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How to free up storage space by managing photos and videos on your iPhone or iPad

Despite the space-saving HEIF and HEVC formats, the number of photos and videos on your iPhone can quickly shoot up, leading to a massive loss of storage space.

This tutorial walks you through some handy tips to free space on your iPhone or iPad by deleting unnecessary photos and videos.

Before you begin: Photos and videos have your precious memories. So, back them up to your computer, Google Drive, external hard disk, etc.


Delete selected photos, videos, and screenshots
If you have been using your iPhone or iPad for a while, it’s bound to have media that you no longer need. It could be duplicate photos and videos you took or saved from apps like WhatsApp or screenshots that are no longer useful. Removing all these will dramatically free up significant local space on your iPhone or iPad.

Delete burst photos
When you use the timer to take a phot, your iPhone doesn’t take one, but ten pictures! Similarly, if you hold the volume up button inside the Camera app, your iPhone keeps taking photos as long as you keep pressing the volume up button. These multiple pictures taken in quick succession are called burst photos. You may only want to keep one or a few burst images and delete the rest, freeing space on your device.

Delete duplicate photos and videos
While going through your Photos app, you may notice several images that look alike or are the same photos or videos downloaded several times, thus occupying double or triple the storage. You can easily identify such duplicate images and delete them to reclaim space.

Turn off My Photo Stream
The My Photo Stream option pushes photos taken within the last 30 days to all your Apple devices. So, turning off this feature can free up room on your iPhone:

Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
Scroll down and tap Photos.
Turn off My Photo Stream > Delete.

Disabling My Photo Stream doesn’t delete any of the images from iCloud or your other devices. It simply removes them from that particular iPhone.
My Photo Stream is only available if your Apple ID was created way back. If you created your Apple ID in the last few years, My Photo Stream is unavailable for you as it has been replaced by iCloud Photos.
Set iCloud Photos to take less space (or turn it off)
If you use iCloud Photos to store all your pictures and videos in iCloud, you have two options:

Download and Keep Originals: This will keep photos in original quality on your iPhone, taking up a lot of space.
Optimize iPhone Storage: This keeps a smaller version of the photos on the local iPhone storage while the full-quality images are saved in iCloud.
To free space on your iPhone:

Go to the Settings app > Photos and select Optimize iPhone Storage.
Or, turn off iCloud Photos on your iPhone from Settings app > Photos > iCloud Photos. Doing so will remove all images from your device, thus freeing local space. But these iCloud Photos will stay saved in iCloud, as well as your other Apple devices and Windows PC.
Delete all iPhone Photos
If you don’t use iCloud Photos, you can still delete all pictures and videos from your iPhone, which will free up significant space.

Empty the Recently Deleted media
After you delete any photo or video, it isn’t gone immediately. Instead, it’s moved to a Recently Deleted section, where it stays for the next 30 days (so you can recover it), and continues to occupy space. until you empty that folder:

Open the Photos app and tap Albums.
Scroll down to the bottom and tap Recently Deleted.
Tap Select from the top.
Hit Delete All and confirm.

How to free up storage space by managing photos and videos on your iPhone or iPad

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