phonespaceIt's a problem. iOS device space is at a premium. Each year, the hardware improves in iPhones and iPads which leads to even bigger and more impressive gaming experiences. Because of this, the games themselves are also increasing in size. A game topping the 1GB mark is the norm, with many games even hitting the 2GB and 3GB mark when actually installed on a device. That's not even taking into account movies, music or other media which can take up precious device space. As an owner of a 64GB iPhone, the largest capacity iPhone available, even I have trouble juggling which apps and media to have installed at any given time, and frankly there just isn't enough space to have everything I want installed at once. I can't even imagine what life is like for 16GB device owners, or even owners of older 8GB devices.

The good news is that there are some steps you can take to ensure you're always maximizing your device's space limitations. Vovin, a long-time TouchArcade forum member, has taken it upon himself to write up a little guide on doing just that. It's titled Guide To Clean-Up And Managing Memory On Your iDevice, and it features both technical tips on how to clean up device space as well as some good practices for utilizing your space in a way that's the most useful to you.

For example, as any avid iOS gamer knows there's simply far too many good games day in and day out to be actively playing them all the time. In fact, a long-running joke around the TouchArcade community is that finding, buying and collecting cool iOS games is more of a game than playing the games themselves. We're all iOS game hoarders to some extent. Well, one of Vovin's tips is to make a list in the Notes app on your device of games which you haven't played in over a month. Chances are if you haven't played it in that long then you aren't likely to play it any time soon. Then you can safely delete said game to free up some space, but since you have a record of those games you're deleting, if you ever do squeeze in the time to try out that one game you bought on sale but never got around to trying, you'll be able to re-download it again. Of course, you'll need to be careful with not wiping the progress of games that you have played a bit of and don't want to lose, so be mindful of that, but it's a nice tip nonetheless for dealing with big backlog of games.

Now, that particular guide talks about using a file exploring program and actively unneeded files from your device. Whenever you're diving in and messing around with an iOS device's files in a way that's not condoned by Apple, there's risk involved. The guide starts with a disclaimer that we fully agree with, and should go without saying, but changing your device's files is something you should do at your own risk, and always make sure you're backed up to iCloud or your computer in case something does go awry and you need to restore to a previous state. That said, it's a handy collection of tips that we thought some of our readers might find value in, so be sure to check it out.

  • PallaZ

    First advice: Delete IB3

    • Tim Jordan

      What is IB3?

      • Rivalsan

        Infinity Blade 3.

  • iPodHacker1O1

    Good advice

  • Earth Vs. Me

    I have a 16GB iPhone, and I manage just fine. In fact if Apple made an 8GB iPhone, I would have probably bought one instead. I don't feel any need to have tons of music, movies, and apps on my phone. I prefer to just store whichever couple albums I'm in the mood for day by day, whichever movie I plan on watching next, and whatever 2-3 games I'm in the middle of. Add in a couple graphic novels for light reading, and I'm good to go, with several gigs to spare.

    Remember the days of Game Boys and portable CD players? We didn't carry around stacks of game cartridges and CDs around, just the ones we were currently in the middle of. Same mindset applies to smartphones too.

    • REkzkaRZ

      Impressive minimalism.
      I am not like you.

  • 2banrey7

    Taking this advice started downloading millions of apps and when I get bored of them delete them but keep a note of it as u might go back to it

  • JCman7

    Wow I'm not the only one who uses notes to keep track of apps I delete but still want to play πŸ™‚

    • sakara214ever

      No!!!! You are not alone out there... πŸ˜‰

    • Atomos

      I always envisioned an app that you could add deleted games to and keep track of them. It'd look similar to the apple app screen, and when you click an icon instead of launching the app it just launches the link to the App Store to redownload it.

  • FIFTHSUN2012

    Good to know I'm not the only game collector.

  • cloudpuff

    I forget all about the notes app, it's in folder somewhere and I never think to use it, but I do have a pretty little notebook in which I write all the games I've dloaded on that day, In alphabetical order, I'll also note the price and genre with a little mark out of five, or a star if I really loved it, I'll put a check mark in the margins so I know I've left a review.


    There's some great tips in the thread and I'm gonna spend a few hours tomorrow removing all the shite from my iPad.

