How to clear iCloud storage

We all face that dreaded message saying our Apple cloud storage is almost full. Unless you have an iCloud subscription, then you would not be reading this article. Apple only provides 5 Gb of cloud storage with the purchase of any Apple device. And honestly, it’s not a lot to save all our photos and videos.

You have the option to increase the storage limit with a subscription but we got an even better deal. We can create more storage by removing unwanted and junk data from the Apple cloud. We can remove all the unwanted photos and videos to squeeze more space out without spending any money.

The good thing or bad in this case is that all the data on your device gets automatically saved on the cloud. But this can cause the problem of storage getting filled up quickly. The backup is not limited to images and videos, it also includes app data, contacts, emails, and more.

How to clear iCloud storage

Also, if you do not want to back up everything then you can easily disable it from Settings with a few simple steps. Wake up your iPhone and go to Settings -> <Your name> -> iCloud -> Photos.

Aside from removing images and videos, you can also choose to remove text messages. However, this will not save much space if any at all since text messages only take a few bytes. But if you remove multiple conversations then you might be able to save up some space. If you want to know more about iCloud then check out the:

How to clear iCloud storage

Delete photos from iCloud storage

If you have not changed any iCloud settings, then all your photos and videos will be automatically backed up on the iCloud. The best way to get some storage out of iCloud is by removing all the unwanted images and videos.

You can easily remove images and videos from your iCloud with your iPhone, iPad, Mac, and iCloud website. If Google Photos is working on your iPhone all your images and videos will be backed up there. You can use Google Photos to keep all the images/videos. And use iCloud only for very important images and videos. This way you can save up a lot of iCloud storage without paying for a subscription.

Delete files and folders from the iCloud website

If you are storing files and folders on iCloud then removing them will shave up some megabytes from your iCloud storage. Follow the steps mentioned below to remove any file or folder from iCloud:

  1. Wake up your Apple device and open the iCloud app.
  2. Log in the iCloud with your Apple ID if required.
  3. Now click on “iCloud drive” and select the file/folder you want to delete.
  4. Now you should get the delete option after selecting.
  5. Click on the delete icon and the file/folder should be deleted.
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NOTE: If you want to delete multiple files/folders then you can do it by clicking and holding down the “Ctrl” button and clicking on all the files/folders you want to delete. (for Mac)

Tap and drag your finger across all the files/folders you want to delete and then release it.

Delete unwanted files in iCloud Drive from your iPad or iPhone

This is similar to the previous method, if you have multiple files/folders on your iCloud then removing them will clean up a lot of storage. Follow the steps mentioned below to remove unwanted files:

  1. Wake up your Apple device and open the iCloud app.
  2. Go through the files and folders on your iCloud and delete them as you go.
  3. Once you are done, you can go to “Recently deleted” and permanently delete all the unwanted files/folders.

NOTE: If you don’t want to delete any file/folder permanently then you can either keep it in recently deleted for 30 days. After 30 days all the recently deleted files will be deleted permanently.
Or you can download the file/folder and store it locally on your iPhone or Mac. You can buy external storage to store all the files in one place without paying for a subscription.

Delete app backups from iCloud on your iPhone or iPad

Since iCloud backup everything on your iPhone includes app data. If you have a high number of apps on your iPhone then over time your iCloud storage will be filled. You will not realize that it’s getting filled since all backups happen in the background.

Follow the steps mentioned below to delete app backups from your iCloud:

  1. Wake up your iPhone and go to the “Settings” app and then tap on your account name (it should be at the top of the screen).
  2. Now tap on “iCloud” and select “Manage Storage” from the available options.
  3. Tap on “Backup” and the list of all Apple devices should be visible. Select the device which you don’t use very often or your daily driver.
  4. Once you click on your device, under “Choose data to back up” you should be able to see a list of apps that take up the most amount of space on iCloud.
  5. From here you can turn off the backup for any of the apps by swiping the button on the left.
  6. If you want to see the complete list of apps that have a backup on iCloud, then you can click on “Show all apps” for the same.
  7. Now you can repeat the last 2 steps to remove app backup for other apps.

Delete voice memos from iCloud on your iPhone or iPad

You may not know but your voice memos are backed up on the iCloud if you have not changed any default settings. This can slowly fill up the iCloud storage and you will be left baffled. Follow the steps mentioned below to delete voice memos from your iCloud:

  1. Wake up your Apple device and open the “Voice memos” app.
  2. Now, swipe left in the voice memo app and tap on the delete icon.
  3. Once you have removed all the unwanted voice memos, you can go to “Recently deleted” and permanently delete them.

