How to free up iCloud space by reducing the size of your iPhone backup

Apple gives you 5 GB of iCloud storage for free. But that’s not always enough if you turn on iCloud backup, which saves your iPhone data to the cloud. If your device’s backups exceed this size, you will need to either purchase an iCloud subscription, turn off iCloud backups, or stop using other related services like iCloud Photos or iCloud Drive to save storage space.

To solve this problem, you can significantly reduce the size of your iCloud backups and look for alternative solutions to reduce the load on your iCloud space. This guide will help you do both.

How to reduce the size of iCloud backups

By using this method, you can prevent some non-essential apps from being part of iCloud backup, which greatly reduces the size of the backup.

Non-essential apps can be the ones you don’t care about data, or the ones that already store everything on their servers. Examples include YouTube, news apps, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Even if you stop the backup of these applications, your data is saved on their servers. You can log in using the same username and password to get everything.

Here’s how to reduce iCloud backup file size by excluding some apps:


  1. Open Settings and press your name from the top.

  2. Go to iCloud > Manage storage space.

  3. Faucet Backups.

  4. Choose the backup that says This iPhone Where This iPad.

  5. Faucet Show all apps and turn off the switches of any unnecessary apps to prevent them from being part of your iCloud backup.

How to create a new iPhone or iPad backup with reduced size

After following the above steps, the next backup made by your iPhone or iPad will have a reduced file size. Your device automatically performs a backup when it is locked and connected to power and Wi-Fi. But, if you want, you can now manually take a backup of your iPhone or iPad by following these steps:

  1. Open Settings and press your name.

  2. Faucet iCloud > ICloud backup > Save now.

Besides reducing the size of the iCloud backup, here are some more suggestions to help you properly manage your 5 GB of free iCloud storage.

Use an alternative to iCloud photos to free up iCloud space

iCloud Photos quickly fills the 5 GB free limit. In fact, iCloud Photos is turned on by default when you set up a new iPhone. And most people’s free limit is reached quickly because of it.

To solve this problem, you can use any of the alternatives mentioned below. Once the photos are saved in these alternatives, go to Settings > Pictures and turn off ICloud Photos.

1. Google Photos

Even after Google Photos stopped offering unlimited downloads for free, it remains the best alternative to iCloud Photos because you get 15GB free with each Google Account instead of 5GB. And the price of both platforms is comparable. Therefore, it’s a great decision to use Google Photos instead of iCloud on your iPhone.

To download: Google Photos (Free, subscription available)

2. Photos from Amazon

Amazon Photos is another worthy alternative to iCloud Photos. Like iCloud, it offers 5 GB free to everyone. But if you are an Amazon Prime member, it is included in your subscription and allows you to save an unlimited number of full resolution photos (but only 5GB for video). If you want more storage to store videos, the 100GB plans start at just $ 1.99 per month.

A handy addition to Amazon Photos is Family Vault, which lets you share an unlimited number of photos with up to five family members.

To download: Amazon Photos (Free, subscription available)

Related: Google Photos Alternatives That Offer More Storage

Use a computer to backup photos and iPhone backups

Imagine a situation where you have a lot of notes, app backups, app data, and the like taking up most of your iCloud space. You don’t want to pay for iCloud storage, but still want to protect your photos, videos, and iPhone backups. In this situation, you can move your iPhone photos and videos to your computer and save them locally.

You can also use your Mac or PC to backup your iPhone instead of using iCloud.

However, please note that this is not cloud storage. In the event of damage, failure or theft of the computer equipment, you will lose these photos and backup files. But if you are not using iCloud or one of the alternatives, it is a risk that you will have to take.

Finally, it is also less convenient than paying for iCloud storage because you will have to transfer photos or create iPhone backups to the computer manually. With iCloud, these things happen automatically once you turn them on.

ICloud space successfully recovered

Now, you know how to drastically reduce iCloud backup file size by excluding non-essential apps and using iCloud Photo alternatives. This should give you plenty of free iCloud space for everyday tasks like storing notes, messages, third-party app backups, and more.

Still, if one day you fill that reclaimed space, the steps to upgrade to iCloud + are quick and affordable.

iPhone, iPad and MacBook showing iCloud storage
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