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How to Get More Storage Space for Your iPhone or iPad

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Tobias is an online writer who likes to keep up-to-date with the latest technology trends.

So you bought your iPhone or iPad and you have been using it extensively. Music, apps, photos, and party videos are filling up your iPhone's memory space. After getting the "Not enough disk space left“ error too many times, you start asking yourself, "Why didn't I buy the model with more storage?" This is a good question since there is no official way to upgrade your iPhone disk space. Unfortunately, you cannot simply insert an SD card or USB drive to increase your memory.

The only thing you can do is buy a new iPhone with more storage. However, there are some alternative methods you can consider. Here are some ideas on how you could tweak your iPhone storage space. These ideas works with iPad as well.

Identify which apps and files are using space on your iPhone or iPad

Identify which apps and files are using space on your iPhone or iPad

1. Delete Unnecessary Files

On your iPhone/iPad, navigate to General -> Usage. Your device will show you how much storage is already used and how many GB are still available.

You will find a list of your apps indicating how much storage each one is using on your iPhone. You can get more information about the space that is being used by tapping on it.

You can directly delete apps that you are not using very often.

Some native apps cannot be deleted, like the music app. However, you can delete the app’s content. Click edit and you can delete all the music stored on your iPhone right away. Why you should do that? Read the next step.

With iCloud Music Library, you can access your music from anywhere without having it physically stored on your iPhone or iPad.

With iCloud Music Library, you can access your music from anywhere without having it physically stored on your iPhone or iPad.

2. Use iCloud Music Library for Storing Songs

Music typically takes up the most space on your phone. Thousands of songs can easily eat up a couple of gigabytes. Of course, you want to take as much music with you as possible. You may want to consider streaming your music to your iPhone instead of storing it there.

As a subscriber of Apple Music, you can store as many music files onto your iCloud Music Library as you like. These tracks can be downloaded directly to your phone.

Your complete Apple Music library will be accessible from your device anytime. You can download any song from your library by simply clicking on the iCloud icon next to it. This is done either through a Wi-Fi connection or cellular network. This will save you tons of space on your iPhone because you will only download songs that are needed. All other songs can be deleted from your phone; they will be saved in your iCloud. I have reduced the music library on my iPhone from 4 GB down to 996 MB. I am still able to access any song from my media library any time (as long as I am connected to the internet, of course).

Apple Music will cost you $9.99 per year, but it is a great investment to reduce your music app file size on your phone.

Use cloud storage apps for iPhone or iPad to store large files remotely.

Use cloud storage apps for iPhone or iPad to store large files remotely.

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3. Use Cloud Storage for Files

The same strategy for music can be applied to other data as well. Instead of saving files such as photos and videos on your iPhone's hard drive, you could upload them to a cloud service.

Instead of having your videos saved on your phone, you could upload them to Dropbox's remote server with the Dropbox iOS app. Dropbox gives you 2 GB free of charge. They also offer plans where you can upgrade to 500 GB.

Besides Dropbox, there are plenty of other cloud storage providers such as Box, Skydrive, or Bitcasa. Inform yourself about the provider you are using before uploading data there.

Note: Be aware that uploading data to remote servers always has some risks in terms of privacy protection. Do not put any sensitive data there. Think about which files are good enough to be uploaded to external providers and which ones should remain stored on your iPhone or iPad.

4. Add External Storage to Your iPhone Using a Wireless Drive

If you are not into cloud storage or if you simply need more gigabytes of space, I would recommend using a Wi-Fi-powered external storage system.

There are three types of external hard drive systems: wireless hard drives, wireless enclosures, and wireless USB flash/SD card adapters. What they all have in common is that they are equipped with a battery pack for mobile use and come with an app for iOS devices. These wireless storage solutions do not require any socket outlets or network infrastructure to let you access and store your photos, movies, and videos.

Portable Wi-Fi Hard Drives

Imagine a portable Wi-Fi hard drive that can be used as a regular external hard drive. The hard drive can be accessed via wireless LAN instead of USB or firewire cables. These work the same way as common external hard drives, except that they provide Wi-Fi connectivity. And they can work with your iPhone and iPad.

Portable Wi-Fi HDD Enclosures

Portable Wi-Fi drive cases basically provide the same functionality as the portable Wi-Fi drives. The difference is that you will have to put in your own 2.5" hard drive into the case. This is an affordable option if you already have an old hard drive lying around.

Portable USB Flash/SD Card Adapters

These adapters allow you to use a USB flash drive or SD card on your device. This technology is recommended for most users who want to upgrade their memory because it's light, easy, and affordable.


Although there is no way to really upgrade your iPhone or iPad's internal memory, there are plenty of options to work with the available storage space. Even users with the smallest storage availability can efficiently get by if they are using cloud-based services and cleaning up their device from time to time.

For those who really need a massive amount of additional local memory, an external storage solution is the best choice. This may be the best option if your iPhone only has 64GB. You could get the model with 256 GB, but that would be quite expensive. This is a clear indication that Apple will push users with the smaller storage models to use their iCloud features. While this provides more comfort for the user (files are not lost if the phone gets stolen), it is binding customers even more to the products and services of the Cupertino-based company.


Dora on January 06, 2015:

I really counld't ask for more from this article.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on December 13, 2014:

I am having this problem now and I had been deleting duplicate files as well as the old ones. I also emptied all my trash. It is not easy to transfer files in my iPad or my MacAir.

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