How to delete your old Apple iCloud backups and free up space

Posted:
in iCloud edited June 2015
Deleting multiple backups can help conserve valuable storage space in Apple's iCloud. Here's how to free up space in iCloud to ensure that your iPhone and iPad backups are up-to-date in case the worst happens.




iCloud is Apple's cloud-based, content storage system for its Mac and iOS product lines. Apple provides 5GB of free storage with every iCloud account.

When a device is set to backup to iCloud, Apple automatically backs up data and settings stored locally on the particular device; it does not create a backup of data already stored in an iCloud account via Mac or iOS apps (as of iOS 8.1, that includes iCloud Photo Library, shared photo albums, My Photo Stream, documents, contacts, calendars, mail, bookmarks, and notes). iCloud backups include purchase history from the iTunes or App Store, app data, home screen and app organization, iMessage/SMS/MMS text messages, device settings, and visual voicemail on an iOS device.

The problem is, if users have multiple devices, old iCloud back-ups can quickly fill up their storage --?particularly if they're on the free 5-gigabyte tier.

To delete an old iCloud backup from an iOS device, simply open the Settings app, and select iCloud.




Then select Storage.




Users will find a line graphic at the bottom of the following screen representing the amount of iCloud storage currently in use. Next, select the particular Backup to be deleted. Users with iCloud being used on multiple devices will have more than one.




After selecting the particular backup to delete, users can choose which apps to back up. Disabling any non-essential apps from a backup will free up space within iCloud storage.




At the bottom of the Backup Info screen, there is an option to Delete the particular backup. Once the backup is deleted, the amount of available iCloud storage will increase in proportion to the size of the deleted backup.





To delete an iCloud backup from a Mac, open System Preferences and select iCloud. Then, select the Manage button on the bottom right of the window.




Like an iOS device, users can see an overview of how much iCloud storage is currently being used. Next, select Backups from the menu.




Simply select the particular backup to be deleted.

Deleting iCloud backups can go a long way to ensuring the 5GB of free storage space is optimized.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 39
    wolfawwwolfaww Posts: 2member
    Question When you chose Delete in systems preferences it says:
    Backup will be turned of and all backup data will be deleted immediately for iCloud. You cannot undo this action.

    Does this me you cannot backup that device again. I don't mind losing the backup data but I would like to have one back up for each device
  • Reply 2 of 39
    thewhitefalconthewhitefalcon Posts: 4,453member
    sog35 wrote: »
    This is a joke. Apple users should not have to climb through loops to insure they can fit 5 G

    iPad and iPhone on 5GB, only time I have issues is when I have months of iMessage conversations with lots of pics inline. Really not an issue for me.
  • Reply 3 of 39
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,581member
    Apple should let users have one iCloud backup per device and exclude this from the 5GB data allowance. I also think that they should force every user to enable 2 step authentication too and not allow them to use any storage unless they do.
  • Reply 4 of 39
    robbyxrobbyx Posts: 469member
    sog35 wrote: »
    This is a joke. Apple users should not have to climb through loops to insure they can fit 5 G

    Given how much profit Apple rakes in every quarter, they should give all customers unlimited cloud storage.
  • Reply 5 of 39
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,782member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by robbyx View Post





    Given how much profit Apple rakes in every quarter, they should give all customers unlimited cloud storage.



    Well they don’t, they charge for it so what are you going to do about it other than absolutely nothing.

  • Reply 6 of 39
    robbyxrobbyx Posts: 469member
    lkrupp wrote: »

    Well they don’t, they charge for it so what are you going to do about it other than absolutely nothing.

    What's your point?
  • Reply 7 of 39
    magman1979magman1979 Posts: 1,114member

    Though many people here know me as a huge Apple fan, I agree that Apple really needs to step up their cloud game and offer MUCH more storage in the free tiers... Too many other companies, regardless how good or bad they may be, are offering way more value with their cloud options. While I don't think Apple needs to offer unlimited for free, as that wouldn't make much business sense for them, I'd like to see at least 50-100GB offered for free. That would likely satisfy the needs of (best guess) 80% of their clients using iCloud...

  • Reply 8 of 39
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 19,046member

    This is such a silly waste of time.

     

    iCloud needs to get past -- and get us past -- stupidity like this. No one has the time to waste on this sort of stuff. (This is the reason that Google is successful.)

  • Reply 9 of 39
    d4njvrzfd4njvrzf Posts: 797member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sog35 View Post





    Does not mean Apple is right. This is like charging a monthy fee for email.

     

    Is there something inherently wrong with that? The email provider has to cover their operating costs somehow. The same is true with any web service. You pay for all services through either ads or traditional payments via direct subscriptions (like with Google Apps) or purchasing another product with the service fees already rolled into the cost of the product.

  • Reply 10 of 39
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,153member
    This is such a silly waste of time.

    iCloud needs to get past -- and get us past -- stupidity like this. No one has the time to waste on this sort of stuff. (This is the reason that Google is successful.)

    They don't have the money nor resources to give their users more storage¡
  • Reply 11 of 39

    I don't know that I'd go so far as calling it shameful, but it certainly comes off as cheap - like they would rather nickel and dime you over something that should be a seamless experience. 5GB isn't enough. 

     

    I certainly agree with some points made and not others.

     

    1) To me, device backups should not count towards the cap. Penalizing folks for having multiple devices makes no sense to the strategy. 

    2) Free tier should double to 10GB. 

