How to Free Up Space on iCloud

The iCloud is Apple’s proprietary cloud storage and computing service. It is available for free to all users of Apple devices, but it does have a limit as to the capacity. Properly managing your iCloud account is the best way to make sure that there’s always space that’s available if you want to save files to the cloud. In light of that, here are some tips and tricks on how you can free up space on iCloud.

Manage Your Apps’ Backups

The iCloud backup feature automatically uploads important information onto the cloud. Although this ensures that none of your important files can accidentally become lost, this can also lead to your iCloud storage filling up quickly. Many iOS apps have automatic backup turned on by default, even the ones that you no longer use. To choose which apps are allowed access to the backup feature, do the following:

  1. On your iOS device, go to Settings.
  2. Tap on your Profile Name.
  3. Look for the iCloud menu and tap on it.
  4. Tap on Manage Storage, then tap on Backups.
  5. Find the name of the device that you’re currently using and then tap on it.
  6. The menu should show the list of apps that are currently using the Backup feature. If not, choose Show All Apps. Choose the apps that you don’t want to back up.
  7. Tap on Turn Off and Delete. This will disable backups for that particular app and delete any of the files it has backed up on the cloud. Do note however that the backup features of some apps cannot be turned off.
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Deleting Device Backups

From the previous menu, you can also delete any of the backups of devices that you no longer have or aren’t really using. iCloud carries over from one iOS device to another, and it’s on by default. This can all be managed from your current phone, iMac, or even PC through iCloud for Windows.

  1. Proceed to the Manage Storage menu by following the instructions above if you’re on an iOS device.
  2. If you’re using an iMac, click on the Apple menu, choose System Preferences, your Apple ID, then find and click on iCloud.
  3. If you’re using a PC, open the iCloud for Windows app, then select Storage from the menu.
  4. For all devices, choose Backups from the choices.
  5. Choose the device you want to delete the backups for then click or tap on it.
  6. Click on Delete Backup. If asked for confirmation, click on Delete again.

Deleting the backup of a device not only removes all the data specific to that device from the cloud but also deactivates the iCloud Backup feature automatically. If you wish to use Backup again for that device, you’ll have to turn it back on. To enable iCloud backup, proceed to the device’s Settings, click on your profile, and tap on iCloud.

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Managing Your Photos

The iCloud Photos feature for iOS saves photos across all registered devices on a single storage location. This means that photos taken by all of your devices get uploaded to your iCloud account. To reduce the space that this takes up, move the photos to your computer, or turn off automatic backup by choosing the option on the Backup menu under Manage Storage settings as detailed above.

You can also choose to delete individual photos or videos by going to the Photos app, tapping on All Photos, selecting one or more images, then tap Trash.

iCloud Photos does keep your deleted photos on hold for 30 days in case you change your mind or if you’d deleted a photo by mistake. If you wish to permanently delete these photos immediately, go to your Albums tab, open Recently Deleted, choose an image then tap Delete. You will be asked for confirmation if you really wish to permanently delete these images. You can restore images from this menu as well by choosing the Recover option instead.

Deleting Files and Folder on the iCloud Drive

You can also manage files that are uploaded to your iCloud account by managing them through the Files app either on your phone, an iMac, or through the iCloud for Windows app on PC.

  1. If you’re using an iOS mobile device, you can access this option by:
    1. Opening the Files app and tapping on Browse.
    2. On Locations on the menu, tap on iCloud Drive, then tap on Select when prompted.
    3. Select the files or folders that you wish removed, then tap on Trash.

    As with iCloud Photos, files that you delete will be kept for 30 days in case you want them restored. To delete them immediately, go back to Locations, tap on Recently Deleted, then tap on Select. Choose the files that you want to remove permanently then tap Delete. Alternatively, you can also choose Recover to restore these files.

  2. If you’re using an iMac, you can easily delete files and folders by:
    1. Opening the Finder, then locating the iCloud Drive Folder.
    2. You can move files from this folder to other folders on your iMac to remove it from the cloud or proceed to drag them onto Trash.
    3. If you wish to remove these files permanently, open Trash, right click on the file and then click Delete Immediately.
  3. If you’re on a Windows device, you can proceed by:
    1. Opening iCloud for Windows then sign in.
    2. Turn on iCloud Drive if it isn’t already on.
    3. Open the iCloud Drive folder, then selecting which files you want to get deleted.
    4. Click on Delete.
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An Easy Restoration Feature

The iCloud feature for iOS makes it easy to share and restore files between the devices that you own. This connectivity between devices does mean that is can be quickly filled, especially if you have multiple devices sharing one account. Managing the data that you upload to the cloud ensures that you always have storage available for important files.

Do you know of any other tips and tricks on how to free up space on iCloud? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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