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Why is iPhone saying Storage is Full When it’s not? (FIX)

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Managing storage space on a device that doesn’t have all that much of a storage capacity can be a problem. It’s doable, thanks to a lot of cloud services and the fact that you can back up everything to your PC or any other device. But when your iPhone starts saying that the storage is full when it’s not, that’s when things go south. This especially happens after system updates and, if you are affected by this problem, check the steps we provided below. They should help get rid of this annoying bug for good.

My iPhone storage is full but it’s not

If your iPhone says that the storage is full but it’s actually not upon inspection, make sure to restart your iPhone, clear some local data and data from iCloud, or reset your device to factory settings and restore the backup later.

1. Restart your iPhone

The first thing to do is to restart your phone. This is a common bug that occurs after system updates on iPhones and it shows wrong storage readings followed by the prompt that the Storage is Full. Which, of course, isn’t the case.

And, when something like this happens, the best way to recalibrate system readings is usually a simple restart. However, if that doesn’t help, the troubleshooting might require some more drastic measures.

2. Clear some local data

You can also try and clear some local data. Navigate to Settings > General > iPhone Storage to see what’s taking up the majority of space. If the Other is taking up a lot of space, we recommend opening Settings > Safari and clearing the browsing history.

Also, you can offload or uninstall some unused apps and back up multimedia files and photos to your PC or Mac. You can also delete it if it’s already backed up to iCloud or any other cloud service (e.g. Google Photos and Google Drive).

Once you’ve done that, restart your iPhone again and look for changes. If the iPhone keeps saying that the storage is full when it’s not, continue to the next step.

3. Clear some data from iCloud

Even though it doesn’t have much to do with the state of local data, the lack of free iCloud space for backups can also trigger this bug. So, navigate to iCloud Drive and delete some large files, if you have any.

If you are certain that you have more than enough free iCloud space, continue to the final step.

4. Reset your iPhone to factory settings

This one is the most suggested solution for the issue at hand. Sadly, transitions between major iOS versions sometimes don’t go as planned. And, to ensure that this storage bug (or any other issue) won’t bother you anymore, restoring your device from iCloud or iTunes (on your PC or Mac) is the best way to completely resolve the problem.

Here’s how to reset your device to factory settings:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Select Reset.
  4. Tap Erase All Content and Settings.
  5. Make sure to back up everything to iCloud. Navigate to Settings > Your Account at the top > iCloud > iCloud Backup and tap Back up Now.
  6. Enter PIN/Password when prompted and confirm. storage is full when it's not
  7. Once your device reboots, choose Restore from iCloud Backup.

Or you can connect your iPhone to your PC or Mac and, through the iTunes client, back up and encrypt all data, and restore the device as new. You can later restore the backup from iTunes in no time.

Being low on storage space can cause a variety of problems, including functioning of built-in and third-party apps. For example, pictures might not appear in iMessage messages because they can’t be stored locally.

That should do it. Thank you for reading and feel free to share your thoughts, questions, or suggestions with us in the comments section below.

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in September 2021. We made sure to revamp it for freshness and accuracy.

Picture of Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Managing editor at Mobile Internist. @lemmingspain My fascination with mobile technology, particularly Android and iOS, began years ago and continues today. I'm captivated by the constant evolution in the smartphone industry and its impact on our daily lives, always anticipating the next big innovation. That’s the main reason why I found myself writing instructive content on the subject for users who are not as familiar with all the bells and whistles.
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