How to Free Up Storage on iPhone Without Deleting Anything (Photos, Apps, Etc.)

Finding yourself constantly battling with your iPhone’s storage alerts, but not ready to part with any photos, apps, or personal content? You’re not alone. Many seek ways to free up space on their iPhone without deleting precious memories or essential apps. Fortunately, there are an aabundance of ways to achieve just that. From optimizing your media storage to smart management of temporary files and making the most of web solutions, in this article provide clear steps to reclaim your space. And why take our word for it? The proof lies in the performance and newfound storage capacity of your device after applying these tips.

Is Cleaning Storage Without Deleting Anything Possible?

Did you ever wonder if it’s feasible to free up space on your phone without deleting precious photos, apps, or other personal content? The good news is that while there are limitations to how much you can achieve without removing any files there are several ways to optimize your iPhone’s storage without having to delete anything important.

  • Optimize Photos and Videos: This approach involves reducing the file size of your media without significant loss of quality. Techniques include converting images to more efficient formats like HEIC, which offers high-quality images at smaller sizes, and editing media to lower resolutions or lengths.
  • Clear Temporary Data for Additional Space: iPhones accumulate temporary files and cache data over time, which can consume considerable space. Clearing browser cache, app cache, and other temporary files can recover storage space without affecting personal content.
  • Make the Most of the Internet: Leveraging cloud storage options allows you to move photos, videos, and documents off your device while keeping them accessible. Streaming services reduce the need to store music and videos locally. Regular iOS updates can also introduce new storage management features and optimizations.

Each way will allow you to free up some storage space while making sure that your valuable content remains intact.

Optimize Photos and Videos

Optimizing your iPhone’s photo and video storage is a key method for freeing up space without deleting your cherished memories. Here’s how you can achieve this:

Utilize iCloud Photo Optimization

Activating iCloud Photo Optimization allows your iPhone to store high-resolution versions of your photos and videos in iCloud, while keeping smaller, space-saving versions on your device. This helps free up storage without losing access to your media.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone and tap on Your Name to access Apple ID settings.tap on Your Name to access Apple ID
  2. Choose iCloud to manage iCloud settings.manage iCloud settings
  3. Select Photos.icloud photos settings
  4. Turn on Optimize iPhone Storage. This setting ensures that only storage-efficient versions of photos and videos are kept on the device, with originals stored in iCloud.Optimize iPhone Storage

This method is ideal for freeing up space while ensuring your photos and videos are easily accessible. However, there’s an obvious catch: accessing the full-resolution versions of your photos and videos will require an internet connection, and if you reach your iCloud storage limit, you might need to purchase additional space from Apple.

Manage Burst Photos and Screenshots

Regularly managing burst photos and screenshots can significantly free up storage. Burst photos, often taken inadvertently, can accumulate quickly, and screenshots might be less useful over time.

  1. Open the Photos app and go to your Albums.go to your Albums
  2. Look for the Bursts album or use the search feature to find all burst photos. Review these and keep only the best shots.keep burst shot
  3. Similarly, check your Screenshots album for duplicate screenshots or those you no longer need.delete screenshot

By periodically cleaning out unnecessary burst shots and screenshots, you’ll recover valuable storage space. Keep in mind, though, that once deleted, these cannot be recovered unless backed up elsewhere.

Convert Live Photos to Still Images

Converting Live Photos to still images can free up space, as Live Photos consist of a still image paired with a video clip, increasing their file size.

  1. Open a Live Photo in the Photos app.Open a Live Photo
  2. Tap on “…” button and select Duplicate.Open Live Photo settings
  3. Choose “Duplicate as Still Photo” to convert the Live Photo to a still image. You can now get rid of original live photo or offload it to a cloud storage (more on this later).Duplicate as Still Photo

This process reduces the storage each photo uses. Remember, converting to a still image means losing the motion part of the Live Photo, so consider this before converting cherished memories.

Adopt HEIC Format for New Photos

Switching to the High Efficiency Image Format (HEIC) for new photos can significantly reduce their file size without compromising quality. This format is especially beneficial for devices running iOS 11 and later.

  1. Go to Settings on your iPhone.Go to Settings
  2. Select Camera, then tap on Formats.Go to camera formats
  3. Choose High Efficiency to enable HEIC format.

Adopting HEIC for new photos helps conserve storage space. However, be aware that HEIC might not be compatible with all devices or services, so check compatibility if you plan to share these photos.

By following these advices, you can significantly reduce the space occupied by photos and videos, thus freeing up storage on your iPhone without deleting anything.

Clear Temporary Data for Additional Space

Temporary files, like cache and app data, can accumulate over time, taking up  space on your device. Clearing these can help reclaim storage without impacting anything you actually wish to keep on your phone.

Built-in iOS Options for Clearing Cache

Clearing cache and other temporary data directly through iOS settings can help free up space without removing any personal content. Here’s a step-by-step guide for Safari, one of the most common areas where cache accumulates:

  1. Open the Settings app, scroll down, and tap on Safari.safari settings
  2. Within Safari’s settings, find and tap on the option to Clear History and Website Data.find the option to Clear History and Website Data
  3. Confirm to remove history, cookies, and other browsing data. Note that this action will log you out from websites you’ve been browsing.Confirm to remove history

For apps that do not offer a direct way to clear cache within iOS settings, check within the app’s own settings or preferences for any available options to clear cache or data.

