Reclaim iCloud Storage Space by Deleting Old Backups

I’ve talked before about how simple it is to get rid of backup data for old devices within iTunes on the Mac, so if you’re storing an ungodly amount of stuff from ancient iPhones on your computer, you can reclaim some of that space. But if you’re taking up tons of your iCloud storage with that same thing, you could have a problem (like not having enough room to back up your current devices!). To check this and remove anything unnecessary, first use the Apple Menu at the upper-left corner of your screen to open System Preferences on your Mac…

Apple Menu on the Mac showing System Preferences

…and then pick “iCloud” from the big list that will appear. Within the iCloud pane, choose “Manage” at the bottom.

"Manage" Button for iCloud Storage in System Preferences on the Mac

And from the following screen, you’ll find a “Backups” section that’ll show you the amount of storage taken up by that data. Click that to see which devices are backing up.

"Backups" Info in iCloud settings on the Mac

If you see an old device in there (or one that you don’t need to be backed up), just select it and click the “Delete” button. When you do so, your Mac will warn you before things get real:

iCloud device "Delete Backup" Warning within System Preferences on the Mac

As that dialog box notes, this will turn off backups for that device, so if you accidentally remove the one for your current iPhone or iPad, just be sure to go turn that backup on again within the device’s Settings. Oh, and if you’d prefer, you can also do this same thing with iOS! To do THAT on your iPhone, say, open the Settings app, tap on your picture at the top…

Tap Photo to Access iCloud in Settings on iPhone

…and then touch “iCloud” on the subsequent screen. If you select “Manage Storage” afterward…

"Manage Storage" in iCloud settings on iOS

…you’ll find the same “Backups” section.

"Backups" Data in iCloud storage settings within iOS

Under THAT (whew), you’ll see a list of your devices just like on the Mac, and tapping one will give you the option to delete its backup.

Info Screen on iOS Backups showing all device backups

Delete Old Backups on iOS

Yes, yes, I know my iPhone’s battery was low. So sue me. Or wait, don’t. I’m going to need money to get a new iPhone/Apple Watch/iPad in about a month, maybe.

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