  • rewind

    I am one of the sad people with a 16 GB iPhone. It's pretty much full, with only a page and a half of apps. Meanwhile, my 8 GB third-generation iPod touch was able to hold eight pages of stuff. Things back them were about 30 MB each, and some of the quality EA games (yes, there were quality EA games) were just over 300 MB. It's crazy how much larger these games have gotten.

  • nicodemus82

    There's a PC application called Tongbu that has a "clear trash" option. It will delete all sorts of cookies, files left over from app uninstalls etc.. I was able to clear up almost a gig that I was completely unaware was recoverable.

    • Chaz42

      If you are jailbroken there is "ICleaner Pro" which will do this right on your iDevice. Very nice app. It removed over 3GB of temporary files, caches, and unused items for me.

  • nicoper

    It may be something wrong with me, but I have owned my iPod for more than a year and hasnt bought a single app/in app purchase. I just go for full versions of stuff when it goes free πŸ˜€

    • nini

      You're right, there's something wrong with you.

      • StealthDawg

        There's something VERY wrong him him.

    • REkzkaRZ

      WOW! That's really amazing!
      (But a lot of people on here hate freeloaders on here. Not me, I just like making sarcastic quips.)

    • β­ζ²›ιœ–β­γŠ—

      pathetic low life , the game industry would have been crash & burn if there are more Douche like u .. gee ! u are worthless

      I can't even imagine what life is like for owning ios devices & a mac and actually NOT buying anything

  • scrotally

    I used to use notes but now I use an appshopper app to categorize all the apps I have purchased, liked or would like to check out later. If you are a gadget geek 16 gigs is a constant battle. My music and games are at a minimum and I never store movies. It's the other 100 useful apps that I want to keep on my phone that are the problem.

  • loganexplosion

    Mine keeps saying I'm out of storage when I have over 12GB.. What gives???

    • D. Bida

      Sure it isn't talking about icloud storage?

      • loganexplosion

        Never used iCloud.. But that says I have 5GB free

  • Jon Gregory

    This really isn't a huge problem, just keep the games on your device that you're actually playing... then dump them when you're done.

  • Stabaath

    I have a 16 gb iphone4 and I am so ready to upgrade to the iphone5s 64gb. I just never have enough room but i do use the iclean app which clears up a lot of junk space. I'm just ready to get rid of this 16gb iPhone!

    • cloudpuff

      Do you know any similar apps, I can't find this one on the App Store, the once ones I can find are for merging duplicate contacts.

  • peaThere

    how can you delete music files from your phone without using a computer. I have songs that I do not listen to but I cannot erase therefore takes up space. please help

    • ZarieoZ

      You just swipe the song title to the left & the delete button will appear, click it, just like you delete everything else on iOS (messages...etc) but note that once you sync with iTunes & the song is still on your iTunes (the playlist you are syncing to iPhone) it will be added to iPhone again.

      What I do is when I delete songs from my iPhone, I write their names in the notes app so I can delete them later on from my computer (playlist).

      Anyway, if you don't sync at all, just delete them from iPhone like I told you in the first paragraph. Hope I was able to get the point through πŸ™‚

      • peaThere

        Thanks that was very helpful

  • Scot Damn

    That screen shot of Usage date is criminal. There is such a thing as Dropbox for your pictures and no one should ever have 2.6 gigs of iMessages. You're a serious offender!

    I just create folders for different genres. Then I delete as necessary when I see new games. No need to make a note because iTunes keeps track of all your downloads. I don't like to over complicate space issues. I'm also totally fine with resetting my device once or twice a year after a complete backup. Easy stuff.

    • QuarterSwede

      Have you ever used the App Store to Redownload anything? If you have over 100 app downloads it's almost impossible to find the app you're looking for. They seriously need to add a search option of at least categories.

      • Scot Damn

        Of course I've redownloaded apps. I use the search if I know what I'm looking for. Sometimes I just browse my purchased list to stumble on oldies I've forgotten about.

      • dariusjr98

        Totally agree, I go to the App Store in search of games sometimes, only to find out I already own it.

  • Raider_-z

    This won't even work for me my new I pad air is a prototype I got from apple it's an 8 gig but really only holds 2.9 of space yea it sucks

    • one.sixty.four

      Really? A prototype from apple? I don't think so. Plus, a formatted 8GB device holds 6.4GB ( I dealt with an iPod 4 8GB for a year).

