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How to reduce iMessage storage on your iPhone and iCloud

If your iPhone is getting low on storage, iMessage might be the culprit.

Iphone on table showing apps
Image: Unsplash

If you text a lot, your iMessages may be taking up a lot of space on your iPhone. Texts containing media content will consume even more storage. If you are having storage issues, it might be time to reduce your iMessage storage.

On top of that, iCloud syncs your messages and includes them in backups when you’ve enabled that feature, which means more space used in your Apple account.

Manually deleting old texts can be a tedious task—but there’s a better way to liberate space. Let’s discuss how you can prevent iMessage from consuming too much iPhone and iCloud storage.

How to automatically delete old iMessages in iOS

You can enable automatic deletion if you don’t need to keep old messages on your iPhone.

READ MORE: How to fix an iPhone not receiving texts from Android phones

iOS doesn’t allow you to archive texts, so you should only switch auto-delete on if you’re sure you won’t lose any important data.

Here’s how to have iOS automatically delete old iMessages:

  1. Go to the Settings app > Messages How to automatically delete imessages

  2. Tap Keep Messages under Message History Imessage settings on iphone

  3. Select 30 Days or 1 Year How to set keep message length on imessage

  4. Tap Delete to remove old messages if appropriate How to delete bulk texts on iphone

READ MORE: How to unsend iMessages in iOS 16

The 30-day setting works well if you rarely receive critical information via text. Automatically deleting old texts will also lower the amount of space used in iCloud by reducing sync data and backup size.

Imessage low quality image mode
Image: KnowTechie

READ MORE: How to free up iCloud storage by reducing your iPhone backup size

You can also enable Low-Quality Image Mode (shown above) in your Messages settings if you’re unconcerned about the quality of the pictures you send. Anyone on the receiving end, however, may not appreciate your blurry images.

How to reduce the amount of iCloud storage used by iMessages

Icloud logo with blurred background
Image: KnowTechie

READ MORE: How to change iPhone alert sounds and ringtones

If you don’t want messages using excess iCloud storage, you can disable syncing completely. However, doing so means you won’t receive your texts on other devices.

Here’s how to disable Messages syncing for iCloud in iOS:

Imessage icloud sync
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Go to Settings > [Your name] > iCloud
  2. Switch Messages off

If you want to go a step further and stop iCloud from backing up iMessages completely, you can do so by following these steps:

  1. Go to Settings > [Your name]
Ios settings apple id
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Tap on iCloud (below Subscriptions)
Ios settings icloud
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Then, tap Manage Storage
Icloud management for text messages
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Tap Backups
How to inspect your iphone backup
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Select the device you’re using
Iphone backup menu
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Toggle Messages off (you might have to first tap Show All Apps)
How to turn off backups through icloud
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Tap Turn Off & Delete when prompted
Icloud backup for imessage
Image: KnowTechie

Once turned off, Messages will no longer be a part of your iCloud backup. From here, you can also disable other apps you don’t need backed up.

Reduce iMessages on your iPhone to save space

If you’re just sending simple texts, your messages likely aren’t taking up too much space on your device. If, however, you’re constantly bombarding people with visual content, you’ll eventually run into storage issues.

For a simple solution, you can also save important information elsewhere and let iOS purge old messages on a schedule.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Matt is an Australian writer with a degree in creative and critical writing. Prior to commencing his studies, he worked in tech support and gained valuable insights into technology and its users. He is also an editor and author coach at Dean Publishing.

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