Why Am I Receiving a “Not Enough Storage Available”

As you take photos with your device or download apps, the amount of information stored on your device increases. Over time, as the amount of information increases, you can run into storage issues. Understanding what the “Not Enough Storage Available” notification means is the key to resolving the issue.

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.

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 or download any new apps until you delete some data from the device.

Not Enough Storage Available on the Device

To check if the internal device storage is full, go to Settings -> General -> 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.

There is also a list of apps indicating the amount of storage used for each app. Apps using the largest amount of storage are listed at the top. This can be helpful to determine what data can be removed from the device. As an example, if the Messages app is near the top of the list. Deleting old messages will free up some storage space. Additionally, if Photos & Camera is near the top of the list, you likely took a lot of photos or videos. To free up some space, you may need to move some of the photos and videos off your device to your computer. 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:

  1. Backup to your computer using iTunes, or
  2. 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 no more iCloud storage is 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 -> Storage & Backup and set the unlock icloud Backup slider to the off position. In the future, any backups will need to be performed with iTunes on your computer.

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