You need space for photos, videos and games while your iPhone’s storage seems to be shrinking? Find out here how to see storage on iPhone and find out which apps use most space — and what you can do about the worst offenders (to reel in more photos).
First, a Ship Takes Onboard 12.5 Miles of Piano Wire
in December 1872 and leaves Portsmouth with a destination of “the oceans.”
HMS Challenger embarked on what many consider the first true journey of marine science. The 20 km of piano wire served to collect samples from the seabed. To their surprise, the explorers pulled up thousands of species from what everybody had thought was an inhospitable environment.
Are you surprised how much data your iPhone‘s apps have accumulated (or, well, produced)? Let us embark on an exploratory journey of our own—and see what we can pull up:
How to See Storage on iPhone and Find Out Which Apps Use Most Space
Time needed: 2 minutes.
To find out which apps consume (or waste) the most disk space on your iPhone or other iOS device:
- Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
- Go to the General category.
- Now select iPhone Storage.
Note: On an iPad, select iPad Storage instead.
- Find your apps sorted by size under iPhone Storage (or iPad Storage).
Note: It may take your iPhone a while to calculate storage use and fill the list.
- Tap an app to find out more and, optionally, take action right away to reduce the space an app takes up on your iPhone:
App Size: the size of the application code itself.
Documents & Data: the size of data created with or used by the app; this can include messages for an email or messaging app, photos for a creative camera, downloads for a media app and more.
Offload App: delete the app, but keep its data (what is listed under Documents & Data). (See below for details.)
Delete App: delete the app with all of its data from your iPhone; this is the same action as long-tapping an app and choosing ⨂.
How to See Storage on iPhone and Find Out Which Apps Use Most Space: FAQ
What does offloading an app do on iPhone?
When you offload an app, iOS deletes the application code (what appears under App Size on the iPhone Storage screen) but keeps all data on the iPhone or iPad.
The app will appear with a download icon on the Home screen. Tapping that will download and re-install the app from the App store (provided it is still available). After that, it should work as originally—with all the original data intact.
Depending on whether the app itself or the data used take up more space, this can be very beneficial or not much help.
Offload an app or delete its data, what should I do?
- If the app consumes a considerable amount of space but its data do not, offload the app.
- If the app is small but has saved lots of data, try to delete data in the app itself—empty caches, delete downloaded videos or remove old conversations, for instance.
- If both the app and the data take up space, you can combine the two strategies: first, remove unneeded data from the app, then offload the app.
Does iPhone offload apps automatically?
Yes, with an option enabled, iPhone will delete applications you have not used in a long while automatically but keep their data untouched when space is at a premium.
To enable automatic offloading of apps on iPhone:
- Open the Settings app.
- Go to the iTunes & App Store category.
- Make sure to disable Offload Unused Apps.
Note: To turn on automatic offloading, do enable it.
(How to see storage on iPhone and find out which apps use most space tested with iOS 11–13; updated February 2020)