iPhone and iPad

This Clever iPhone Trick Can Free Up a Lot of Wasted Data

Ben Stegner 12-04-2016

Phone storage space is always a concern, and Apple hasn’t upgraded the minimum storage of their newest phones for a while. Buying a 16 GB iPhone is a bad idea Live Photos & 4K: Why You Shouldn’t Buy a 16GB iPhone 6s If you want to take advantage of the new iPhone 6s camera, you'll probably want to avoid picking the 16GB storage option. Read More , due to the large space requirements of 4K video, Live Photos, and app sizes that are constantly growing.


There are steps you can take to manage your limited iPhone space Maximize Your Limited Storage Space On iPhone: Here’s How The iPhone’s lack of expandable storage has always been a sore point. The memory in the device when it’s purchased is all it will ever have. Need more? Buy a new iPhone. Apple has increased... Read More , but a new seemingly counter-intuitive tip allows you to clear out lots of space  — potentially even gigabytes — with little effort.

To utilize this tip, you simply need to try to download a movie from iTunes that you don’t have enough storage space for. You’ll want to double-check this first, because if you actually have enough space, you’ll be charged for the movie rental (it won’t charge you if you’re short). To check this, head to Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage and confirm the amount of space you have.

Now, head to iTunes on your phone and try to download a movie that’s bigger than your free space. Some good choices are War and Peace (1956) at 8.86 GB or Cleopatra at 10.3 GB. Click Rent and after a few moments, you’ll be told that you don’t have enough space.

Click Settings in this pop-up and again under Storage & iCloud Usage, you should see your free space has increased by several hundred megabytes. Repeat this process a few times until you aren’t freeing up any more space and you could have a couple gigabytes reclaimed!


This process is just deleting old temporary files that your phone doesn’t need but are taking up space, and this is a convenient method to do it in just a few minutes.

Speaking of movies and iPhones, did you know there are awesome short movies filmed entirely on an iPhone 5+ Awesome iPhone Movies Guaranteed to Entertain You To inspire you in your quest to make movies on your iPhone, let's look at five short films (plus some bonus videos) to see what filmmakers have been doing with their iDevices. Read More ?

How much space did you free up using this method? Tell us how you manage if you’re stuck on a 16 GB iPhone in the comments!

Image Credit: Denys Prykhodov via Shutterstock.com

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  1. saiyanman
    June 28, 2016 at 4:13 am

    This is excellent! I got back 900MB! Still, I don't know where another 600MB has been wasted.

  2. Nikolay Danchev
    May 3, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    In my Ipad I had a big effect , freed about 2 GB! Thank you so much! But my iphone 6, unfortunately ha? no effect! Repeatedly I tried. Why? Please help me!
    Nikolay Danchev

  3. Claude
    April 19, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    I got 1.7GB Thanks !!

  4. Ishumittal
    April 15, 2016 at 10:03 am

    I got more than 1gb thanks..?

    • Ben Stegner
      April 15, 2016 at 3:15 pm

      You're welcome! Glad to help.

  5. Rob
    April 13, 2016 at 4:40 am

    Started with 100MB free, after the first try I had 1GB free, after the 2nd time I had 2.5GB free. Thanks!

    • Ben Stegner
      April 13, 2016 at 3:16 pm

      That's awesome! You're welcome!

  6. Cecilia
    April 13, 2016 at 2:48 am

    It only clears a few MB for me AND I actually did get charged by iTunes for 2 pending downloads, so be careful about this strategy. It wouldn't let me clear the pending downloads from the download list either. I will say that iTunes support was pretty good about removing the charges and helping me clear the downloads, though.

    • Ben Stegner
      April 13, 2016 at 3:17 pm

      Did you check to make sure you didn't have enough free space first? Perhaps the few megabytes you cleared the first time put you over the amount you needed.

      Regardless, I'm sorry that happened to you and glad you got it sorted out.

  7. Tankboy
    April 12, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    Um, I cleared up about 3 GB! This is a great little trick! I use iPhone Clean and this opened up more free space than it ever has!

    • Ben Stegner
      April 12, 2016 at 8:51 pm

      That's a ton of space, way to go! Got any plans for that new space?

  8. Anonymous
    April 12, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    Iobit produces a little program called iFreeUp for Mac and Windows desktops that does this in a traditional cleanup-app style. It doesn't require jailbreaking or anything like that, and though I'm loyal to Android, I've used it on my son's iPhone 6S to great success.

    You need iTunes on the applicable system, and then just plug your phone into a USB port. Very simple and efficient, and it doesn't disturb anything important.

    [Broken URL Removed]

    • Ben Stegner
      April 12, 2016 at 8:51 pm

      It's nice to know there's a utility like this! It's nice to be able to do it using this method without any extra software or a computer, but I bet this gives more flexibility.

      It's funny that these apps abound on Android (most of them crap) but there are few on iOS.

      • Anonymous
        April 12, 2016 at 11:12 pm

        The Walled Garden...it's a sin to tamper with your iPhone! :)

  9. Anonymous
    April 12, 2016 at 10:10 am

    1,6GB awesome! I wish Apple would add a clear cache & temp files button already but this will definitely do until then! Thank you!

    • Ben Stegner
      April 12, 2016 at 8:50 pm

      That's a nice amount of space! Got any plans for using it?

  10. MMedeiros
    April 12, 2016 at 9:57 am


    • Ben Stegner
      April 12, 2016 at 8:49 pm

      That's great! Every little bit is more space for apps or photos.