How to Clear Your iCloud Storage

For Apple users, maintaining an iCloud account can present some difficulties. The 5GB that comes free with every iCloud account may seem to be sufficient at first, depending on how much we use our accounts. But after some time, it can become full of various media, and then it cannot be used. There is always the option for paid plans that start at $0.99 per month for 50GB of space, but there are also ways to keep your iCloud account well maintained and organized.

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Check your storage space

The first step should be to review your account and see what is taking up the most space. On a Mac, this can be checked under: Apple menu > System Preferences > Apple ID > iCloud, then Manage.

On an Apple device, this can be checked under: Settings > (your name) > iCloud, then go to iCloud Storage or Manage Storage.

Images and videos will typically take the majority of space.

Manage your inbox

One way of freeing up space can be to organize your email account and delete the mail that you don’t need. The emails you wish to keep can be put into categorized folders, and unwanted emails can be removed. Go to the trash folder and choose the option to Delete All. On a mobile device, this can be found under Edit.

Delete your old backups

Deleting backups will create some extra space. This can be achieved by going to the Apple menu > System Preferences > Apple ID, then go to iCloud, then Manage and Select Backups. The device backups can be selected and deleted.

On an Apple device, this can be found under: Settings > (your name) > iCloud > Manage Storage > Backups. Then select the name of the device and Delete Backup.

There is also the option to turn off backups for the device you are using so that they do not continue to take up space.

Download and delete your photos

In most cases, photos take up a large proportion of iCloud storage space. Photos can be individually downloaded then deleted in Apple Photos. This can be done by going to Photos > Preferences, then clicking iCloud, and selecting Download Originals to Mac. Next, select the photos for download then go to File > Export.

Photos can also be backed up manually in Apple Photos, then excluded from iCloud backups. To do this, navigate to the Apple menu > System Preferences > Apple ID > iCloud > Manage Storage, then select Photos, then Disable and Delete.

On an Apple device this can be achieved under Settings > Apple ID > iCloud > Manage Storage > Photos > Disable and Delete.

Save your Whatsapp backups to your computer

Whatsapp is enabled for iCloud backups, so this will take up space. All of your shared documents in Whatsapp can be downloaded from the app on a mobile device or on a desktop computer. The backups to iCloud can be deleted by going to:

Apple menu > System Preferences > Apple ID > iCloud > Manage Storage, then select Whatsapp Messenger, then Disable and Delete.

On an Apple device, this can be achieved under Settings > Apple ID > iCloud > Manage Storage > Whatsapp Messenger > Disable and Delete.

Delete your attachments and texts in messages

All your text messages and attachments that you don’t need are taking up space in iCloud. Whether you are using a Mac computer or an Apple device, message threads need to be deleted individually.

On an Apple device, swipe left over the conversation then tap the trash icon. On a Mac, control-click the conversation you wish to delete, then click Delete.

Finding we have no space left in our iCloud accounts can be frustrating. But with a few simple measures, we can keep things organized and under control. Then we are free to enjoy the many uses of our favorite devices.