The words “Storage almost full” appearing on your iPhone is one of those head-slapping moments that tends to send us into panic mode. And it’s by no means a rare occurrence. The maximum iPhone storage capacity jumped from 4GB in 2011 to 512GB today, including photo storage. The rub is that we are taking more photos and videos than ever — about 1.4 trillion in 2021 and growing, according to Rise Above Research.
When it comes to phone storage, it’s important to understand that photos and videos are easily among the biggest space-swallowers. That’s especially true because the iPhone’s camera quality has increased with the release of each new mode, including the iPhone 12 Pro and ProMax, which can take photos in Apple ProRAW format.
Of course, you can choose to subscribe for more iCloud storage, at the tune of $12 per year for a tiny 50GB, $36 for 200GB, and $120 for 2TB. But there is a better way.
How to check your iPhone storage
Understanding exactly what’s filling up your iPhone, is easy. Simply go to Settings, select General and then click on iPhone Storage. At the top of the window, you’ll see a bar graph that breaks out your storage usage into categories such as Photos, Apps, Mail, Media, and the mysterious Other. (More on that in a moment.)
This gives you a snapshot of what’s filling your iPhone’s storage. Below that, you’ll find all your apps listed in descending order according to how much memory they’re using. Usually, a quick scan will reveal some obvious space-saving opportunities. Not playing that WWII zombie shooter game anymore? Time to let it go.
How to restore your iPhone storage
After you’ve deleted the apps you no longer need, go back to the bar graph. If “Other” is taking up a lot of space, you may want to do some tweaking. “Other” is Apple’s catch-all category. It includes your Internet browsing history, offline reading cache, media attachments from email and text messages, and other data that may no longer be needed. But it’s still taking up space.
There’s no one-shot solution to wiping the Other category. But a good place to start is the Safari cache. Open Settings then Safari and select Website Data. This will free up some space. (If you’re a Chrome user, open Google Chrome, go to Settings, and then Privacy, and Clear Browsing Data.)
Next, go back to iPhone Storage and scan the list of apps. Do you see multiple GB of storage next to a podcast, music, or other streaming app? Then it’s likely your phone is storing content that you may no longer want. Try deleting the app and downloading it again.
Another quick fix is to cull your text messages to change the Keep Messages setting in Messages from Forever to 1 Year or 30 Days.
Using a smart photo storage app will free up space on your iPhone
If you’re like most people who snap a few daily pictures and maybe a video here and there, chances are that photos and videos are eating up a lot of your iPhone storage.
You can try to stay on top of it by regularly curating and deleting, or by using an off-the-shelf cloud solution such as iCloud Photos, Flickr, or Google Photos.
But if you’re serious about your photos and videos — if you’re serious about your memories — you need a long-term fix that expertly sorts and stores your images without overwhelming your phone’s storage capacity. A fast-growing number of photo enthusiasts today rely on Mylio, a photo storage and management app that keeps all your digital images in a single library that’s accessible on all your devices.
How Mylio works: Protect your original images and free up phone storage
Mylio’s unique technology allows you to conveniently edit, organize, and enjoy your photos anywhere, even without an internet connection. It does this while automatically minimizing the storage space consumed by your photos on your iPhone. It truly is the iPhone photo storage solution.
After Mylio merges all your photos into a single library, it automatically replicates them across all your devices so you can view all your photos on each device. During Mylio set-up, you choose one or more locations (usually your computer or external hard drive) to store full-size copies of your original files. On your phone and other devices with limited free storage, Mylio auto-optimizes your images so you won’t hit any limits.
In addition, Mylio is platform agnostic. That means if your laptop is a Mac but your phone is an Android and your tablet runs Windows, you’re covered. It’s great for families and small businesses where people are using a mix of products and platforms.
To try Mylio for free, download the app now.
Eric Perret is a self-described word nerd who is a Seattle-based content strategist, editor, and writer with a passion for photography.