Even though Apple gives iCloud users 5 GB of space, many people use up that small amount storage. Instead of paying for extra space, you can clear up room with just a few tweaks.
To check what’s taking up space, on your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > iCloud > Storage > Manage Storage. Here’s where you can see what’s taking up all the space.
Get Rid of Old Backups
If you switched iOS devices, you probably have an old backup hanging out in your account. If an old backup is taking up space, delete that backup. Tap on the name of the device and then tap Delete Backup.
Reduce the Size of Your Backups
Even if you get rid of your old backup, some device backups can take a large amount of space. To keep the backup slim, prune what data iOS is backing up. On each device backed up from iCloud, go to Settings > iCloud > Storage > Manage Storage and click on your device. Here you can tell your iPhone or iPad what not to backup. You’ll probably find a few apps you use but don’t care about. Other apps have data you could probably download again. A good example is the Headspace app. I can download the lessons again so there’s no need to waste space on my iCloud account for them.
Delete App Data From iCloud
Lots of apps store data on your iCloud account so you can sync between your devices. If you don’t need that function, or no longer use the app, delete the information from iCloud. Again, go to Settings > iCloud > Storage > Manage Storage. This time click Documents and Data. If you want to delete all the data for that app, tap Edit and then either tap Delete All or tap the red circle next to each item to selectively delete data from iCloud.
Remove Mail from iCloud
Even if you’ve never opened it, most iCloud accounts also have an email address associated with it. Depending on when you first signed up for iCloud it could be a @me.com, @mac.com or an @icloud.com address. Some people stop using that account, but Apple’s still storing your stuff. The easiest way to manage this account is from the iCloud website.
Go to the iCloud website and then login to your account. Click the mail icon and that will put you into your iCloud mail. The first thing is to sort through your junk mail folder. Mark anything you want as Not Junk and trash the rest. Next, look for large messages. From your inbox click “Sort by Date” and switch it to Sort by Size. Backup or forward those messages you want to keep, and then delete the other messages to save space.
If You Must Buy More Space
For about $12 a year, you can add 15 gigs of space to your iCloud account. For some people that might be the easiest option.
Also, make sure to not let your iCloud account fully run out of space. That will prevent you from backing up to iCloud.