Today we celebrate our independence... from running out of storage space
July 4, 2018 7:07 AM   Subscribe

I have an iPhone SE running iOS 10.3.2. Of its 12.18 GB capacity, 7.61 GB are consumed by iMessages. I have no photos, no music, no podcasts, and only the apps I need to get through the day (many of which don't even work half the time because there isn't enough free storage to run them). Help?

So, yes, obviously I have not deleted an iMessage since I got my first iPhone in 2010. I am not open to wholesale deleting entire conversations or setting a time limit like deleting everything over a year old. I am open to deleting very large media files that may be taking up space in iMessage (e.g. a 100 MB video someone texted me once) from within conversations, but even if that is the solution, I need some kind of utility to help me find them (manually looking for conversations where I suspect there may be large videos has yielded something like 20 MB in more than 20 many minutes).

Please assume I have already deleted all non essential apps and media. I delete and re-install apps regularly to capitalize on the small amounts of cache storage I can free up. I do not have the funds to purchase a new phone with more storage capacity right now.

My understanding is that saving my iMessages to iCloud and deleting them from local storage is not currently an available feature. I know there are utilities available in the AppStore to help save space or even back up iMessages to my laptop, which I would be willing to do, but I need personal recommendations, especially since it will take some effort to even free up enough space to download any of these apps to try. Likewise, if there are features/utilities available to me in a more recent version of iOS, I need to create something like 1 GB of free space in order to upgrade. tl;dr: How do I reduce the space taken up on my phone by iMessage without deleting conversations?
posted by telegraph to Technology (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Supposedly iOS 11.4 (May) will let you save iMessages to iCloud and save local storage. How useful it is may depend on how much iCloud storage you have.

Note that deleting from your phone will also delete from the cloud. But it may remove the attachment storage from your phone and just pull them from the cloud as needed. If you don't have enough storage on your phone to update the OS, you can install it through iTunes on your computer.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 7:40 AM on July 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

Settings, General, iPhone Storage, (wait), scroll down past Recommendations to see a list of apps that are using storage, Messages.
Review Large Attachments will give you a sorted list of attachments by size, and tell you the size. Alternately, Documents and Data (below) will do likewise with Conversations, Photos, Videos, etc.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 7:43 AM on July 4, 2018 [4 favorites]

I saved a couple of gig by saving my iMessages to iCloud, and I'm definitely not a heavy sender/receiver of photos or videos. It's certainly worth doing, at least.
posted by adrianhon at 9:25 AM on July 4, 2018

Go to settings, general, iPhone storage, messages, review large attachments. So intuitive!
posted by skewed at 1:00 PM on July 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

Just to clarify, the review large attachments feature is not available in iOS 10.3.2. Even when installing from iTunes, upgrading to iOS 11 requires 770 MB of space I do not have. Yes, I know this is a super annoying problem. Other thoughts would be appreciated!
posted by telegraph at 1:43 PM on July 4, 2018

upgrading to iOS 11 requires 770 MB of space I do not have
Is that how much you need for an over-the-air upgrade on the phone itself? You should see if you still need that much to upgrade from a computer (with the phone plugged in). Back up the phone first, of course.
posted by soelo at 2:02 PM on July 4, 2018

Worst-case, you can backup and restore. Plug in to iTunes, pick the device, choose to backup to This Computer, check the encryption button so your passwords and stuff get saved. Then you can do what you need to do to clear space and update the OS, then you can restore from your backup. You can even erase everything on the phone if you really need to, set it up as a new phone, update the OS, then restore, but that's probably worst-case.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 2:32 PM on July 4, 2018

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