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8 Simple Ways To Free Up Space On Your iPhone Without Deleting Photos


Oct. 24 2018, Updated 10:31 a.m. ET

I’m not going to launch into a long-winded diatribe about how Apple is an evil, crappy company that overcharges customers for its phones that are of questionable quality and have a lifespan of exactly 20 months so that by the time your upgrade rolls around you feel the need to have to buy the next iPhone immediately. Nor am I going to go on and on about all of the better features similarly-priced Android phones have over the iPhone, because I’d be wasting my breath and frankly, would come off like a hateful, Google-worshipping nerd. 

The truth is, there are some awesome things that Apple does right with the iPhone, and a few ways they come up horribly short. I think anyone with an iPhone can agree that memory issues are a huge, huge pain in the butt. 

Your “16gb” iPhone is mostly packed to the brim with the operating system and other software, and there’s no real easy way to clear the data cache in one fell-swoop like you can with an Android phone to delete the useless cached data that accumulate after regular use. 

But there are some tips and tricks to clearing up that annoying cached data on your iPhone, without deleting your photos.

Go through all the steps of renting a movie, but don't actually rent it.

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We wrote about this method before, but basically what happens is that Apple isn’t going to through away the chance to take some money away from you, so to prepare a video download, the OS automatically clears useless cached data on your phone to prepare your memory for space to download the movie. Just don’t pull the trigger and actually pay for it and you’ll have easily cleared up to 3gb of space on your iPhone. 

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Delete unnecessary or unused applications.

I get it, finding the perfect fart-generator application is a tough one, so you comb through the app store and download a bunch in the hopes of finding the right one. You decided to keep it on your phone because the file size isn’t that great, but apps accrue their own set of data over time, turning that 45mb application into a 1.5GB monster that just eats away at your memory. If you’re not using an app all that much, just ditch it and re-download it later over WiFi if you really, really need it. 

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Delete older texts

I know it sounds like the dark ages to do this and part of iMessage’s appeal is its “unlimited messaging” archives, but do you really need to save all of those messages from years ago? Don’t be a data hoarder, get rid of old conversations you’re never going to go back and look at ever again. Go to settings-> messages -> tick off keep messages for 30 days and enjoy your extra storage space. 

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Stop Using My Photo Stream

Recent photos are basically added to your phone twice using this feature, it’s a waste unless you absolutely need to sync photos between your iPhone and iPad.  

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HDR mode saves two versions of photos - don't keep both.

iPhone’s camera is great and HDR mode helps give you pretty darn good photo quality even in low light. Problem is, your phone will save both an HDR version of the photo and a version without this feature. So hop to settings -> photos & camera -> and un-tick the Keep Normal Photo option.  

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Clear your browser cache

This has to be the most annoying feature of iPhones: you have to clear the data cache for applications one by one. Go to settings -> Safari (or Chrome or Firefox or whatever browser you use) and tap “Clear History and Website Data”. Sure, frequently visited sites may take a little longer to load, but honestly it’s not that much of a compromise. 

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Get rid of automatic app updates.

Automatic app updates will not only put a strain on your data plan, but also on your phone’s battery. Set it up to work only on WiFi or make it so that you have to manually update your phone’s applications. Go to Settings -> iTunes & App Store -> Turn off updates. 

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Download and install Google Photos

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Google applications aren’t just for Android phones – you can enjoy them on your iPhone. Google photos stores all of your photos online, for free, for life. That’s right, there’s no memory cap, just store hi-resolution (not full resolution) versions of the photos and then upload them all when you’re connected to WiFi. Go into settings of the Google Photos app, tap “Free Up Space” and the app will automatically delete all of the duplicate photos stored the phone while they’re all backed up online. 

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