Is your iCloud Storage filling up? Here are some tips to help.

Is your iCloud Storage filling up? Here are some tips to help.

Is your iCloud Storage filling up? Here are some tips to help.

With iOS5, Apple introduced us to iCloud, the easy way for us to backup and store data from our iPhones. Every Apple user receives an iCloud account with up to 5GB of storage space, with the option to purchase additional space. While the upgrade option is nice, many of us would prefer not to have to pay for more storage space. However, it's easy to fill that 5GB and before you know it, you don't even have space to complete a system backup. With iOS6 set to be released, we thought it would be a good time to review some tips on managing your iCloud data options and make sure you have the space for a good backup so you can install and take advantage of all the iOS goodness that iOS6 is bringing.

First, to see what your iCloud account is at currently, unlock your iPhone and tap Settings then tap iCloud. You'll see the Apple ID that you're using, and which core iCloud services you're using. These services are more like synched data than backups. If you have Calendars on, then any other Apple device you're using (like an iPad or MacBook) will be able to access and display the same Calendar information.

Scroll down to Storage & Backup. Now you'll see your Total Storage (presumably 5.0 GB unless you've upgraded), your Available, and a selection for Manage Storage. Lower down you'll see buttons to Buy More Storage and to turn iCloud Backup on or off completely. Tap on Manage Storage.

At the top you'll see a list of any devices you've backed up to your iCloud account. If you have an iPad or multiple phones, you should see them all listed here (assuming you're using the same Apple ID for all). I have an iPad, my iPhone 4S, and I also have my old iPhone 3GS in use in the house so I see all three devices. Below that you'll see any space that you're taking up with Documents & Data (Documents In The Cloud). This is an area that is likely to increase over time as document usage becomes easier and more standardized, to check this area regularly.

Tap the device listing for your iPhone and you'll get to the screen where you may really be able to save some space. At the top you'll see the time of your latest backup and how large that backup was. Below that, you'll see a list of all the apps on your device that are part of the regular iCloud Backups.

Managing your iCloud StorageGenerally speaking, you should not need to backup an app unless you're storing data on your iPhone that could not otherwise be replaced. So, for instance, while I like my CNN app, I am not doing anything with the app other than accessing news. If I deleted the app and reinstalled it, I would be able to carry on as though nothing happened. The 654 KB that was being backed up to iCloud was wasted space. The same is true for 90% of the apps I have installed.

To remove an app from backup, simply tap the ON button to change it to OFF. A confirmation message will come up asking if you want to turn off backups for that app and delete any data already stored for backup. Tap Turn Off & Delete.

The apps are listed by backup size, so the apps at the top are consuming the most space. I was shocked to see that my Camera Roll was taking up 1.8 MB of space even though I'm using Photostream. With Photostream automatically syncing my images regularly, there seems to be no need for me to have a second backup of my Camera Roll.

Once you get through reviewing and deleting all the unnecessary apps from your backup, you may have cleared out quite a bit of storage space. 

Another option is to delete backups entirely. If you have an older device, like my iPhone 3GS, that maybe has a very specific and speclized purpose, you may not need a backup at all. If that's the case, select that device from the Backups section within Manage Storage and delete the backup. Or, alternatively, if you want a bakup but perhaps don't need one regularly, you can connect your device to a computer with iTunes and create a backup there.

If you still need more space, Apple does offer reasonable rates for iCloud Storage. You triple your space and purchase another 10 GB for a total of 15 GB for just $20.00 a year. 20 GB and 50 GB upgrades are also available at $40 and $100 annual rates.

For more information, you can refer to the Apple support document.

Let me know how much you were able to increase your available iCloud Storage!


Mike is a Social Media Consultant and Blog Coach in St. Louis. He has been working with websites and the Internet since the early '90's. He is active on all of the major social networks and enjoys writing and teaching small business owners on how to leverage the Internet to promote and grow their business. Mike provides training and seminars to businesses and individuals on topics like "Content Marketing - Using Blogging + Social Media + SEO to equal Small Business Success" or "Establishing a Brand on Google+" or "How to use HootSuite to Manage Your Social Media Presence."

Mike is the author of, "The Unofficial Book On HootSuite: The #1 Tool for Social Media Management."

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