How to free up space on iCloud

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Bernard Perron
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iCloud is Apple's proprietary cloud computing and storage service. It is available for free for all Apple device users, but its capacity is limited. Properly managing your iCloud account is the best way to make sure there's always space available if you want to save files to the cloud. In light of that, here are some tips and tricks to free up space on iCloud.

Manage your app backups

The iCloud backup feature automatically uploads important information to the cloud. While this ensures that none of your important files are accidentally lost, it can also cause your iCloud storage to fill up quickly. Many iOS apps have auto-save turned on by default, even the ones you no longer use. To choose which apps are allowed to access the backup feature, follow these steps:



  1. On your iOS device, go to Settings.

  2. Tap your profile name.

  3. Find the iCloud menu and tap on it.

  4. Tap Manage Storage

  5. Next, tap on Backups.

  6. Find the name of the device you're currently using, then tap it.

  7. The menu should show the list of apps that are currently using the backup feature. Otherwise, choose Show all apps. Choose the apps you don't want to back up.

  8. Tap Disable & Delete. This will disable backups for that particular app and delete any files it has backed up to the cloud. Note, however, that some apps' backup features cannot be disabled.



Delete device backups

In the previous menu, you can also delete all backups of devices you no longer have or don't really use. iCloud is transferred from one iOS device to another, and it is enabled by default. All of this can be managed from your current phone, your iMac, or even your PC via iCloud for Windows.

  1. Switch to the Manage Storage menu following the instructions above if you are using an iOS device.

  2. If you're using an iMac, click the Apple menu, choose System Preferences, your Apple ID, then find and click 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 for which you want to delete backups, then click or tap it.

  6. Click Delete Backup. If you are asked for confirmation, click Delete again.

Deleting a device's backup not only removes all data specific to that device from the cloud, but also automatically disables the iCloud backup feature. If you want to reuse the backup for this device, you will need to reactivate it. To enable iCloud backup, go to device settings, click your profile and tap iCloud.


Manage your photos

The iCloud Photos feature for iOS saves photos on all registered devices to a single storage location. This means that photos taken by all your devices are uploaded to your iCloud account. To reduce the space this takes up, move the photos to your computer or disable automatic backup by choosing the option from 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 All Photos, selecting one or more images, then tapping Trash.

iCloud Photos keeps your deleted photos for 30 days in case you change your mind or delete a photo by mistake. If you want to permanently delete these photos immediately, go to your Albums tab, open Recently Deleted, choose an image, then tap Delete. You will be asked to confirm if you really want to permanently delete these images. You can also restore images from this menu by choosing the Recover option instead.

Deleting Files and Folders on iCloud Drive

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

  1. If you are using an iOS mobile device, you can access this option by:

    1. Open the Files app and tap Browse.

    2. Under Locations in the menu, tap iCloud Drive, then tap Select when prompted.

    3. Select the files or folders you want to delete, then tap Trash.


    As with iCloud Photos, files you delete will be retained for 30 days in case you want to restore them. To delete them immediately, go back to Locations, tap Recently Deleted, then tap Select. Choose the files you want to permanently delete, 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. Open Finder, then locate the iCloud Drive folder.

    2. You can move files from this folder to other folders on your iMac to delete it from the cloud or continue dragging
    them in the trash.

    3. If you want to permanently delete these files, open the Recycle Bin, right-click the file, and click Delete Immediately.

  3. If you are on a Windows device, you can do the following:

    1. Open iCloud for Windows then sign in.

    2. Enable iCloud Drive if it isn't already.

    3. Open the iCloud Drive folder, then select and delete the content you want to delete.

An easy restore function

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

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

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