How to Clear iCloud Storage on iPhone, iPad

Last Updated on Jun 13, 2023

When you create a new Apple ID, Apple offers free 5GB of storage. However, this 5GB isn’t reserved for a single app or feature. Instead, it’s shared between Photos, iCloud Drive, iCloud Mail, Password and Keychain, and various third-party apps. So if you are anyone like me, who uses iCloud religiously, at some point, you might have seen “iCloud Storage Is full.” The free 5GB storage will no longer back up your data. 

To fix the problem, upgrade yourself to iCloud+ plans starting at a nominal price of $0.99/50GB. But before you make your way, there’s always a scope of free storage by deleting large files, attachments, etc taking GBs of iCloud storage. 

Well, here’s a detailed guide on how to clear iCloud storage on your iPhone, iPad or Mac. So without any ado, let’s get started. 

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Are you running out of iCloud storage? Here are some different ways to free up extra space.

Delete Photos from iCloud Storage

One of the significant chunks of your iCloud storage is taken by Photos. You can save space by clearing the images you no longer want. It is feasible to do so from iPhone, iPad, Mac, and iCloud Website. As long as you are signed with the same Apple ID across, the image you will delete on any Apple device will automatically delete everywhere. Here are the different ways to delete photos from iCloud.

Delete Photos from iCloud 

Whether you want to delete a single or a group of photos that are synced to iCloud, you can do it easily from the Photos app on your device. Follow the steps below.

Note: Do remember performing the below steps will delete your photos from iCloud and your device.

For iPhone and iPad Users

  1. Open the Photos app and search for the photo you want to delete. 
  • To delete a single photo: press and hold the photo until you see a pop-up menu, then tap on Delete.
  • To delete all photos at once: Tap on Select at the top right corner, then select each photo you want to delete. When you are done, select the Trash Icon at the bottom right corner of the screen. 
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 For Mac Users

  1. On your Mac, click on the Photos app in the dock.
  2. Then, select Library from the left sidebar.
  • To delete a single photo: Select the photo that you no longer want. Then, right-click and select Delete.
  • To delete all photos at once: Press Command + A to select all, right-click on any photo and select Delete All.

Delete Old backups from iCloud

The major chunk of your iCloud is held by your old backups. So it’s a great idea to delete backups you no longer need. Here’s how.

Note: Deleting backups of the selected device will also turn off iCloud backups until you manually turn them on. 

For iPhone and iPad users

  1. Go to Settings App.
  2. Select Apple ID [Your Name].
  3. Tap iCloud.
  4. Select Manage Storage.
  5. Hit Backups.
  6. Choose the name of the device from the list whose backup you no longer need.
  7. Tap Delete Backup > Turn off & Delete.

For Mac users

  1. Go to Apple Menu > System Settings…(System Preferences…for macOS Monterey & Earlier)
  2. Click Apple ID > iCloud.
  3. Select Manage > Backups.
  4. Choose the name of the device from the list whose backup you no longer need.
  5. Click to – Minus > Delete. If you want to turn off backups and remove all backups of selected devices from iCloud, click Delete when asked for further confirmation. 

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Choose which apps to backup on your device

There are an array of apps on your Apple device that automatically back up to iCloud. However, you can stop any apps that you don’t use often. Here’s how

For iPhone & iPad Users

  1. Go to Settings App.
  2. Choose Apple ID [Your Name].
  3. Select iCloud.
  4. Tap iCloud Backup.
  5. In the All Device Backup, select your device.
  6. On the next screen, you will see a list of apps, from there, toggle off the apps you don’t want to backup in iCloud.
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Once you turn off the backup of certain apps in iCloud, the screen will prompt to confirm you indeed want to turn off backup and delete the data stored in iCloud. Tap Turn Off. 

For Mac Users 

  1. On your Mac, go to Apple Logo.
  2. Select System Settings…(System Preferences…for macOS Monterey and earlier).
  3. Click on iCloud.
  4. Select and deselect the app you create a backup. In case you don’t see the app, tap on Show All. 

Stop third-party apps from backing up to iCloud

Various apps like Whatsapp, Notes, etc, store their data in iCloud. But in case there are apps you no longer use, you can delete their data from iCloud. For that, follow the steps below.

