Free Up Apple iCloud Storage

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Free Up Apple iCloud Storage

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Make Room On Apple iCloud for Backups You Really Need

If you’re like me, you take a lot of images with your iPhone and you’re using up a good amount of iCloud storage with those photos on your phone. In a previous post I talked about the best way to transfer iPhone photos to your computer and in another post I covered the best apps for printing photos directly from your phone. Despite these tips, you may want to keep many photos on your phone so that you can easily view and share them. If so, it’s likely that you are using a decent chunk of iCloud storage and if you haven’t received the “iCloud is full” message yet, you soon will. So how do you free up Apple iCloud storage?

Make Backup Decisions

First, decide what you really need to backup to iCloud. You receive 5 GB of iCloud storage for free. Anything beyond that requires you to upgrade your iCloud storage and pay a fee. As of this post, storage fees cost between $0.99/month (for 50 GB) and $9.99/month (for 1 TB). Fortunately, you probably don’t need most of your data backed up or you can choose to back up items in a more cost effective manner. By default, iCloud backs up just about everything on your iPhone including contacts, calendars, notes, email, settings, app store content, and photos.

If you’re using clients like Google or Microsoft Outlook for email and/or calendars you do not need iCloud to back up this information — Google already archives and hosts your emails, for example. And while it’s convenient to have iCloud back up your settings, these are often small adjustments that you can quickly and easily make on any new device so not necessarily a requirement. Finally, there are other, more cost efficient apps for storing photos such as Dropbox and Amazon Cloud.

So what do you really need to back up? Think critically about it and adjust your settings. To do so, go to Settings > iCloud. You can turn on and off backups for major applications right there. You can also proceed to Storage > Manage Storage to see which pieces of data are drawing the most storage and make adjustment decisions that way.

Delete Outdated Devices

If you have had or currently have multiple Apple products you may be storing outdate backup data. Check underneath Storage > Manage Storage > Backups. If there are devices you no longer use or do not need backups for, tap on the device and select Delete Backup.

Backup to Your Computer Instead of iCloud

Next time your iPhone plugs into your computer, go to iTunes > Backups and select “This Computer” instead of iCloud for automatic backups. That will help you maintain your data without sucking down iCloud space.

Seriously, Back Up Photos Somewhere Else

I know you love your photos. I adore my photos. They don’t need to ALL be on your iPhone, though. In fact, you can access photos from cloud services like Amazon Cloud and Dropbox just as quickly as accessing them in your Camera Roll. You can also upload and download them to and from your phone at the drop of a hat. For my needs, these other cloud services are also cheaper than extra iCloud storage.

What other ways tips or tricks have you used to free up iCloud storage? 

About the Author
Kylie Larson is a content wrangler, helping both small businesses and large organizations get their message up and out. When she's not writing and organizing online, you'll find her walking the dog, with a camera in hand, riding the Chicago blue line, and in the midst of a home renovation project that never ends. Connect with her at

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