When your iCloud storage gets full, you get an error message on your device screen that reads: your iCloud storage is almost full. Don’t panic and think about what you can do and how can you manage and clear your iCloud storage data by removing some unnecessary stuff like TV shows, movies, files, documents, photos, old iPhone and iPad Backup and other files from the iCloud drive on your iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Windows PC. This guide is your best companion if you want to delete iCloud storage data when you receive iCloud storage full error message on your iOS device or Mac or Windows computer.
The meaning of iCloud storage full is that you can no longer store or save your data on your iCloud space, which comes free when you first create your Apple ID on your first iOS or Mac device. This clearly means that either you have to go for iCloud storage upgrade or you need to free up your iCloud storage space. It is advisable to disable some apps using iCloud on your iPhone or iPad.
iCloud Storage Full? How to Clear iCloud Storage Space on iPhone, iPad, Mac and Windows PC
Before you go ahead and take care of your iCloud storage almost full issue, just take a glance at how much iCloud storage you have on your devices.
On iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch:
For iOS 10.3 or later: Launch Settings → (your name) → iCloud. Next, tap on iCloud Storage or Manage Storage.
For iOS 10.2 or earlier: Open Settings → iCloud → Storage.
On Mac: Click Apple Menu → System Preferences → Click on iCloud and next click Manage.
On Windows computer: Click on iCloud icon from the taskbar (If you have not set up iCloud on your Windows PC, download iCloud now) → Open iCloud Settings.
On all your devices and computers, you will see iCloud Storage; check that white strap which tells how much iCloud storage space left on your device. And those colored straps indicate iCloud storage space used on your devices.
Now, you can create more space or free up some space on iCloud storage by following some methods given below.
There are four different ways to make more space on your iCloud. You can delete old backups, delete photos and videos, delete files, and delete emails.
When you backup your iOS device to iCloud, the most valuable information and data on your iOS device is backed up automatically. These backups are your documents, photos, and videos.
Which iPhone or iPad Apps you want to backup on iCloud
Many third-party iOS apps automatically backup to iCloud once you download and install them. Here, you can change which apps back up to iCloud and remove current backups from storage.
Step #1: Open Settings on your iPhone or iPad.
Step #2: Tap on your name and then tap on iCloud.
Step #3: For iOS 11 users, they can tap on Manage Storage and then Backup.
Step #4: If your device running iOS 10.3, tap on iCloud Storage and Manage Storage.
Step #5: Next, you need to tap on the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch connected to your iCloud account.
Step #6: You will find your third-party apps listed; under CHOOSE DATA TO BACK UP, turn off the apps you don’t want to take back up of.
Step #7: A pop-up will swipe up; tap on Turn Off & Delete.
On iOS 10.2 or earlier…
Step #1: Launch Settings on your iOS device.
Step #2: Tap on iCloud → Storage → Manage Storage.
Step #3: Tap on the name of any iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch connected with your iCloud account.
Step #4: Turn off the apps you don’t want to take backup of under Backup Options.
Step #5: A pop-up swipes up from the bottom of the screen; tap on Turn Off & Delete to confirm your action.
Once you confirm your action, iCloud backup for that app will be turned off and all its data and information will be removed from iCloud.
Note that apps like Messages and Voice Memos cannot be turned off as they are always backed up.
Turn off and Delete Old iPad and iPhone Backups from iCloud
For iOS 10.3 and later…
Step #1: Tap on Settings app → (your name) → iCloud.
Step #2: If your device is running on iOS 11 tap on Manage Storage → Backup.
On iOS 10.3, tap on iCloud Storage → Manage Storage.
Step #3: Next, you need to tap on the name of iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch connected with your iCloud account.
Step #4: Scroll down and tap Delete Backup.
A pop-up will ask your confirmation; tap on Turn Off & Delete to confirm your action.
For iOS 10.2 and earlier…
Step #1: Open Settings → General → Storage & iCloud Usage.
Step #2: Tap on Manage Storage under iCloud.
Step #3: Select the device name.
Step #4: Then tap on Delete Backup and confirm your action by tapping on Turn Off & Delete.
This action of yours will turn off iCloud Backup of your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
Step #1: Open Apple menu → go to System Preferences → and then click iCloud.
Step #2: Next, you need to click on Manage and select Backups.
Step #3: Here, you need to choose one of the device backups, and next click on Delete.
You will be prompted to confirm your action; you can go for Delete if you wish to turn off Backup and remove all backups for that device from iCloud.
Note that if you delete backup, it also turns off backup of your device.
On Windows computers (Windows 7, 8, and 10)
Step #1: Click on the iCloud icon from the taskbar on your computer.
