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Free up Text Message Storage Space Without Deleting Threads?

purdnost

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 2, 2018
192
33
iCloud Storage > Messages > Top Conversations

If I’m trying to free up some space, it seems the only way to do so is to delete the thread from the Messages app or from iCloud Storage settings. I thought deleting from iCloud Storage settings would leave the thread intact and just clear out the data, but it removed the thread entirely.

I’d like to be able to clear out all the attachments, and keep the threads intact, the group threads in particular. At this point, is there no way to do this?
 

LFC2020

macrumors 68020
Apr 4, 2020
2,407
3,007
Go into messages, select message you want to delete media from then press on the picture or name up top in the message, then click on the info button, then select the media you want to delete. 😁
 
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purdnost

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 2, 2018
192
33
Yeah, unfortunately there’s no select all option, so manually selecting hundreds of photos and video clips becomes tedious. At this point, it’s easier just to delete the thread.
 
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christian.terra

macrumors 6502a
Sep 30, 2014
530
303
Yeah, unfortunately there’s no select all option, so manually selecting hundreds of photos and video clips becomes tedious. At this point, it’s easier just to delete the thread.
on the Mac you can select all by shift-click.. unless they took that away in Big Sur. I'm not on BS so can't check
 
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contacos

macrumors 6502a
Nov 11, 2020
502
1,216
Mexico City living in Berlin
as far as I know this only frees up space on the device itself. it does not actually clear it from iCloud. At least I never got it to work and that is one of the reasons I stopped using iCloud Messages a while ago. Unlike the text messages itself, attachments do not sync (in this case update) across devices.
 
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Le Big Mac

macrumors 68030
Jan 7, 2003
2,665
224
Washington, DC
as far as I know this only frees up space on the device itself. it does not actually clear it from iCloud. At least I never got it to work and that is one of the reasons I stopped using iCloud Messages a while ago. Unlike the text messages itself, attachments do not sync (in this case update) across devices.
Yeah, I'm getting extremely inconsistent results with this as well, most frustratingly because regardless of how many attachments I delete Apple keeps telling me my iCloud storage is nearly full.

I can't tell whether this is because the photos are not being deleted somewhere (i.e. in the cloud) or because Apple is doing a lousy job of calculating remaining memory. some of it may be a result of retaining deleted items for 30 days, but I've been deleting for more than 30 days and memory usage is stuck just below the 5GB limit.
 
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contacos

macrumors 6502a
Nov 11, 2020
502
1,216
Mexico City living in Berlin
Exactly. It would show messages using 2 GB of iCloud storage but when I clicked on it, it showed like 20 kB in the top conversation and also the attachments shown in the settings never matched the actual images attached I saw in the messaging app itself. In the end i stopped using iCloud Messages
 
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heyyitssusan

macrumors 68020
Feb 9, 2014
2,375
1,551
From Apple - “Messages in iCloud are updated automatically, so you always have the same view everywhere you use iMessage. When you delete a message, photo, or conversation on one device, it’s removed from all of your devices. And since all of your attachments are stored in iCloud, you can save space on your device.

If you use Messages in iCloud, you can easily set up a new device and access your entire messages history. Messages you send, receive, or delete are updated on all iOS devices, iPadOS devices, and Mac computers where you’re signed in to iMessage with the same Apple ID.

Using Messages in iCloud frees up space on your device by storing your messages in iCloud, along with the accompanying photos and other attachments. When you turn on Messages in iCloud on a device, your messages are automatically stored in iCloud, and aren’t included in your iCloud backup.

Note: Although your messages are stored in iCloud, you can’t see them on iCloud.com.”
 
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mdwsta4

macrumors 65816
Jul 23, 2007
1,267
151
I had this issue a few months back where I cleaned up messages considerably so my phone only showed a few kb being used, but iCloud still showed I was using a few GB. Let it sit for a few days and it eventually synced on all devices
 
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Le Big Mac

macrumors 68030
Jan 7, 2003
2,665
224
Washington, DC
From Apple - “Messages in iCloud are updated automatically, so you always have the same view everywhere you use iMessage. When you delete a message, photo, or conversation on one device, it’s removed from all of your devices. And since all of your attachments are stored in iCloud, you can save space on your device.

If you use Messages in iCloud, you can easily set up a new device and access your entire messages history. Messages you send, receive, or delete are updated on all iOS devices, iPadOS devices, and Mac computers where you’re signed in to iMessage with the same Apple ID.

Using Messages in iCloud frees up space on your device by storing your messages in iCloud, along with the accompanying photos and other attachments. When you turn on Messages in iCloud on a device, your messages are automatically stored in iCloud, and aren’t included in your iCloud backup.

Note: Although your messages are stored in iCloud, you can’t see them on iCloud.com.”

The problem is that it seems to offload pictures from a device but then one can't delete the pictures from the icloud storage space reliably in order free up icloud storage.
 
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heyyitssusan

macrumors 68020
Feb 9, 2014
2,375
1,551
The problem is that it seems to offload pictures from a device but then one can't delete the pictures from the icloud storage space reliably in order free up icloud storage.
Oh, that is very interesting. I’d need to try that myself and see if that works for me or not.
 
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