iCloud: About storage buffering

Learn more about iCloud storage buffering.

Documents, Backup, and Mail all count toward your iCloud Storage space. In some cases, one portion of your storage may appear to vary from the actual storage space it's using. For example, you may notice that your Mail appears to be using 50 MB of storage space when actually it's only using 10 MB.

This may occur after you free up storage space that you were once using. Your iCloud Storage allocation will readjust itself automatically, but only once another iCloud feature uses the previously allocated space. Until then, it may appear that you are still using more Documents, Backup, or Mail storage space than you actually are.

Storage buffering and Documents in the Cloud

If you add files to Documents in the Cloud using any method other than the recommended iCloud iWork web apps (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote), App Store approved applications, or through the iCloud Documents Library on your Mac, an inconsistent storage value may be displayed on your iOS device or in System Preferences on your Mac.

To resolve this issue, do one of the following:

  • Go to the appropriate iCloud iWork web app at iCloud.com and locate and delete the files.
  • From your iOS device (iPad, iPhone or iPod touch), choose Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup > Manage Storage, and locate and delete the files.
  • On your Mac, choose System Preferences > iCloud > Manage, and locate and delete the files.
  • On your PC, open the Windows Control Panel:
    • In Windows 8, go to the Start screen and click the iCloud tile.
    • In Windows 7, choose Start > All Programs > iCloud > iCloud.
    In the iCloud Control Panel, click Manage, and then locate and delete the files.

After you have deleted the files, the change in your iCloud storage allocation automatically updates the storage values.

If you're unable to locate or delete the files, or the storage values displayed on your iOS device or in System Preferences continue to be inconsistent, contact iCloud Support for assistance.

Storage buffering and Backup

If you turned off iCloud Backup and do not see your available storage increase as expected, try the following:

  1. From an iOS device that does not have iCloud Backup enabled, choose Settings > iCloud.
  2. Tap Storage & Backup.
  3. Turn on iCloud Backup.
  4. Tap Manage Storage.
  5. Tap your iOS device in the Backups area.
  6. Tap Delete Backup.
  7. You will be asked to confirm this change. Deleting this backup will also turn on Backup of your iOS device. Choose Turn Off & Delete if you want to turn off Backup and remove all backups for this iOS device from iCloud.

If your available Storage displayed in iCloud Settings on your iOS device, in iCloud System Preferences on your Mac or in the iCloud Control Panel for Windows on your PC continues to be different than expected, contact iCloud Support for assistance.

If you reach or exceed the storage limit of your iCloud storage plan, your ability to back up documents and receive large amounts of email will be restricted. Learn how to manage your iCloud storage and reduce your email storage space.

Important: Information about products not manufactured by Apple is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute Apple’s recommendation or endorsement. Please contact the vendor for additional information.
Last Modified:
32% of people found this helpful.

Additional Product Support Information

Start a Discussion

in Apple Support Communities
See all questions on this article See all questions I have asked
United States (English)