Every time a new update rolls around, you’re sent into a frenzied panic trying to free up precious space on your phone. How do you choose between a new operating system and those pics of everything you ate for dinner last night??! But you don’t actually have to part with every beloved photo or song (though that does help). Below you’ll find 14 tips to optimize your storage like a pro and be ready when updates come calling.
1. Identify the primary space suckers
Apple conveniently maps out just how much storage each app on your phone is consuming. Check out your stats in Settings > General > Usage, and then click Manage Storage. You can then start making cuts on the biggest culprits.
2. Delete apps you don’t use that often And even if that game you downloaded two years ago only uses a few KB, cut it loose. Every little bit counts. If it’s not an app that you use at least weekly, take it off your phone, and download it again from the Cloud when you need it.
3. Set your old texts to expire
In iOS 8, you can change your settings to automatically delete read texts after a month, which will keep you from developing an archival collection of every embarrassing message you’ve ever sent after having one too many drinks and deciding it’s time to “catch up” with your ex.
4. Purge your photos smartly No one wants to delete their memories, but how many different angles of that selfie are you holding on to? How many millions of clone photos from the "burst" function do you have? Go forth and delete.
5. Back images up to Dropbox if you really can’t part with them
You can download Dropbox for iPhone, and between that and the five free GBs of cloud space, you probably won’t need to upgrade to a paid service.
6. Turn off your Photo Stream Photo Stream combines all the images you’ve taken on your other devices, with the photo roll on your phone, taking up precious MBs. Go to Settings > Photos & Camera, then switch off Photo Stream to get ‘er done.
7. Delete your old Tinder messages. Seriously.
It’s not just the app using your storage, it’s the data in the app too. To find out just how much, go to Settings > General > Usage > Manage Storage, then click the arrow next to each app to see the breakdown. Who knew all those ill-fated Tinder messages were wreaking havoc on your phone?
8. Ditto photo editing apps The same applies for programs like Photoshop Touch, which will store duplicate images and potentially lots of data from all those pics you’ve polished up. Delete them once they’ve reached their final social media destination.
9. Tell Instagram to stop saving original photos
Are you sensing a trend? Especially if you upload your ‘grams on Facebook, you don’t need them saved twice in a separate album on your phone as well as the app.
10. Spring for more song storage For $25 bucks a year, you can upload all of your songs—even those you imported from CDs—to the cloud with iTunes Match, so you can always re-download them and have your full library at a moment’s notice.
11. Dump your browser info
Use this one with a bit of caution. Go to Settings > Safari, then select “Clear Website History and Data.” A warning that this will delete log-in info you have saved on sites, but if you’re doing it just for a storage slimdown, it might be worth it.
12. If your voicemails are sentimental, back them up
Have a really sweet message from a significant other, or a black mail-caliber blackout call? You don’t need to delete them forever. Using a program like iExplorer will let you hang on to your voicemails while still freeing up space.
13. Set your phone to delete played podcasts
At around 25 MB each, they can start to add up if you don’t make your default function to remove episodes once you’ve listened. Sorry, Serial.
14. Only keep HDR photos In the Photos & Camera section of Settings, if you scroll to the bottom you’ll find your HDR settings. HDR combines the best version of a few different shots, and if you have “Keep Normal Photo” (aka your inferior original) selected, you’re essentially doubling up on photos.