Step #2: Click on ‘Open iCloud Settings’.
Step #3: Click on Storage button.
Step #4: Now click Backup from the list of options on left panel.
Step #5: Select your device from the right side and then click on Delete button.
You will be prompted to confirm your action; click on Delete and it will turn off backup of your device.
Once you disable or stop using iCloud Backup, your backups will be available for 180 days.
Free up iCloud Storage Space by Reducing iCloud Photo Library
iCloud Photo Library is a brilliant idea to store all your photos and videos in cloud and access them from any iOS or Mac device using your iCloud account. But when you don’t have enough storage on your iCloud, it is recommended that you manage your iCloud storage by deleting photos and videos from your iCloud storage.
How to Delete Photos from iCloud Storage
Delete Photos on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
Step #1: Launch Photos app on your iOS device.
Step #2: Now tap on Photos from the bottom of your device screen.
Step #3: Next, tap on Select from the top right corner.
Step #4: You can now select one or more photos or videos you wish to remove from iCloud storage.
Step #5: Finally, tap on trash icon from the bottom right corner.
A pop-up will appear and ask your confirmation. When you tap on Delete Photo/s, they will be deleted from iCloud Photo Library from all your devices.
Clear your iCloud Photo Library using Mac.
Step #1: Click on Photos app from the dock.
Step #2: Choose the photos and videos you wish to get rid of.
Step #3: Now select Image and click Delete Photos.
Reduce iCloud Photo Library from iCloud.com
Step #1: Open www.icloud.com on your computer’s browser.
Step #2: Sign into your iCloud account (if you have set up two-factor authentication for Apple ID, you need to enter that six-digit code received on your iOS device).
Step #3: Now click on Photos from the launchpad.
Step #4: You need to choose your photos or videos you want to remove from iCloud.
Step #5: Finally, click on trash icon to remove selected photos/videos from iCloud storage.
You can also select Optimize iPhone Storage on your iOS device settings to save space on your device. When you turn on Optimize Storage on your iPhone or iPad, your Photos will free up space automatically by replacing original photos and videos with device-sized versions. The full-resolution photos and videos will be saved in iCloud.
In case you want to recover or restore deleted photos, they are available in a Recently Deleted folder on your iOS device, and they will be there for 30 days. To remove your photos and videos from the Recently Deleted folder, you can use your iOS device or iCloud account on the web.
Delete Photos or Videos from Recently Deleted Folder on iPhone and iPad
Step #1: Open Photos app on your iOS device.
Step #2: Scroll down and tap on Recently Deleted folder/album.
Step #3: Select the photos you want to delete completely.
You can also tap on Delete All to remove them all or you can choose Recover All to recover deleted photos.
Delete Photos or Videos from Recently Deleted Folder on Mac and Windows Computer
Step #1: Open www.icloud.com and log in with your Apple ID and password.
Step #2: From the launchpad, click on Photos folder.
Step #3: By default, you will be seeing All Photos under the Albums; you need to click on the Recently Deleted folder.
You can either click on Delete All from the upper right corner of your computer screen or select the photos you want to delete. Simply click on each photo and it will be selected.
You can also choose the option to recover photos; this is residing next to Delete All.
Reduce the size of Photo Library
In case you don’t want to use iCloud Photo Library, note that your photos stored in Camera Roll are part of your iCloud backup. You can check the size of backup on your iPhone or iPad:
In your iOS 11: Settings → Your Name → iCloud → and then Manage Storage.
In iOS 10.3: Open Settings → Your Name → iCloud → iCloud Storage → Manage Storage.
In iOS 10.2 or earlier: Launch Settings → iCloud → Storage → Manage Storage.
To minimize the size of Photo Library backup, you can save your photos and videos to computer or take a back-up of your iPhone or iPad. You can turn off Photo Library in backup if you have decided to keep your photos and videos on the device itself (check which iPhone/iPad Apps you want to back up above); buying more iCloud storage is another option for you.
If your camera roll is packed with photos that need to be discarded, simply delete those photos.
Manage iCloud Storage in iCloud Drive on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or Windows Computer
With the release of iOS 11, Apple introduced Files app inside the iOS devices and iCloud. If you have stored your files like documents and photos in iCloud Drive, you can easily delete to create some storage space on iCloud.
Delete Files in iCloud Drive from iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
If your device is running iOS 11, you can use below-mentioned steps to clear files.
Step #1: Launch Files app on your device and then tap on Browse in the bottom.
Step #2: Next, tap on Locations from the top left corner.
Step #3: Under the Locations, you need to tap on iCloud Drive and then tap Select.
