iCloud getting a little bloated? If you’re running low on iCloud backup space you can either buy more space from Apple or clear out some of the space already being used.

This iPhone cannot be backed up because there is not enough iCloud storage available.

Apple gives away 5GB of free space when you create an iCloud account. You can of course purchase extra space from Apple for a yearly fee if you want.

  • 10 additional GB (15 GB total): $20/year
  • 20 additional GB (25 GB total): $40/year
  • 50 additional GB (55 GB total): $100/year

If you’ve gotten a messages saying that there is a not enough iCloud storage available to backup to, then you can buy more space or simply empty out some of the data to make room for new backup data.

Included in the iCloud backup is your Mail account (including attachments), App data , device settings and photos in the Camera Roll. App Data can be saved to iCloud from any iOS device with iCloud, even from your Mac.


Emptying iCloud backup space

ipad icloud space remove make space

Manage Space

The data in the backup can be accessed from your iOS device, Mac or PC (with iCloud control panel installed).

To manage the backup data, open Settings -> iCloud -> Storage & Backup -> Manage Storage. On this page, you have the option to delete a device from the backup and remove documents & data. You can remove an entire backup of any device from any device, however you can only edit individual backup data while using the device where the backup data is located. For instance, while on my iPad, I can edit the individual data in my iPad backup, but to edit the individual backup data on my iPhone, I would have to be using my iPhone.

Under the “Backup Options” on an iOS device, there are on and off switches that can be used to remove photos, iBooks and other App backup data. Simply turn the switch from “On” to “Off”.

If you’ve replaced your iOS device with a new one, the backup for the old device will still remain in iCloud, wasting precious space. If you never plan on using that old device again, you can delete that backup from iCloud, as it should clear out a lot of space depending on the backup size. Go to Manage Storage, click on your device and tap the big red “Delete Backup” button.


Edit the data on a Mac or PC

empty icloud backup mac pc

Desktop iCloud

On a Mac, go to System Preferences -> iCloud -> Click the “Manage” button on the bottom right. To edit the backup on a PC you must have the iCloud control panel installed. You can download it from the Apple website here: Download iCloud control panel.

From this panel you can remove an entire iOS device backup and individual items that have been backed up from your Mac or PC. To empty the Mail backup, you have to actually go to the Mail app and delete emails manually. If you want to empty out the Mail, but don’t want to permanently delete the files forever, you can always save them to your computer or Dropbox.

The same thing goes for Photos in the Camera Roll, if you want to keep them backed up but don’t have the iCloud space, you can always backup to Dropbox instead – read more about Dropbox. You can also use Photo Stream, it syncs (backs up) your latest 1000 pictures without tapping into you available iCloud backup space. If it’s not already enabled, go to Settings -> Photo Stream -> flip the switch from off to on.

On a PC, once the iCloud control panel is installed, open it and click the Manage button.

iCloud is not the only way to backup your device, iTunes is also a good way of keeping a regular backup – Read More about backing up to iTunes.


 Manually manage iCloud files in Finder

If you’re using a Mac then it’s possible to manually delete items from your iCloud backup from within Finder. I ran into an issue myself where an app I had deleted from my iPhone didn’t completely get removed from iCloud. Its leftover files didn’t get deleted and was just taking up space. Simple fix, I just manually deleted that folder in Finder. Here’s my article about How to browse iCloud files on Mac OS X in Finder.