Full iPhone storage? Tips for Managing iMessage Data from iOS

iOS creates an incredibly rich message experience. But all those additional features come at a price, mainly data from iMessage. iOS 10+ and particularly iMessage now consume much more information and memory from our iPhone.

So much information and so little space. Thats a common complaint from us iPhone users that we dont have the luxury of adding storage via a microSD card when we need it. Will Apple ever design an iPhone and iPad with this desirable feature that Android users take for granted? MicroSD cards are getting bigger and cheaper. While iPhones are still getting ? 18

Samsung says that “running out of memory shouldnt be a thing” these days, and I couldnt agree more! It should be a thing of the past.

But for iPhone users, running out of memory and storage is a reality, and it totally sucks!

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  • Take photos but iPhone says the storage is full?

We all need to act as managers

I choose to look on the bright side; the grass is the greenest argument.

By restricting the amount of storage space we have on hand, we are forced to manage our storage. For better or worse, we must think about conservation and organization.

We must develop strategies and prioritize what we need and want and what we dont need or want. Lets think of this as a life lesson, an excellent education for all facets of life.


In fact, we can make lemonade with these lemons.

Lets go for it!

iDevice alerts: danger ahead!

If you receive that dreaded “storage almost full” or “memory warning device is running out of memory” alert, then listen! Even if youre not receiving that message , its time to be proactive and take control. Its always best to manage a crisis BEFORE it happens.


Your latest Data Hog, Messages and iMessage application

One of the first things we should all look at is our iMessage text and data. With all the great features of iMessage in iOS, our messages have the potential to take up a lot (and I mean a lot) of our iDevices storage.


So lets make a commitment to limit our iMessage data and how many messages we store on our iPhones. By keeping recent text and deleting old text, we open up storage space, and help our iPhones, and our message applications run efficiently and faster.

But those messages are really important

For those of you who have messages that absolutely need saving, I have a couple of suggestions:

  1. Create a backup of your iPhone to save those very important messages (VIM)
  2. Take screenshots of your MIVs by pressing the power and start buttons at the same time
  3. There is an application for that, of course! Try our PhoneView, iExplorer or TouchCopy to archive your messages

Save your text message images in your photo application

If you do not save your Message photos specifically in your Photos application, then your Message text photos are not stored anywhere else. Photos that arrive through your Message applications, email applications and other third-party applications are not automatically saved in your Photo application. You must do this intentionally.

Check out these two articles to make sure you save your photos in the Photos application!

  1. How to quickly save all text message images on iPhone
  2. How to save your iMessage images as photos on your iPhone

Before we go any further, lets take a look and see how much space the messages really take up.

Check the storage of your iDevice

  1. Go to Settings ; General
  2. For iOS 11 and above, choose Storage for iPhone (or iPad)
  3. For iOS 10 and later, see iCloud Storage and Usage
    1. Touch Manage Storage

Under Storage, you will see a list of Used , and Available . Used includes everything from applications to content for your operating system. Available is the amount of free space remaining on your iPhone or other iDevice. The current rule of thumb is that if your available storage is less than 10 GB (yes, gigabytes), you should spend some time organizing your information and start trimming down the extras.

Since many of us have iPhones with about 16 GB, 10 GB of available space is unrealistic. S

or in Apple ToolBox, we recommend that you always have at least 25% of the total original storage available.

Doing the calculations, that means for a 16GB phone, we recommend to have at least 4GB of storage available.

One thing that is often overlooked is that your iPhone or other iDevice always requires a certain amount of free space.

iPhones do not work well when they are close to their storage limits. Symptoms include slow response, glitches, unresponsiveness and general system lethargy.

So cleaning your iPhone or another iDevice is like cleaning your home, a necessary evil.

Using iOS 11 or higher?

If you are using iOS 11 and above, Apple added some really nice features to the iMessage storage settings, including manual and automatic storage functions, such as choosing and choosing which images to remove from texts.

In addition, iOS 11.4 included the long awaited Messages function in iCloud !

See our article How to delete iPhone messages, documents and data with iOS11 and 12 and get started!

Deepen storage

Touching Manage Storage shows how much space each application takes up. If Messages is near or at the top of the list, its time to put Messages on a data diet.

>The easiest method is to automatically set the time limits that your iPhone saves the messages.

This is a great option for those of us who dont want to spend too much time tracking our iMessage data and storage usage.

An additional benefit is that by setting a time limit, your iDevice deletes all your messages and any attachments, which are often the largest data.

Just make sure that if any attachment sent to you is important to you, save it somewhere else so that it is not deleted from your iDevice.

For example, if a friend sends you an image through iMessage, save it in your photos. That way, when your device reaches the time limit set for message deletion, you still have these meaningful attachments.

