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

Learn the difference between your device storage and iCloud storage, and how you can manage your space.

Device storage

When you buy your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, it comes with a set storage capacity. 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 upgrade to iCloud+ or manage your storage by deleting 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.

Upgrade to iCloud+

If you use all of your iCloud storage, you can upgrade to iCloud+ to get more. iCloud+ is Apple’s premium cloud subscription service. It gives you more storage for your photos, files, and backups, as well as additional features including iCloud Private Relay, Hide My Email, and HomeKit Secure Video support.* If you use Family Sharing, you can share iCloud+ with your family.

Learn more about iCloud+ prices in your country or region.

* Not all features are available in all countries or regions. HomeKit Secure Video requires a supported iCloud plan, compatible HomeKit-enabled security camera, and HomePod, Apple TV, or iPad running as a home hub. Private Relay is currently in beta. Some websites might have issues like showing content for the wrong region or requiring extra steps to sign in. 

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.

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