Step #4: Select the files you want to remove.
Step #5: Now, tap on trash can icon.
This will transfer the files to a Recently Deleted folder.
Step #6: Again go back to Locations and then tap on Recently Deleted.
Step #7: Here, tap on select and choose the files you wish to delete.
Step #8: Finally, tap on Delete.
In case you are using iOS 10.3 or earlier on your iOS devices…
Step #1: Launch iCloud Drive app.
Step #2: Tap on Select.
Step #3: Select the files you wish to remove.
Step #4: Tap on Delete and then Delete from iCloud Drive.
Delete Files from iCloud Drive on Mac
You can easily manage iCloud Drive files on your Mac running macOS High Sierra or later; you need to use your iCloud Drive folder in Finder.
Step #1: Launch iCloud Drive on Mac.
- Apple menu → System Preferences and then click iCloud.
- Log in with Apple ID.
- Here, turn on iCloud Drive. In Options, don’t forget to choose the apps or folders for the files you want to manage.
Step #2: Now open Folder and go to iCloud Drive folder.
Step #3: You can now drag any file or item to the Trash, or send it to another folder on Mac.
Step #4: Next, launch Trash and right-click on the files you want to remove.
Step #5: Select Delete Immediately.
Delete Documents from iCloud Drive on Windows PC
If you have got a Windows computer running Windows 7 or later versions, you can manage iCloud Drive files by using Windows Explorer.
Step #1: Open iCloud Drive on your Windows computer from the taskbar.
Step #2: Now click on ‘Open iCloud Drive’.
Step #3: Once iCloud Drive opens on Windows PC, select the folder in which you store files.
Step #4: Next, select the files you want to delete.
Step #5: Click Delete to remove the files.
Remove Documents from iCloud.com
Step #1: Go to www.icloud.com and sign in with your Apple ID and password.
Step #2: From the launchpad, click on iCloud Drive app.
Step #3: Choose the files you want to delete and then hit trash can icon.
Step #4: Next, go to the iCloud Drive folder and click on Recently Deleted.
Step #5: Choose the files you want to remove completely.
Step #6: Finally, click on Delete.
Delete Mails to Free up iCloud Storage
If you are using iCloud mail account to communicate, you must have compiled some data that needs to be cleared. Note that emails with attachments occupy more space than normal text emails. When you remove emails from your iCloud email account, a lot of iCloud storage space gets freed up. You can also transfer your email messages from your iOS devices to your Mac or Windows PC, where your email data is not counted as iCloud storage.
On iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
You can delete email messages from any mailbox if you have set up your iOS devices to access iCloud email; then you can delete the emails from trash to free up space.
Step #1: Open Mail app on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
Step #2: Now tap on Inbox (if you are not there already).
Step #3: Long swipe right to left on any email message to delete it.
Step #4: Go back to Mailboxes and tap on Trash foler.
Step #5: Again long swipe from right to left on the deleted mail to completely remove it from the Mail app.
You can delete multiple email messages by tapping on Edit button while you are at the inbox. Select the messages and tap on Trash from the bottom right corner.
In Trash folder, tap on Edit and select the emails you have deleted from Inbox; finally, tap on Delete button from the bottom right corner. Your emails will be quickly deleted.
Delete E-Mails from iCloud.com
Normally, when you delete iCloud emails from your iOS devices, they also get deleted from your iCloud as well. In case you want to get rid of emails by using iCloud.com, go to your computer browser and follow the steps.
Step #1: Sign into your iCloud.com.
Step #2: Click Mail from the launchpad.
Step #3: Select the email message you want to delete, and then hit the trash icon.
Note that you need to select email messages under Search Inbox field. And to delete the selected email, click on trash icon from the message body.
Step #4: Last, tap on gear icon from the bottom left corner and then click on Empty Trash.
Clearing iCloud storage keeps your iOS devices in good shape especially when your iPhone or iPad has less space. If you download your files, photos, and videos locally on your Mac or Windows PC, you can surely create more space on your devices. Do this exercise regularly on your devices.
- How to Recover Deleted Contacts, files, Calendars, and Photos from iCloud
- How to Transfer Files from iCloud Drive to Google Drive
- How to Delete or Change iCloud Account on iPhone or iPad Without Losing Data
- How to Transfer iCloud Calendar to Android Smartphones
- How to Add iCloud Calendar to Amazon Echo Devices
- How to Add Family Member to a Shared iCloud Storage Plan
- How to Bypass iCloud Activation Lock on iPhone and iPad
- How to Sync Health Data to iCloud on iPhone and iPad
- How to Backup iPhone and iPad to iCloud and iTunes