How to save space on iPhone

With no microSD slot on the iPhone, space can quickly become an issue, particularly if you own an 8GB or 16GB model. Here, we help you spring clean your iPhone to free up some space, with 5 top space saving tips for iOS.

First things first, though, if you've come to this article looking for ways to free up space in order to update to iOS 8 after you were told you didn't have enough memory to download and install it, you should know that you can find out how to update to iOS 8 without deleting anything here.

However, it's well worth giving your iPhone a tidy-up once in a while anyway, as it can help keep the smartphone running smoothly and will prevent you from having a nasty surprise when you're in the middle of filming an amazing concert or your kids doing something particularly funny and it cuts out because you've run out of space, for example.

How to save space on iPhone: Find out what's taking up the most space on your iPhone

The first thing to do is find out who the culprits are. You can see what's taking up the most space on your iPhone by going to Settings > General > Usage and then tapping on Manage Storage under Storage. It might take a minute or two for your apps to appear, but when they do you might be surprised at what's taking up the most space.

How to save space on iPhone

For most people, it'll be Photos & Camera, which includes all of the photos and videos you've got stored on your iPhone, but take note of the other apps that are taking up lots of space. You probably won't want to completely delete that app, but you'll be able to reduce how much space they're using by following the other steps in this article.

How to save space on iPhone: Delete apps you don't need

There might, however, be some apps that are covered in virtual cobwebs because you haven't used them for so long. If it's been more than a year, you probably don't need it anymore. Get rid of it! It's not the end of the world if you decide you want it back – it'll be downloadable from the 'Purchased' section of the iOS App Store and you won't need to pay for it again.

How to save space on iPhone

You can delete apps right from the Manage Storage screen, by tapping that app and then tapping 'Delete App'.

To delete apps form the Home screen, tap and hold until the icons on your screen start jiggling, then tap the little cross in the corner of the app you want to get rid of.   

How to save space on iPhone: Delete data and documents stored in apps

You might not always want to delete apps if you use them regularly, but you might be able to slim them down a bit. 

For example, if you've downloaded videos in BBC iPlayer but not deleted them yet, that'll be taking up space. Some photo-editing apps store photographs within them, even if you've saved them to your Camera Roll, so you should delete those too. Other data includes voice memos.

The deletion process will differ for each app but there should be instructions within the app itself.

Of course, you can delete content from Apple's own apps, too. iBooks for example – if you've read the book, delete it! You can always redownload it at a later date. Messages can take up a surprising amount of space so it's worth deleting those, and then there's photos and videos you've captured. Videos are particularly big so if you can delete any it's well worth it.

How to save space on iPhone: Use Apple's iCloud features

iCloud has lots of options that aim to not only help you backup your data but also save space on your iPhone by storing stuff in the cloud.

For example, you can use iTunes Match to have every track you own available via the cloud. It won't be stored on your device until you tap the download button. This includes even songs that you didn't buy through iTunes, by the way. It does cost £21.99 a year for the service, though.

How to save space on iPhone

iCloud Photo Library, which is new for 2015, lets you optimise iPhone storage by storing device-optimised versions of photos on your iPhone that take up less space, and storing the originals in the cloud for you to access if you want to print them, for example. Turn this on by going to Settings > Photos & Camera  and tapping "Optimize iPhone Storage".

Anything else you've stored in iCloud will not be deleted completely if you delete it from your iPhone, unless it warns you otherwise. You'll get 5GB of free iCloud storage, but then you'll need to pay a monthly fee if you need more space than that.

How to save space on iPhone: Change camera settings

How to save space on iPhone

The final thing to do to prevent your iPhone from becoming full up again is change some of the settings in the Camera app. Go to Settings > Photos and Camera and make sure the 'Keep Normal Photo' slider isn't green under HDR. With this setting turned on, any HDR photos you take will be duplicated, with a normal version of the photo stored on your iPhone, too.

And while there's no setting that lets you turn off Burst Mode, the feature can mean that you accidentally take more than one photo at a time. Make sure you tap quickly when taking a photo, or use the volume button to take a photo to prevent duplicates.

For even more space-saving tips, visit Macworld's 17 ways to make space on your iPhone article.