Fixed: Why Is Messages Taking up So Much Storage on iPhone

  • Learn how to free iPhone space from Messages.
  • Understanding why Messages consumes excess iCloud storage.
  • Mastering chat and conversation deletion techniques.
Find Out Why Messages Uses So Much Storage on Your iPhone

Some time back, a friend brought up that messages were taking up more than 5GB of storage on his iPhone. I didn’t pay much attention and thought of it as a joke. However, my view changed recently when I noticed my own iPhone’s storage creeping towards full capacity. Curious about the matter, I went to the settings section to check how I was using my iPhone’s storage. After looking at the visual breakdown of space usage on my device, I had a surprising realization. Messages, those seemingly harmless text exchanges, had secretly taken up a huge 4GB of valuable storage.

The exact question I had simply ignored suddenly became important. Intrigued by this unexpected storage issue, I began a quest to find out the reasons behind this oddly uneven use of storage. Let’s explore what I learned.

How Messages in iCloud Stores the Entire Messaging History on Apple’s Servers.

Your iPhone automatically saves and stores Messages on iCloud. If you’ve activated the Sync this iPhone option by navigating to Settings > iCloud > Show All > Messages > Sync this iPhone, your entire message history is automatically preserved on iCloud when this feature is enabled. Additionally, you can access your message history on all devices where this feature is active.

Distinction Between Actual Text Messages and the Associated Attachments in the Context of Storage Usage.

To fully understand why messages might be consuming a significant amount of storage space on your device, consider that text messages aren’t necessarily expected to occupy just a few kilobytes. Messages within the messages app encompass more than mere written text. Various attachments, such as photos, videos, MP3s, and documents, are integrated into these messages, and these attachments inherently possess larger file sizes than text alone.

Why Do Messages Occupy Substantial Space on iPhones?

The primary culprits for this storage consumption are attachments like photos, GIFs, videos, stickers, and files. These elements gradually accumulate and occupy storage space, often escaping our immediate notice if we’re not closely monitoring our messaging app’s usage. Threads of messages in the messages app can persist over several months, amassing hundreds of messages along the way. Due to their content richness, these threads tend to be weightier than shorter, text-only messages, thereby contributing to the consumption of iPhone storage space.

Why Are Messages Taking up So Much Storage on iCloud?

Your Messages app is taking up so much space because loads of attachments, message threads, and spam messages have been synced with iCloud. This shouldn’t surprise you, especially if you have toggled on sync this iPhone for your messages in your Settings app.

How Do I Reduce Message Storage on My iPhone?

1. Review Large Attachments

Time needed: 1 minute

Here is how to review large documents to delete some and free space

  1. Open your Settings app and select General.

    tap general

  2. Tap iPhone Storage.

    tap iPhone storage

  3. Choose Messages.

    tap messages

  4. Select Review Large Attachments.

Examine the lists of videos, images, or other attachments in your messages. These items are organized from largest to smallest in terms of size. If there are sizable files that are no longer needed, you can swipe left to remove them. For multiple irrelevant large files, tap the Edit button. Then, mark the large files you want to delete and tap the Delete button.

2. Categorize Attachments

You can also clear message attachments by organizing them into different categories like Top Conversations, Photos, Videos, GIFs, and Stickers.

Here’s how you can sort and handle attachments based on their types:

  1. Open your Settings app and tap General.
  2. Tap iPhone Storage.
  3. Choose Messages.
  4. Scroll down until you find the Document section.
  5. Tap the type of file you want to remove, select the files, and tap the trash icon.

3. Delete Full Conversations

 You can easily remove messages and entire message threads from your iPhone’s Messages app. Note that if you’re using Messages in iCloud, deleting content from your iPhone will also remove it from other synced Apple devices.

Deleting messages only affects your side of the conversation, not the recipient’s.

How To Erase a Message

  1. Press and hold a message bubble, then click More.
    tap more
  2. Choose the message bubbles you want to remove and tap Delete.
    tap delete icon

How To Erase a Chat or Entire Conversation

  1. In the Messages list, swipe left on the conversation.
  2. Tap Delete.
    tap delete symbol

Accessing and Managing ‘Top Conversations’

“Top Conversations” is designed to help you identify messages that are taking up the most space on your iPhone. To check top conversations:

  1. Open your Settings application and tap General.
    tap general
  2. Tap iPhone Storage.
    tap iPhone storage
  3. Select Messages.
  4. Tap Top Conversations. Messages will be listed here in order from the largest to the smallest.

Does Deleting Text Messages Free up Space on iPhone? 

If Messages are consuming a significant amount of space, pictures attached to messages may be the primary reason. Deleting only text chats might not yield substantial results. However, if your text conversations are extensive, they could occupy more space than anticipated. If you’re comfortable with parting with those conversations, removing them will free up that space.

How Do I Clear My iMessage Cache on My iPhone?

Here are some methods to clear the iMessage cache:

1. Turn Off and Turn On the iMessage Feature

  1. Open your Settings app.
    tap settings
  2. Scroll down and tap Messages.
    tap messages
  3. Toggle off the iMessage option, wait for a few seconds, and then toggle it back on.
    toggle imessage on and off
  4. Your cache memory will be cleared when you re-enable iMessage.

2. Delete Conversations in the iMessage App

To delete a conversation in iMessage on your iPhone

  1. Launch the iMessage app.
  2. Swipe left on the conversation you want to remove.
  3. Tap Delete.
  4. Confirm by tapping Delete again.


If messages are using up space on your iPhone or iCloud storage, it’s important to recognize that attachments like videos, pictures, and audio are likely responsible for this. Message threads can also contribute to storage usage. You can free up space occupied by your messages by reviewing and managing large attachments, categorizing attachments, or deleting unnecessary message threads. For effective iPhone space management, you can learn how to back up your iPhone without using iCloud in a guide authored by Nick deCourville.

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