For iPhone & iPad Users

  1. Go to Settings App.
  2. Select Apple ID [Your Name].
  3. Choose iCloud. 
  4. Hit Manage Storage.
  5. Select the Name of App. 
  6. Lastly, tap on Delete Data > Delete.

For Mac Users

  1. Go to Apple Menu.
  2. Select System Settings…(System Preferences… for macOS Monterey & earlier).
  3. Click iCloud.
  4. Select Manage Button at the top.
  5. Click on the desired app from the left sidebar.
  6. Lastly, click Delete From iCloud And All Devices. 

Delete Files or Folders in iCloud Drive to free up iCloud storage

Another easy way to free up storage from iCloud is to delete files and folders from your iCloud Drive. To do that, follow the steps below. 

For iPhone & iPad Users

  1. Navigate to Files App.
  2. Hit Browse.
  3. Below the Location menu, tap iCloud Drive.
  4. Select More Button > Select.
  5. Choose the File or Folder you want to delete, then tap Delete.
  6. Navigate to Location > Recently Deleted.
  7. Tap on the More Button, then tap Select.
  8. Choose Files you are willing to delete. Tap Delete
  9. For further confirmation, tap Delete. 

For Mac User

  1. Open the Finder on your Mac.
  2. Select iCloud Drive from the left sidebar.
  3. Drag the desired item to the Trash in the dock.
  4. After this, access the Trash and select the file you want to delete.
  5. Right-click on the selected file, and from the prompt, choose Delete Immediately. 

Via iCloud Website

  1. Open Safari or its alternative.
  2. Navigate to
  3. Sign in using your Apple ID and Password.
  4. Click or tap on the iCloud Drive App.
  5. Select the desired file and click on Delete Icon at the top.
  6. Now open iCloud Drive Folder and click Recently Deleted.
  7. Select the desired files or folders you are willing to delete. 
  8. Lastly, choose Delete.
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Set Safari downloads to local storage

Choosing to store the Safari downloads in iCloud Drive can eat up lots of iCloud storage. So I advise storing these Safari downloads in a device’s local storage. Here is how you can do it.

For iPhone & iPad Users

  1. Open Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Go to Safari.
  3. Tap Downloads.
  4. Select My iPhone or iPad instead of iCloud Drive. 

For Mac Users

  1. Open Safari on your Mac.
  2. Select Safari from the menu bar.
  3. Click on Settings…(Preferences…for macOS Monterey & Earlier).
  4. Go to General.
  5. Click on File Download Location and select Download.

Delete Voice Memos from iCloud on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac

If you have turned on the iCloud syncing for Voice Memos on your device, it could be the reason for low iCloud storage. Here’s how to delete Voice Memos from iCloud on your Apple peripherals.

For iPhone & iPad Users

  1. Open the Voice Memos app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Swipe a voice memo to a left.
  3. Tap on Delete Icon.
  4. Select Recently Deleted.
  5. Hit on the Voice Memo you recently deleted.
  6. Lastly, choose Delete to permanently delete voice memos from iCloud. However, it will vanish after 30 days of deletion. 

For Mac Users. 

  1. Open Voice Memos app.
  2. Select the Desired Voice Memo > Delete from the top right corner.
  3. Then, click on the Recently Deleted Folder in the left sidebar. 
  4. Hit on the Voice Memo you recently deleted.
  5. Lastly, choose Delete to permanently delete voice memos from iCloud. However, it will vanish after 30 days of deletion. 

Delete Email Messages and Attachments  

You can prevent iCloud storage Is Full by routinely deleting email from your iCloud email account. That’s because Mail with large attachments acquires lots of space, so delete if you don’t need them. 

Similarly, if you toggle on Messages in iCloud to sync across all your peripherals, all your attachments and messages acquire lots of space on your iCloud storage. So make a habit of frequently deleting unwanted messages and attachments. 

Final Thought!

You should never fill iCloud Storage completely. Doing so can lead to various problems, such as low iCloud Storage, iCloud won’t backup. And in some cases, there are possibilities of unresponsive Apple devices.  

That’s why it’s a good habit to deep clean your iCloud Storage every three-four months so you can delete unwanted Photos, Files, Folders, and Backups that aren’t needed anymore.

HowToiSolve Staff
HowToiSolve Staff

Jaysukh Patel is the founder of howtoisolve. Also self Professional Developer, Techno lover mainly for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and iOS, Jaysukh is one of responsible person in his family. Contact On: [OR]