There are typically two reasons why your iPhone or iPad may display a Not Enough Storage Available notification: either the internal device storage capacity is nearly full or the iCloud storage limit has been met.
Either of these situations can occur when there is a lot of data stored on your device. Understanding what the Not Enough Storage Available notification means is the key to resolving the issue.
iPhone or iPad Storage Capacity
When using an iPhone or iPad, most people typically install apps, take photos and videos, download music or books, surf the Internet, and check emails. Over time, as more and more information is downloaded and saved to the device, the amount of available storage space on the device will decrease.
To think of this another way, let’s compare your iPhone to a large cardboard box and an app to a much smaller cardboard box. When you download an app, a certain amount of the iPhone storage space is required to hold the app. Similarly, when you put the small box into the large box, it takes up a certain amount of space in the large box. As you continue putting small boxes into the large box, eventually the large box will become full and no more small boxes can be stored in the large box. Every app, photo, video, song, book, or document stored on your iPhone is the equivalent of a small box, and eventually your iPhone can become full.
Depending on the size of your device (16GB, 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB) and the type of data typically stored on the device, it usually takes quite some time to reach the storage capacity of your device. Many people will never use all the storage capacity of their device. However, if you take a lot of videos or store movies on the device, you may have seen a Not Enough Storage Available notification on your device.
If the internal device storage full, you will not be able to take any additional photos, record any videos, or download any new apps until you delete some data from the device.
External Storage for the iPhone or iPad
You can purchase devices that provide external storage for the iPhone or iPad. This article provides more information about the external storage options.
Not Enough Storage Available on the Device
To check if the internal device storage is full, go to Settings -> General -> Storage & iCloud Usage and check the amount listed as Available in the Storage section at the top of the window.
If the number is down to a few megabytes (MB) available, your device storage is basically full. Tap Manage Storage to see a list of apps indicating the amount of storage used for each app. Apps using the largest amount of storage are shown at the top. This can be helpful to determine what data can be removed from the device.
- If the Messages app is near the top of the list, deleting old messages or the photos contained in old messages will free up some storage space.
- If Photos & Camera is near the top of the list, you likely need to move some of the photos and videos off your device to your computer. This article from the Apple website provides details for transferring your photos from the iPhone to your computer.
- If you want to keep all your photos on your device, you can try enabling the iCloud Photo Library feature under Settings -> iCloud -> Photos. Enabling the iCloud Photo Library will store full resolution photos in iCloud and keep lower resolution “device-sized” photos on your device. This will reduce the amount of storage required for the photos on your device.
- If there are hoards of apps on the device, you may need to delete some apps you no longer use.
- If you downloaded a movie to your device, this will also use a large amount of storage.
If you connect your device to iTunes on your computer and select the Summary page for the device, the graph at the bottom of the page will show your memory usage. You can use this to help find what is using so much of your device’s storage capacity.
Not Enough Storage Available for iCloud Backup
You have two options when it comes to backing up your iPhone or iPad:
- Backup to your computer using iTunes, or
- Backup to iCloud.
Apple provides every iCloud user 5GB of free storage space to backup their devices. As you accumulate more and more data on your device, the amount of storage space required for the backup also increases. Over time, it is possible to exceed the 5GB iCloud storage limit and your device will display a Not Enough Storage Available notification. This indicates your device is unable to backup to iCloud.
If the message indicates there is no more iCloud storage available, you will either need to reduce the amount of data being backed up to iCloud or completely turn off iCloud Backup. If you decide to turn off iCloud Backup, go to Settings -> iCloud -> Backup and set the iCloud Backup slider to the off position. In the future, any backups will need to be performed with iTunes on your computer. This article provides details on how to reduce the amount of data backed up to iCloud.
Alternatively, if you want to continue using iCloud for backups without removing any data from the backup, will need to purchase additional iCloud storage from Apple by going to Settings -> iCloud -> Storage -> Buy More Storage. You will see a list of all the iCloud storage plans available.