     

    Those two would be a big step in the right direction. I don't think it should unlimited for all...Apple has a right to make money on the costs offering high storage, but let's face it, storage is pretty cheap. It doesn't matter what the competition is doing, Apple is typically less concerned about that, it's about a better policy for their users. With all the data center expansion they are working on, maybe we'll hear something in the fall.

    phonephreak
  • Reply 12 of 39

    Apple does not have to give stuff away for free just because they make money. Isn't that communist thinking? Expecting unlimited storage is ridiculous. It's not sustainable unless it's restricted to certain file types for which Apple can estimate future usage growth.

     

    You don't need 128GB of iCloud to back up a 128GB device so that part of the argument needs to die. 

    The operating system software doesn't need backing up.

    The apps are already stored on the cloud; a copy of each app doesn't have to be stored in everyone's personalized iCloud backup space.

    Music and movies can re downloaded from the internet or - heaven forbid - you might have to wait until you get home to get them off your computer.

     

    I agree that 5GB is low by comparison to other services but it's enough for backing up my iPhone and iPad settings and messages and would fit a third device.

  • Reply 13 of 39
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

    To give you an idea of how ridiculous 5gb is....a 25 minute 1080p video will fill the entire 5gb

     

    The moral of the story is don’t shoot raw unless you actually need to. :p 

  • Reply 14 of 39
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,115member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sog35 View Post



    This is a joke. Apple users should not have to climb through loops to insure they can fit 5 G

     

    Almost everyone I know gets by with 5GB. For the rest (including myself) paying $0.99/month it's that big of a fucking deal. I find it amazing that if someone is suffering with 5GB, they would choose to continue to do so instead of paying a DOLLAR a MONTH which is utterly meaningless. 

  • Reply 15 of 39

    Props to Jonathan Lace for calling his iPhone H.A.L 9000!

  • Reply 16 of 39
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,509member
    sog35 wrote: »


    There is ZERO defending this. And dont say 99 cents is insignificant to the average iPhone user who pulls in less than $70k a year when Apple has $180,000,000,000 in the bank. If 99 cents is insignificant to a consumer than 99 cents is 1000x more insignificant to Apple.

    Actually, you might consider the possibility that Apple's dsta storage and network capacity is not yet ready to meet greater demand. Reno's not finished, Mesa isn't even started yet, and who knows where else they're going to be building others. And they can only get them approved and built so fast.

    They're behind Google Amazon and Microsoft because those companies have always been about on-line services, whereas Apple is relatively new to awareness of Services as a leg of their business. Meanwhile, they're adding new clients at the same rate as they are selling new phones and tablets to new customers, who by the way are making photography with their devices into a new way of life.

    I'm guessing that Apple has only a minor fraction of the available storage that Google or Amazon has. I think we have to keep a lid on our sense of entitlement here for the near future.
  • Reply 17 of 39
    croprcropr Posts: 914member
    It should be clear to all that Apple is a hardware company and not a service company. The services Apple is offering are only to increase its hardware sales, and are considered as a cost. There is nothing wrong with a hardware first strategy, but as a consumer you'd better realize this when you buy a new smartphone. I am pretty sure that most people who are complaining about the 5 GB limit of iCloud, did not take this into account when they bought their last iOS device

    Google is just the opposite. Google is a service company, and the Android platform is there to increase the ad revenues of its services. The services are for Google a revenue source. That is why Google is offering most of its services on iOS devices.

    As long as there is no iCloud or iTunes App for Android, services will remain an afterthought for Apple.
  • Reply 18 of 39
    redgeminiparedgeminipa Posts: 493member
    This isn't deleting "OLD" backups. It deletes ALL backups for that device. Since backups are merged, it's almost pointless deleting the entire backup file per device to only take HOURS to create another new backup.

    This article is completely useless.
  • Reply 19 of 39
    croprcropr Posts: 914member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sog35 View Post





    Bullshit.



    Cook himself said Apple is not a hardware company.



    Apple is all about integrating hardware, software, and services to make the best user experience. With 5 GB of cloud the experence sucks for many users.

     

    Cook can say whatever he want, only the facts matter.  As long as Apple does not want offer services that are not beneficial to its hardware sales,  Apple is a hardware first company.  The meager 5GB is just an example of the hardware first strategy.  Apple is only looking for the best user experience, if this results in hardware sales

  • Reply 20 of 39
    frykefryke Posts: 217member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MagMan1979 View Post

     

    Though many people here know me as a huge Apple fan, I agree that Apple really needs to step up their cloud game and offer MUCH more storage in the free tiers... Too many other companies, regardless how good or bad they may be, are offering way more value with their cloud options. While I don't think Apple needs to offer unlimited for free, as that wouldn't make much business sense for them, I'd like to see at least 50-100GB offered for free. That would likely satisfy the needs of (best guess) 80% of their clients using iCloud...




    Wait, lemme think. I currently pay for 20 GB on iCloud, of which about 10 GB are used. I personally would think Apple should offer 20 GB for free, currently. On the other hand... You can also back up your iDevices through iTunes. And they ARE giving you 5 GB of free space. Only because other companies give away the same or more space for free doesn't make them look bad imho. Instead, it makes whiney users who whine about not getting enough free stuff with their purchases look bad. If I can afford an iPhone 64 GB with a decent contract per month, I sure can pay for my 20 GB iCloud storage. Would I welcome more free space? Yes, I would. But I would be thankful, not saying "too little, too late" – a comment, that can be expected whenever Apple chooses to upgrade the iCloud capacity and reduce the pricing.

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