What's the difference between device storage and iCloud storage?

Learn the difference between your device and iCloud storage, ways to manage your space, and where to buy more if you run out.

Device storage

When you buy your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, it comes with a set storage capacity ranging from 16 to 512GB for iPhone, 16GB to 1TB for iPad, and 8 to 256GB for iPod touch. The music you buy, the apps you download, the photos you take, and all of the other content that you enjoy on your device uses its storage. And depending on your device capacity and how much content you have, your device can fill up and run out of storage.

When your device is full, you can’t increase its storage. But you can free up space.

See how much storage you have

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap [device] Storage. 

The amount of device storage that you've used is listed at the top.

Free up space on your device

Using the steps above, you might see a list of recommendations for optimizing your device storage, followed by a list of installed apps and the amount of storage each one uses. Tap an app's name for more information about its storage. If you don't see any recommendations, try these steps:

  • If you use iCloud Photos and turn on Optimize Storage, you can lower the amount of storage that your photos use on your device. 
  • You can remove content from your apps like photos, music, and podcasts. 
  • You can delete apps that you're no longer using.

Learn more about how to optimize the storage on your iOS or iPadOS device.


iCloud storage

When you set up iCloud, you automatically get 5GB of free storage. You can use that storage space to back up your device and to keep all of your photos, videos, documents, and text messages securely stored and updated everywhere. Depending on the size of your backup and the amount of content you keep in iCloud, you might run out of free space. You can make room when you buy more iCloud storage or when you delete content.

See how much iCloud storage you have

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Tap [your name].
  3. Tap iCloud. 

The amount of iCloud storage that you've used is listed at the top.

Buy more iCloud storage

If you use all of your iCloud storage, you can buy more starting at 50GB for $0.99 a month. If you choose a 200GB or 2TB plan, you can share iCloud storage with your familyLearn more about prices in your country or region.

Free up space in iCloud

Learn how to make more iCloud storage space available when you delete content that you don't need anymore, like backups, photos, files, messages, and more. 

Before you delete anything, you might want to make copies of your iCloud content.


Learn more

  • iCloud works with your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, Apple TV, Apple Watch, and on your PC with iCloud for Windows when you sign in with your Apple ID.
  • If you run out of iCloud storage, upgrade your iCloud storage plan.
  • Learn how to back up your device using iCloud or your computer. 
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