      • Raider_-z

        No really my aunt is a CEO for Apple California it only holds 2.9 gigs couldn't sell it either gstop wouldn't take it so it's worthless

      • Mess

        If you really had this you would no that it's not at all worthless. Apple prototypes go for big bucks on eBay etc...

        Also isn't the internet great, you can be whoever you want to be, and say what ever you like. Well I must go, my iWatch alarm is telling me it's time to play IB4 on my iPad pro.

  • Kane

    My 3 terabyte hard drive takes care of my data. Now that I'm jailbroken.. I can find a tweak so I can hook my HD to my iPhone, and watch movies from there πŸ™‚ but games are issue with 16gb storage.

  • imdakine1

    Any idea on how to truly delete iMessages? It's easy to delete the message but even when I think I have deleted a I end up having over 1gb still listed under iMessages. I heard it is an iPhone issue and needs a full clean reinstall....???

    • QuarterSwede

      If you're deleting a lot that have a lot off images I've found it takes a while for the device to update Usage. A few minutes and it should tell you the true size again.

  • crzyxtc

    Wish they had categories for downloaded games in App Store I own over 6,000 games and it loads so slowly

  • vicsark

    Good tips here!
    I usually do a full restore via iTunes on my PC every other month, and then reinstall the backup I've did just before.
    This frees up a lot of space as it get rid of most of the trash data. The device seem to crash less also after that. Sometimes you have to retype a few passwords though.

    Also, in case iCloud doesn't work, I use iFunbox to transfer my game saves/data to the computer before deleting the games I wish to replay later.

    Very useful tip here is to delete and reinstall content apps once in a while (tweetbot and all social network apps, news/newspaper apps, Appshopper ...)

    Also even if an old app isn't available in the AppStore anymore, you're still able to download it from iCloud in your purchase tab, and you should have it on your PC iTunes media folder.


    • nicodemus82

      There's no need to delete and reinstall. Just use the "clear trash" option in Tongbu. It gets rid of any trash, cookies, leftover files etc

      • scrotally

        Thanks for the tip. I'm sick if deleting and reinstalling apps that don't have a clear cache option.

  • REkzkaRZ

    Just a quick point to all the Apple/iPhone/iOS fanboys out there -- you do realize that Apple has *a lot* of obstacles in place which block users from keeping their iphones light & limber.
    Really, this is a design issue, and moreover it's a security issue - the iPhone locks people out of .. their own phones! HA
    Simple fixes would be:
    + Some kind of file explorer on the phone
    + Some kind of quick way to see what apps we haven't run in a long time, and how big they are
    + How big are the software updates we are frequently required to download?

    Another thing is I've got 500mb free, but can't download DEVOBots b/c of not enough filespace, but the app is only ~ 186mb. What's going on? The apps come down compressed, and the installation uncompression often 'blossoms' the file to approx 3x the size!
    There's a workaround to dload the app in iTunes & copy it over with a sync. But I very rarely sync my phone to a computer.

    So ... I blame Apple!!! Fix it, Apple! Unlock our iPhones!

  • beyondthetech

    I prefer games that back up their game save data to iCloud. If I need to, I can delete the app and return to it later.

    Also, here's hoping that Apple could either allow developers to download asset packs afterwards, based on device (original iPhone resolution, original iPad resolution, widescreen iPhone Retina resolution, iPad Retina resolution), delete them after install, or allow specific binary packages to download from the App Store, while still keeping it a single iTunes purchase.

  • crzyxtc

    I made so many purchases that when I go to purchased it boots me out lol

  • copeland lee

    Great for this article. Moreover, you can try with this PhoneClean, it can help you Remove Junk Files & Clear Private Data on iPhone. including App Caches/Cookies/Temp files/Crash Logs, Photo Caches, Safari Cookies/Caches/History, and so on.

    View My Profile or Search YouTube Channel "iPhone Manager" for that.

  • Sam Tomy

    You can simply free up your iPhone with some third party software like Macgo iPhone Cleaner for Mac.

  • neil

    how do i get more space on my commputer i want 963mb and only got 186mb of space need helpp