Third-Party Apps for In-Depth Cleaning

For more thorough cleaning beyond what’s available through iOS’s built-in features, several third-party apps can help. Here are three highly-rated options:

  • Boost Cleaner – Clean Up Smart: Boost Cleaner excels in eliminating temporary files that clog your system. It dives deep into your iPhone’s storage, uncovering cache files, cookie traces, and other residual data from your daily usage. By purging these unnecessary files, Boost Cleaner restores valuable space and enhances your device’s efficiency.Boost Cleaner - Clean Up Smart
  • Cleanup: Phone Storage Cleaner: Cleanup focuses on decluttering your iPhone from the inside out, targeting temporary files, cache, and other hidden junk that accumulates over time. It also offers photo compression and duplicate removal, but its strength lies in its thorough cleansing of the files you don’t see, making more room for what matters.Cleanup: Phone Storage Cleaner
  • Top Cleaner – Clean Up Storage: Top Cleaner provides a detailed analysis of your iPhone’s storage, pinpointing areas where temporary and cache data linger unnecessarily. By focusing on these often-overlooked areas, Top Cleaner efficiently recovers storage space, ensuring your device remains fast and responsive.Top Cleaner - Clean Up Storage

Each of these apps offers a unique set of features designed to improve your iPhone’s storage situation. Depending on your specific needs, you may find one more suitable than the others.

Make the Most of the Internet

Leveraging the internet for accessing media and documents can significantly free up space on your device without having to delete personal content.

Stream Music and Movies

Streaming services offer a vast library of music and movies without the need to store them on your device. Here’s how to make the most of these services:

  1. Identify your preferred streaming platforms. Popular choices include Spotify for music and Netflix or Hulu for movies and TV shows.
  2. Download the respective app from the App Store. Ensure you’re downloading the official app to avoid security risks.Download the streaming app
  3. Create an account or sign in if you already have one. Many services offer a range of subscription options, including free tiers with ads or premium subscriptions for ad-free experiences.Create an account or sign in
  4. Explore the library and start streaming. You can search for specific titles, browse curated playlists or recommendations, and even download content for offline viewing in some cases, which can be managed to minimize storage use.Explore the library

By streaming your entertainment, you can save significant storage space that would otherwise be used for large media files, keeping your device’s storage free for other important uses.

Use Cloud Storage for Documents

Opting for cloud storage solutions allows you to access and manage your documents without storing them locally on your device, thus freeing up storage. Here’s how to leverage these services effectively:

  1. Select a suitable cloud storage service. Popular options include Google Drive, Dropbox, and Microsoft OneDrive, each offering various storage plans to accommodate your needs.
  2. Install the service’s app from the App Store. Make sure to download the official version to ensure the security of your data.Install the service's app
  3. Sign up for an account or log in if you already have one. Most services offer a basic free tier with the option to upgrade for more storage.sign up for an account or log in
  4. Begin uploading your documents to the cloud. You can usually do this from within the app or by using the service’s website on a computer.Begin uploading your documents to the cloud
  5. Organize your files in the cloud. Create folders, set sharing permissions, and take advantage of collaboration features to work on documents with others in real time.

By storing your documents in the cloud, you not only save space on your iPhone but also ensure your files are backed up and accessible from any device with internet access.

Update to the Latest iOS

Keeping your iPhone up to date with the latest iOS version can help optimize its performance and sometimes even free up storage space due to system improvements and optimizations. Here’s how to check for and install an iOS update:

  1. Open the Settings app on your settings
  2. Tap General, then select Software Software Update
  3. Your device will check for available updates. If an update is available, you’ll see an option to Update Now.
  4. Tap it to start the update process. Make sure your device is connected to Wi-Fi and has enough battery charge, or plug it into a charger to ensure the update completes successfully.
  5. Follow any on-screen instructions to complete the installation. Your device may need to restart during the process.

Updating your iOS ensures you have the latest features and security enhancements while sometimes it also can help manage storage through system optimizations.

Adopting these practices allows you to enjoy a vast array of content and access important files without compromising your iPhone’s storage capacity.


Freeing your iPhone’s storage doesn’t have to mean losing what matters most to you. By following advices above, such as optimizing photos and videos, clearing out temporary data, and leveraging internet-based services, you can free up space on your phone without deleting anything important. Remember, regular maintenance and being mindful of how you store data can keep those dreaded ‘Storage Almost Full’ notifications at bay. So, embrace these practices, and enjoy a more organized iPhone, all while keeping your valuable content right where you want it – safely stored on your iPhone.


Optimizing photos and videos is designed to reduce file size with minimal impact on visible quality. Techniques such as the High Efficiency Image Format (HEIC) and iCloud’s Optimize Storage feature work by compressing files more efficiently. While there might be a slight reduction in quality when viewed at a professional or high-resolution level, for everyday viewing on your device or standard monitors, the difference is generally imperceptible. It’s a trade-off that balances storage savings with maintaining satisfactory visual quality.
The frequency of clearing temporary files and cache depends on your device usage. A general guideline is to perform this maintenance monthly to prevent unnecessary data buildup that can slow down your device. If you frequently download, install, and uninstall apps or browse the internet extensively, you might benefit from clearing cache and temporary files more frequently. Keeping a regular check ensures your device remains speedy and has ample storage for new content and apps.
Offloading an app does temporarily remove the app itself from your iPhone, freeing up the storage space the app was using. However, it doesn’t delete the app’s documents and data. This means that if you decide to reinstall the app later, your data and settings will be restored, allowing you to use the app as before without any loss of information.
Yurii Kulynych is a skilled professional who continues to work in Quality Assurance (QA) for InsanelyMac while also starting to write articles. He has a strong eye for detail and extensive experience in ensuring content quality, especially in areas like data recovery, understanding macOS/iOS, and storage solutions for Apple devices. Yurii excels in writing easy-to-follow guides and putting together helpful toolkits.
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