Set time limits on messages

  1. Go>Settings ; Messages
  2. Scroll down to Message History
  3. Under Keep messages, change the limit to 30 days.
    1. Other options are 1 year or forever (not recommended forever)
  4. Then scroll down for audio messages
    1. In Expiry, change to After 2 minutes

Adjust image quality

By default, iMessage and Messages sends images with higher quality. In most cases, the important thing is that your friend sees the image, so sending a high quality image is not critical.

Reducing the image size also helps your friend to better manage message storage space. Its a win-win for everyone.

We strongly recommend changing this setting to save space on your iDevice and your recipients devices.

If you are worried about losing too much quality, go ahead and try it. See if you or your friends notice the difference.

  1. Go>Settings ; Messages
  2. Scroll down to the end
  3. Active ” Low quality image mode ” (green)
    1. This sends lower quality images to your recipients
      1. Dont worry, the quality is still pretty good

Filter out any unknown senders

Another way to limit the amount of space your messages consume is to filter out messages from people who are not in your contacts. Enabling this function does not delete these messages, but places them in a separate area for review and deletion. It is also possible to delete the entire message at once.

  1. Go>Settings ; Messages
  2. Scroll down to filter out unknown senders
  3. Activate this function (green)

And, of course, there is an application for that!

Applications to save iMessages and more

If the idea of deleting your messages and any attached photos, videos, etc. terrifies you, dont be afraid! There are applications available just for you.

PhoneView is one of the many applications that store your iMessage conversations in addition to your SMS, what the application is, and even your voice mail and call logs.

Like its counterparts, PhoneView saves this data on your Apple computer (no Windows version yet).

Once downloaded, simply connect your iPhone or other device to your computer and open PhoneView. At the click of a button, transfer any or all of your iMessages and other messages to your computer. PhoneView saves the text as PDF files.

In addition, PhoneView also transfers and saves photos, videos, voice mail, music, contacts and other data from your iDevices.

Once transferred, it eliminates conversations manually through the Messages application or automatically through the time limit function.

PhoneView offers a free trial and a one-time lifetime purchase, currently priced at USD $29.95. Alternatives include MobileTrans, AnyTrans and others. Most offer a free trial.

iMessages data deletion applications and more

For people who dont want to set a time limit but still want or need to clear their iMessage data cache, we have some third-party solutions for you.

There are plenty of applications available to help you slim down your iPhones and other iDevices. Programs like PhoneClean, iMyfone Unmate, iBackupBot and others help you remove any data from iMessage as well as clean up other junk files, temporary files and other application caches.

Most of these programs offer free trials followed by a one-time payment in case you choose to keep the program.

Delete messages manually

If you wish to manually delete your messages, there are several options.

To delete each message one by one

  1. In your message conversation, touch and hold the message bubble you want to delete, then touch More
  2. Touch the trash can, then touch Delete message
  3. To delete all the messages in a thread, tap Delete All in the upper left corner

To delete a whole conversation

  1. Open messages
  2. Slide your finger left over the conversation you want to delete.
  3. Touch Remove

To remove more than one conversation

  1. Open messages
  2. Touch Edit in the upper left corner
  3. Touch the circle next to the conversation.
  4. Touch Remove in the lower right corner

To delete all messages from iPhone storage

Were not sure why it works, but our readers report that it does the trick to reduce that message storage size on their iPhones.

  1. Select>Settings ; General ; Spotlight Search
  2. Uncheck messages in Spotlight search
  3. Delete all text messages displayed in the Messages application
  4. Open the multitasking bar by tapping twice on the Start button
  5. Close ALL running applications
  6. Reboot your phone

Remember to re-enable Messages in your Spotlight Search once youre done. Select Settings ; General ; Spotlight Search and activate.

Repeat this process several times if necessary. This really depends on how much storage your Messages application is occupying. Check the storage of your Message each time you go to General Settings; Storage (OR Storage and iCloud usage; Manage Storage).

After doing this process, the MB or GB can only fall a few hundred MB at a time. Dont worry, this is normal and expected. Simply continue to repeat this process until your Messaging application is low (about 100 MB or less).

If your iMessage data still occupies tons of storage

If the above suggestions did not work and your iPhone or iDevice still has a significant amount of data used by Messages, the best practice is to back up and restore your iDevice via iCloud or iTunes . Restoring empties your caches, including messages, and permanently removes the remaining data.


Clean up your messages frequently. And be sure to turn off your device frequently. iOS includes automatic maintenance functions that run ONLY on startup . The best practice is to turn off your iPhone or other iDevice completely (shutdown) at the same time as YOU turn it off (bedtime). Then, when you wake up, you also turn on your iDevices.

source:>More iPhone storage tips

If youre looking for more iPhone storage tips, check out our full article on how to free up space on all your iDevices. Remember that learning to clean up the storage space on our iDevices helps them stay healthy and work efficiently so we can use them for years to come!

If iMessage and Messages simply dont work properly, see this article.