NOTE: All your deleted voice memos will stay in the recently deleted folder for 30 days. After it, all the memos will be permanently deleted automatically.

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Delete text messages and their large attachments on an iPhone or iPad

We would not suggest deleting text messages since it will not free up any significant amount of storage. However, if the chat has large attachments like photos and videos then it can free up some space. You can try it for yourself by following the steps mentioned below:

  1. Wake up your iPhone and then head over to the “Message” app.
  2. Inside the Message app and find the conversation which you want to delete. (The conversation should have attachments.)
  3. Select the person’s name and choose “Info” by clicking on the i-icon.
  4. Now the photos should appear on the grip, you can scroll and tap on “See all photos” to view all the media.
  5. Once you pick the photo you want to remove, click on “Delete” and it will be deleted.
  6. Open the iMessage app and select the thread you want to delete and swipe left to delete.

How to delete a backup from iCloud

When should you delete old backups from iCloud?

If you regularly create backups for your iPhone and all your data is stored on your iPhone along with the cloud. Then you can safely delete the backup without any issues. Having a local backup is very important in case of accidental deletion of the backup.

But if you don’t have any locally stored backup or your data is not stored on iPhone or other cloud storage. Then we would suggest you first back up your data and then only the backup stored on the iCloud.

What to consider in advance?

Before you delete any type of backup from your iCloud, you should check if the backup on iCloud is outdated. If it is not then you should create a backup on another cloud storage. But if it is, then you can delete it without any issue.

The best way to back up your data is to use the 3-2-1 backup rule to avoid data loss. It states that:

3 -> The number of data versions to save (2 copies and 1 original).

2 -> Two types of media (like external storage and cloud storage).

1 -> One copy of the backup should be able to recover everything.

Now that we know everything we need to know before removing the backup from iCloud. We can get into how to can delete the backup.

Delete iCloud backup using iPhone or iPad

Please make sure you know everything you should do before deleting the backup to avoid data loss. We would suggest that you should have at least one copy of the backup to avoid any data loss.

Follow the steps mentioned below to delete the backup from iCloud via iPhone/iPad:

  1. Wake up your iPhone and head over to the “Settings” app.
  2. Tap on your account name (should be at the top of the screen) and launch the Apple ID account.
  3. Tap on “iCloud” and then select “Manage storage”.
  4. Now select “Backups” from the options and then you will be able to see all your existing backups.
  5. Pick the backup which you want to delete and then tap on “Delete backup”.
  6. Tap on “Deactivate and delete” to confirm the deletion of the selected backup.
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Delete the iPhone backup in “Manage Storage”

Whenever we delete any backup from iCloud, the auto backup will turn off automatically. We do not want this since it will result in old backups staying on iCloud and no new backups being created. You can easily undo this with two simple steps:

  1. Wake up your iPhone and head over to the “Settings” app and then look for “iCloud”.
  2. Now select your Apple ID and then activate the “iCloud backup” with just a click. And we are all done now!

NOTE: You can use other free cloud storage solutions like Google Drive to store your backup safely. However, we would recommend you use safe and reputed cloud storage. Otherwise, the data can be leaked, resulting in a privacy breach.

Delete iCloud backup using a Mac

If you prefer working with a Mac then we got you covered. Here we are going to see how you can remove the iCloud backup from a Mac with a few simple steps.

Follow the steps mentioned below to delete iCloud backup:

  1. Power up your Mac and go to your Mac’s System Settings.
  2. Now, you should be able to see “iCloud” under the “Apple ID” tab.
  3. Click on “Manage” and then look for “Backups”.
  4. Find the device you want to remove the backup of and then hit “Delete”. You are all done now!

Delete iCloud backups on Windows

If you are a Windows user then you can create new backups for your Windows and delete the old ones from iCloud. Follow the steps mentioned below to delete the iCloud backup.

  1. Open your Windows device and launch the iCloud app.
  2. Now you should be able to see the “Storage” option and select the backup you want to remove by clicking on “Backups” under it.
  3. Confirm to delete the backup and you are all done!


In the article, we saw how we can delete the iCloud backup on different devices. Along with it, we also saw what precautions you should take to prevent any data loss.
We would suggest you keep your images and videos on an external drive or Google Photos. And keep all the text messages, mail, and backups on the Apple iCloud. You should keep critical data on iCloud since it’s very secure and reliable.

But if you have any doubts or are stuck anywhere then you can put them down in the comment section below. We are more than happy to help out our readers.