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Managing your iCloud storage

This article provides tips for managing your iCloud storage if you reach or exceed your storage limit.

iCloud gives you the ability to manage your storage by controlling your iOS device backups and choosing which documents you want to keep in the cloud. You can also free up storage space by moving or deleting old email messages that you no longer need. Follow these steps to see how much iCloud storage is available in your account:

  • On your iOS device, go to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup.
  • On your Mac, go to Apple () menu > System Preferences, click iCloud, then click Manage.
  • On your Windows computer:
    • Windows 8.1: Go to the Start screen and click the down arrow Down arrow in circle in the lower-left corner. Click the iCloud app, then click Manage.
    • Windows 8: Go to the Start screen and click the iCloud tile, then click Manage.
    • Windows 7: Choose Start menu > All Programs > iCloud > iCloud, then click Manage.

Backups

When you back up your iOS device to iCloud, the most important data on your device is backed up automatically, including your Camera Roll photos, videos, and apps. Learn more about what iCloud backs up. The following steps help you to control how much storage is used for backups.

Select which iOS apps to back up

Many apps automatically back up to iCloud after you install them. You can change which apps back up to iCloud and remove existing backups of that app's data from your storage.

If you're using iOS 5 or later, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup, then tap Manage Storage.
  2. Tap the name of your iOS device.
  3. Under Backup Options, turn off any apps that you no longer want to back up. You'll be asked to confirm this change. Choose Turn Off & Delete if you want to turn off Backup for that app and remove all of its data from iCloud.

Delete backups and turn off Backup for your device

iOS 5 and later

  1. Go to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup, then tap Manage Storage.
  2. Tap the name of your iOS device.
  3. Tap Delete Backup. You'll be asked to confirm this change. Deleting the backup also turns off 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.

OS X

  1. Choose Apple () > System Preferences, then click iCloud.
  2. Click Manage.
  3. Select Backups.
  4. Select one of the device backups, then click Delete. You'll be asked to confirm this change. Deleting the backup also turns off backup of your device. Choose Delete if you want to turn off Backup and remove all backups for this device from iCloud.

Windows 8 and Windows 7

  1. Open the iCloud Control Panel:
    • Windows 8.1: Go to the Start screen, click the down arrow Down arrow in circle in the lower-left corner, then click the iCloud app.
    • Windows 8: Go to the Start screen and click the iCloud tile.
    • Windows 7: Choose Start menu > All Programs > iCloud > iCloud.
  2. Click Manage to view your iCloud storage.
  3. Select Backup from the items listed.
  4. Select one of the device backups, then click Delete. You'll be asked to confirm this change. Deleting the backup also turns off backup of your device. Choose Delete if you want to turn off Backup and remove all backups for that device from iCloud.

Reduce the size of your Camera Roll backup

If you take many photos and videos with your iOS device, you might notice that your Camera Roll takes up most of your iCloud storage. To check the size of the Camera Roll backup on your device:

  1. Go to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup, then tap Manage Storage.
  2. Tap the name of your iOS device.
  3. In the Backup Options section, the backup size is displayed under Camera Roll.

To reduce the size of your Camera Roll backup, save your photos and videos to your computer, then manually back up your iOS device. If you want to keep your photos and videos on your iOS device, you can turn off Camera Roll in Backup using the steps above or purchase more storage.

Documents in the Cloud

You can manage your stored iCloud documents from an iOS device using iOS 5 or later, a Mac using OS X Lion v10.7 or later, or a Windows computer that meets the iCloud system requirements. iWork documents for iOS apps are also available on iCloud.com. Follow the steps below to delete a document.

iOS 5 and later

  1. Go to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup, then tap Manage Storage.
  2. Under Documents & Data, tap the app from which you want to delete data. This displays any documents in iCloud for that app.
  3. Tap Edit, select the item that you want to delete, then choose Delete or Delete All. The document or data is removed from your iCloud storage and from all of your devices.

OS X

  1. Choose Apple () > System Preferences, then click iCloud.
  2. Click Manage.
  3. Select an app from the list, then select the document or data you wish to delete from that app. Click the Delete button to remove the data from your iCloud storage and all of your devices.

You can also use the app to delete its documents:

  1. Open an app that supports Documents in the Cloud (such as Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Preview, or TextEdit).
  2. Choose a document from the iCloud Documents Library window.
  3. Control-click the document to open the Action menu.
  4. Choose Move to Trash, then click Delete. The document will be removed from your iCloud storage and all of your devices.

Windows 8 and Windows 7

  1. Open the iCloud Control Panel:
    • Windows 8.1: Go to the Start screen, click the down arrow Down arrow in circle in the lower-left corner, then click the iCloud app.
    • Windows 8: Go to the Start screen and click the iCloud tile.
    • Windows 7: Choose Start menu > All Programs > iCloud > iCloud.
  2. Click Manage to view your iCloud storage.
  3. Under Manage Storage, choose the document or data you wish to delete from that app, then click Delete to remove it. The data will be removed from your iCloud storage and all of your devices.

iCloud.com (iWork documents only)

  1. From your computer, sign in to iCloud.com.
  2. Click the app (Pages, Numbers or Keynote) for your document.
  3. Click a document to select it.
  4. Click the gear icon, then choose Delete Document. The document will be removed from your iCloud storage and all of your devices.

Mail

You can free up additional iCloud storage space at any time by deleting email messages from your iCloud email account. You can also move email messages from your iOS device to your Mac or PC, where they no longer count against your iCloud Storage. Learn how to archive or make copies of your iCloud data.

Follow the steps below to delete messages from your account. Remember that messages with large attachments will free up more space than simple text emails.

Desktop email apps

If you're using iCloud Mail with a desktop email app, such as OS X Mail or Microsoft Outlook, follow these steps:

  • OS X Mail: Delete the messages that you no longer want, then choose Mailbox > Erase Deleted Items and select your iCloud email account from the menu.
  • Microsoft Outlook 2007 (Windows): Delete the messages that you no longer want, then choose Edit > Purge and select your iCloud account from the menu.
  • Microsoft Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013 (Windows): Delete the messages that you no longer want. Outlook will permanently delete your messages the next time you close and restart the app.

iCloud.com

  1. From your computer, sign in to iCloud.com.
  2. Click Mail.
  3. Delete the messages that you no longer want, then click the gear icon and select Empty Trash.

Phone, iPad, and iPod touch

If your iOS device is configured to access iCloud email, you can delete messages from any mailbox, then empty the Trash to free up space:

  1. Swipe your finger to the left across any message to delete it.
  2. Go to your Trash folder.
  3. Delete messages one at a time or delete all of them by tapping Edit, then tapping Delete All.

Learn more

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: Aug 6, 2014
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  • Last Modified: Aug 6, 2014
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