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Yesterday iOS 7 came out. There was a massive rush to try to install and it download it. The one thing that we were not prepared for or made aware of was the need to have up to 3.3 GB of space available in order to download and install iOS 7. The reason you needed 3.3 GB available is that the 900MB download of iOS 7 also needs to move a lot of stuff around during installation.

If you are like us, you might not have that 3.3GB of space needed on your iOS device. We’ve spent the last year downloading music, videos and apps to the point where our iPads tell us to stop. So now we need to delete some of our stuff.

Once you free up your space on your device, and back up your device, then you will be officially ready to download iOS 7. In this how-to I will discuss the two different methods to free up storage space off the device, either from the device itself, or managing the device while being connected to the computer through iTunes…

1. Manage storage space through the device. If you are at the screen to update to iOS 7 and you see the error message about needing more storage space you can tap on Usage Settings. If you are not there the other method to get there is to go into Settings. Then tap on General, and then tap on Usage.

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Please be aware that the more data that is stored on the device, the longer it takes to load and break down app by app what is taking up the most storage space. This can range from a couple of seconds to a couple of minutes. Once it loads it will then show you all of the apps on the device as well as how much room and data the app is taking up. Some culprits that are notorious for eating up a lot of space are graphic intensive apps/games like Inifinity Blade, as well as media.

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To delete the graphic intensive games/apps, tap on them in the list. Then press the big red Delete App button. You can do this with a lot of your apps. You can always redownload them again for free later by going into the App Store and in the black bar down at the bottom pressing the Purchased button, which is second from the right (on an iPad), or located in the Update button all the way on the right (on an iPhone or iPod Touch).

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Media consists of music, video and pictures. If the music and videos are purchased from iTunes you are always able to redownload them for free onto the device. Just like with apps, you are able to redownload them by going into the iTunes store and tap on the Purchased button.

To delete, Music off the device, tap on the Music button then tap on the Edit button in the upper right hand corner and then press the red minus button next to music. It will delete all of your music.

Deleting Videos is similar to deleting Music. Tap on Videos and it breaks it down and shows you the different TV shows, Movies and Music Videos in there. Tapping on each series will show you which TV shows are downloaded. Pressing on Edit in the upper right hand corner, produces red minus buttons next to each one. Tapping on the minus button will delete all of the episodes in that series.

Deleting Pictures is tricky because you want to make sure they are backed up. Easy ways to back up the pictures is to back them up to Dropbox, or back them up onto your computer. Once you have done that, you can delete your pictures. To delete all of the pictures at once from your device, tap on Photos & Camera. Here, there is no Edit button in the upper right hand corner. Instead, swipe right to left on Camera Roll and a red Delete button will appear.

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2. Manage storage space through iTunes on the Computer. Connect your device to iTunes on the computer with the USB cable that came with the device. When you click on the device in iTunes, it shows you down at the bottom which type of content takes up the most space: audio, video, photos, apps, books and other. Hovering the cursor over the different colors shows you quantity and size.

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If you press on the categories up at the top, Apps, Music, Movies, TV Shows, Books and Photos you are then able to uncheck what is synced and then press apply.

Hope this helps you free up much needed space on your device, so that way you can get iOS 7.

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14 Responses to “How-to: Shave some GBs off of your iOS device so you can update to iOS 7”

  1. Mike DeRosa says:

    If you are already connecting to your computer you could just update via iTunes and not worry about deleting precious apps/photos/videos.

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  2. iTunes match is the worst if you use it. It doesn’t truly buffer, but instead downloads the song and leaves it there. It shows up as “other” in iTunes. Turning match off will free up this space. Then you can turn it back on before or after the upgrade.

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  3. Matt Pfeffer says:

    If you’re going to plug it into the computer, you might as well have iTunes just update it for you instead of opening up space. I did this with my wife’s iPhone 5 last night, and it only had about 1.7GB free.

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  4. Great article! Very helpful!
    It is too bad that Apple did not increase the storage for the 5s to 128 GB. If Apple expects us to keep buying Apps, Music, and Videos, they have to realize we will need more space in our devices.

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  5. I freed up 18gb (not a typo) of space on my iPhone by deleting 2 years worth of text message history. It’s amazing– find the people you text the most, delete your chain with them, and it will free up crazy amounts of space!

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  6. Great guide! I had to do the “purge” this morning only I did it entirely through iTunes with the iPad connected via USB. I found it to be easier with mouse clicks for some reason. When you’re in iTunes you see the app screens as they would normally look on the iPad. When you mouse over each icon the (x) option appears giving you the option to delete. The delete doesn’t happen until you sync though. If you’re told you can’t sync because you don’t have enough space the you just have to keep deleting stuff.

    The notorious hogs for me are the apps that download eBooks and eMagazines. Adobe Inspire and TNW issues are easily in the 200-400 MB range per issue. Rather than get rid of the apps entirely I just archived older issues.

    The one mystery for me is Usage > Photos & Camera. Even though I only have about 151 MB on my Camera Roll, Photo Stream is using 1.5 GB. I’m guessing it’s the rolling 1,000-photo album “My Photo Stream” that’s taking up most of that.

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  7. I would like to offer alternative advice

    I have 2 download programs I use on the phone, one called Downloads (i know) and the other downloads youtube videos and saves them to the phone

    These are not jailbroken

    When I get home, I connect the phone and save the files from the phone to my computer, then delete them from the phone. But I recently found out that it keeps a record of everything you download

    I got into Usage during the backup process before installing iOS 7 and saw that the two programs were huge, one had 8 gig and the other 800mb, and I had deleted all the files from them and saved them to my computer

    Basically all I did then was delete the apps, synced the phone and got like 10 gig back. it was amazing

    Try it if “Other” keeps bothering you.

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  8. here is another way to clear for space on iPad, but you need not to delete apps or photos from your ipad.

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