Cleaning Up iCloud Storage Space: A Step-by-Step Guide


Ted Stinson

Cleaning up iCloud storage space can seem daunting, but it’s a simple process that can free up space on your device and in the cloud. By following a few steps, you can remove unnecessary files and data that are taking up valuable space. Here’s a quick rundown: check your storage, delete old backups, manage photos and videos, clear out messages, and review large attachments. Ready to get started?

Step by Step Tutorial: Cleaning Up iCloud Storage Space

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, it’s important to understand that cleaning up your iCloud storage can help your devices run smoother and prevent you from needing to purchase additional storage. Let’s get into the steps.

Step 1: Check Your Storage

Check your iCloud storage usage in the settings of your device.
Knowing how much storage you’re using and what’s using it is key to understanding where you can free up space. Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Manage Storage to get an overview.

Step 2: Delete Old Backups

Remove outdated device backups that you no longer need.
Old backups can take up a lot of space without you realizing it. If you have backups from old devices or backups that are no longer necessary, you can delete them in Settings under Manage Storage > Backups.

Step 3: Manage Photos and Videos

Delete unwanted photos and videos or enable iCloud Photo Library’s optimize storage feature.
Photos and videos usually take up the most space. You can either delete them manually or turn on the Optimize Storage feature, which keeps smaller versions on your device and the full versions in iCloud.

Step 4: Clear Out Messages

Delete old messages and attachments that you don’t need anymore.
Believe it or not, text messages, especially those with attachments, can take up a surprising amount of space. Go into your Messages app and clear out anything you don’t need.

Step 5: Review Large Attachments

Identify and remove large email attachments that are taking up space.
Email attachments can be culprits in hogging your storage. You can find and delete them by going to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Manage Storage > Mail.

After completing these steps, you should have more free space in your iCloud storage. This means your devices will potentially perform better, and you’ll have room for new backups and other essential data.

Tips for Cleaning Up iCloud Storage Space

  • Regularly review your iCloud storage to prevent it from getting full.
  • Consider using alternative photo storage services to free up iCloud space.
  • Turn on iCloud Photo Library’s Optimize Storage feature to save space on your device.
  • Keep your messages clean by regularly deleting conversations and attachments you don’t need.
  • Unsubscribe from email newsletters that send large attachments or move them to another email service.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if my iCloud storage is full?

If your iCloud storage is full, your device will stop backing up to iCloud, and you may not be able to send or receive messages with attachments or save new photos to iCloud.

Can I buy more iCloud storage instead of cleaning it up?

Yes, you can purchase more iCloud storage if you prefer, but cleaning up your existing storage can save you money and improve device performance.

Will deleting files from iCloud delete them from my devices?

Deleting files from iCloud will generally remove them from all devices that are synced with your iCloud account, so ensure that you have saved any important data elsewhere before deleting.

How often should I clean up my iCloud storage?

It’s a good idea to review your iCloud storage at least once every few months, or whenever you receive a notification that your storage is almost full.

Can I recover files after I’ve deleted them from iCloud?

Deleted files are stored in the Recently Deleted folder for 30 days before being permanently removed. You can recover them within that time frame.


  1. Check your iCloud storage in settings.
  2. Delete old backups that are no longer needed.
  3. Manage your photo and video storage.
  4. Clear out old messages and their attachments.
  5. Review and remove large email attachments.


When it comes to digital housekeeping, cleaning up iCloud storage space is like decluttering your closet – it’s not the most thrilling task, but it sure feels great once it’s done. By following the steps outlined in this article, you’ll not only reclaim precious digital space but also ensure your devices are running optimally. Remember, the cloud isn’t infinite, and like any storage solution, it requires a bit of regular maintenance. Whether you’re a photography enthusiast with thousands of snapshots or someone who keeps every message and email received, there’s something in your iCloud that can probably go. So, roll up your sleeves and start cleaning – your future self will thank you. And remember, a tidy iCloud is a happy iCloud!