and select Delete This Copy.

Photos and videos

Photos and videos are increasingly being stored in the cloud and are often space-consuming culprits. Depending upon your phone’s configuration and the manner in which you store images and videos, spending time removing unneeded, similar, or duplicate photos and videos could free much needed space quickly.

You can access photos and videos from within both the Photos and Camera apps. Apple provides a quick tutorial on its site for removing these files from iCloud storage and from within the Camera Roll. The process Apple recommends is to open Photos, tap Albums, tap Camera Roll, tap Select, tap the photos and videos you wish to delete, tap the trash can icon, and then confirm you wish to delete the selected items. Deleted photos and videos are present within the Recently Deleted album, from which you can repeat the process to remove them from the account.


If you’ve created and stored movies and video projects in iMovie, or downloaded movies from iCloud or iTunes in iMovie, you can delete them if you no longer need them on your iPhone or iPad.

You can delete unneeded iMovie projects by opening iMovie, selecting Projects, selecting the project you wish to delete, tapping the trash can icon, and confirming you wish to delete the project by tapping the Delete Project button that appears.

Storage & iCloud Usage

Apple also provides the Storage & iCloud Usage menu in iOS. Go to Settings, select General, and tap Storage & iCloud Usage to access a range of storage and iCloud statistics to determine which apps are consuming how much space and manage both local storage (by tapping Manage Storage within the Storage section) and iCloud space (by tapping Manage Storage within the iCloud section).

While the Manage Storage option for local storage enables deleting respective apps, the iCloud Manage Storage option enables digging deeper within each iCloud element and deleting individual files by swiping the selection to the left and selecting Delete. The iCloud menu also lists your iCloud plan’s total storage allocation and the amount of space available. If additional space is required, you can tap Manage Storage and tap Change Storage Plan to upgrade.