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Why Photos take too much storage on iPhone? Here’s why

photos take too much space iphone

Because media files and apps grew so much in size with the growth of quality and functionality, storage space is always a problem. Especially if you’re a keen photographer and like to keep your photos and videos on your iPhone’s internal storage. Some users swear that the Photos take too much storage on their iPhone, considering that they don’t have a whole lot of files in the gallery. But, before you go to the Photos app and start deleting photos and videos to make some space, check our recommended steps.

Why do my Photos take up so much storage?

1. Clear Recently deleted

To avoid accidental deletion of photos and videos, iPhone Photos have something closely resembling recycle bin conveniently called Recently Deleted. Photos and videos in this folder will permanently auto-delete after 40 days (or so) but, before they do, they’ll still take up space just like before deleting them.

So, the first step to freeing some storage space that photos are taking on your iPhone is to empty the Recently Deleted folder. Here’s how to empty Recently Deleted on your iPhone:

  1. Open the Photos app.
  2. Select Albums.
  3. Scroll down and open Recently Deleted.
  4. Tap Select from the top and then tap Delete All in the bottom left corner.

2. Check iCloud settings

If you use iCloud to back up all your photos and videos, make sure to enable the Optimize iPhone Storage option. That way, photos and videos that are on your device will use reduced quality and take up less space. Photos and videos with the original size and quality will stay safely backed up to iCloud. This is a good way to have access to your photos without a network connection but keep them at a limited size until you need them for something more than a simple preview.

Here’s how to enable Optimize iPhone Storage for iCloud Photos:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Select your account from the top.
  3. Tap iCloud.
  4. Choose Photos.
  5. Select Optimize iPhone Storage instead of Download and Keep Originals.photos take so much storage iphone

3. Update your iPhone

Based on reports, initial releases of iOS 15 had issues with storage analysis where the readings were off. Some users deleted all photos and, still, a quick insight from Settings > General > iPhone Storage showed that photos take a lot of space. This was solved later on with further iterations of iOS 15 and that’s why we suggest updating your iPhone to the latest available firmware version. Of course, if you haven’t done this already.

To update your iPhone, navigate to Settings > General > Software Update and install available updates from there. After that, check iPhone Storage once more to see if are Photos taking too much storage or if the readings are fixed.

4. Change photo format

To save some storage space, Apple introduced High-Efficiency formats (HEIF for photos and HEVC for videos) and gave users an option to switch to those two or stay with old JPEG/H.264 that are most commonly used. The thing with these formats is that they take up a lot less space while retaining quality. If we exclude small compatibility issues with older tools and services that don’t support these formats, it’s a good idea to switch to High Efficiency.

Here’s how to change photo and video format on your iPhone:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Choose Camera.
  3. Select Formats.
  4. Tap High Efficiency instead of Most Compatible.photos take so much storage iphone

5. Use third-party apps to store photos in the cloud

Finally, if you’re not subscribed to iCloud + with extra storage, the free option is not a whole lot of storage, to say the least. In this day and age, 5GB won’t take you far. But, luckily, there are more than a few third-party cloud services that are either more affordable, available, or outright better than iCloud Photos.

The first service that comes to mind is Google Photos (App Store) but you can use services like Dropbox (App Store), Microsoft OneDrive (App Store), or MEGA (App Store) with varying storage plans and limited free plans. All of the aforementioned apps (Google Photos are obvious) have some kind of gallery to separate your photos and videos from the rest of the files you uploaded.

Give them a try and see how, even when your internal storage is on the lower side (less than 64GB), you can save a lot of space by simply keeping your photos and videos in the cloud instead of pilling everything on internal storage. In case you need something, you can always download media files back on your iPhone. And, if you worry that your valuable photos and videos are not safe, you can always store them on your PC via iTunes, just to be sure.

With that said, we can conclude this article. Thank you for reading what was, hopefully, an informative article. Don’t forget to give us your two cents on the subject in the comments section below. We look forward to hearing from you.

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in May 2022. 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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