How to Clear iCloud Storage on iPhone, iPad

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. 

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. 

Launch the photos tap on library select any one photo on iPhone

2. To delete a single photo: press and hold the photo until you see a pop-up menu, then tap on Delete.
3. 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. 

Select the delete tap on delete photo on iPhone

 For Mac Users

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

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. Select Apple ID [Your Name]. Tap iCloud.

Launch the settings app tap on apple id profile name then select iCloud on iPhone

2. Select Manage Storage. Hit Backups.
3. Choose the name of the device from the list whose backup you no longer need.

Click manage account storage tap on backups select iPad on iPhone

4. Tap Delete Backup, tap on Delect, choose Permanently Delete.

Tap delete backup select delete the permanently delete on iPhone

For Mac users

1. Go to Apple Menu > System Settings…(System Preferences…for macOS Monterey & Earlier)

Click apple logo then system settings... on mac

2. Click Apple ID Profile Name and select iCloud.

Select apple id profile name click iCloud on mac

3. Select Manage Account.

Click on manage... on mac

4. Click on Backups.

Select backups on iPhone

5. Choose the name of the device from the list whose backup you no longer need.

Choose the iPhone click (-) minus on iPhone

6. 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. 

Choose delete on iPhone

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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. Choose Apple ID [Your Name]. Select iCloud.

Launch the settings app tap on apple id profile name then select iCloud on iPhone

2. Tap iCloud Backup. In the All Device Backup, select your device.

Click iCloud backup tap iPad then turn off and delete from iCloud on iPhone

3. On the next screen, you will see a list of apps. From there, toggle off the apps you don’t want to back up in iCloud.

Select turn off and delete tap permanently delete on iPhone

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. Select Apple ID [Your Name]. Choose iCloud. 

Launch the settings app tap on apple id profile name then select iCloud on iPhone

2. Hit Manage Storage. Select the Name of the App. 

Tap on manage account storage click messages on iPhone

3. Lastly, tap on Disable & Delete Data and tap Delete Messages.

Click disable & delete tap delete messages on iPhone

For Mac Users

1. Go to Apple Menu. Select System Settings…(System Preferences… for macOS Monterey & earlier).

Click apple logo then system settings... on mac

2. Click Apple ID Profile Name and select iCloud.

Select apple id profile name click iCloud on mac

3. Select the Manage Button at the top.

Click on manage... on mac

4. Click on the desired app from the left sidebar.

Click notes on mac

5. Select left side penal Delete From iCloud.

Click delete from iCloud on mac

6. Lastly, click Delete From iCloud And All Devices. 

Choose the delete from iCloud on mac

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 the Files App. Hit Browse. Below the Location menu, tap iCloud Drive.

Go to the files tap on browse then select iCloud drive on iPhone

Below the Location menu, tap iCloud Drive.

2. Select the More Button and tap on Select Option.

Tap three icon then select folder on iPhone

3. Choose the File or Folder you want to delete, then tap Delete.
4. Navigate to Location > Recently Deleted.

Tap delete click browse select recently deleted on iPhone

5. Tap on the More Button, then tap Select.

Tap three icon the select option in folder on iPhone

6. Choose Files you are willing to delete. Tap Delete
7. For further confirmation, tap Delete. 

Tap delete then delete folder on iPhone

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. 
Open finder click iCloud drive select folder then move to trash on iPhone

Via iCloud Website

1. Open Safari or its alternative, then Sign In.

Open safari app click sign in on iPhone

2. Click on Use a different Apple ID.

Click use a different apple id on mac

3. Enter your Email or Phone Number and click Next Button.

Enter email or phone number next on mac

4. Select the Continue with Password.

Click continue with password on mac

5. Enter your Password, then Next.

Enter password next on mac

6. Next, then Confirm Trust.

Select trust on mac

7. Select the iCloud Drive in Safari.

Click drive in safari on mac

8. Click on the Ok Button.

Click on ok button on mac

9. Click Browse, then select Folder, then Three icons Choose Delete Selected.

click browse then three icon and delete selected on mac

10. Click or tap on the iCloud Drive App. Select the desired file and click on Delete Icon at the top.

Click recently deleted and delete folder on mac

11. Now open the iCloud Drive Folder and click Recently Deleted. Select the desired files or folders you are willing to delete. 

Click three icon choose the delete forever on mac

12. Lastly, choose Delete.

Choose the delete safari on mac

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 the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad. Go to Safari.

Launch the setting app tap on safari on iPhone

2. Tap Downloads. Select My iPhone or iPad instead of iCloud Drive. 

Select download check on my iPhone on iPhone

For Mac Users

1. Open Safari on your Mac. Select Safari from the menu bar. Click on Settings…(Preferences…for macOS Monterey & Earlier).

Open safari click settings... on mac

2. Go to General. Click on File Download Location and select Download.

Click general tab below free download location select download on mac

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. Swipe a voice memo to the left.

Launch the voice memos tap recoding click delete button then ok button on iPhone

2. Tap on Delete Icon. Select Recently Deleted. Hit on the Voice Memo you recently deleted.

Tap on back click recently deleted in recording on iPhone

3. Lastly, choose Delete to permanently delete voice memos from iCloud. However, it will vanish after 30 days of deletion. 

Tap delete button and delete forever on iPhone

For Mac Users. 

1. Open the Voice Memos App. Select the Desired Voice Memo and tap on Delete from the top right corner.

Open voice memos click recording then delete on mac

2. Click “Recently Deleted” under the OK button on Mac.

Select ok button on mac

3. Then, click on the Recently Deleted Folder in the left sidebar. 

Click on back voice memos on mac

4. Hit on the Voice Memo you recently deleted. then click on Messages and the right side panel in the Delete Button. Lastly, choose Delete to permanently delete voice memos from iCloud. However, it will vanish after 30 days of deletion. 

Click recently deleted then select recording and delete button on mac

5. Choose the Delete Forever on Mac.

Choose the delete forever on mac

Delete Email Messages and Attachments  

You can prevent iCloud storage from being full by routinely deleting email from your iCloud email account. That’s because Mail with large attachments requires 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 and 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 to four months so you can delete unwanted Photos, Files, Folders, and Backups that aren’t needed anymore.

Photo of author

Karly Wood

Karly Wood, a Wellington-based journalist, excels in covering Apple and tech trends. With a diverse background in public safety, government, and education reporting, her insights bridge multiple disciplines, offering readers a well-rounded perspective on today's technological advancements. Contact Her Team:- jaysukh.pharma@gmail.com [OR] admin@howtoisolve.com