How to clear up photo storage when using iCloud on iPhone?

Discussion in 'Apple Music, Apple Pay, iCloud, Apple Services' started by skiltrip, Sep 16, 2016.

  1. skiltrip macrumors 68030

    May 6, 2010
    New York
    I have been using iCloud Photo Library for a year or so now. Over the course of the year, I've restored from a backup twice because of totally unrelated things.

    But I have noticed after restoring from a backup, my photo storage is very, very low. But I still have previews of all my photos on my phone because they are in iCloud.

    For example, the other day I wiped and restored from a backup. Before the backup, I had 10GB free on my phone. After restoring from the backup, I have 42GB free.

    My question is, how can I free up storage like that WITHOUT having to restore from a backup. Is there a way to force all my stored photos to only be on iCloud?

    Hopefully this post makes sense. Thanks.
  2. satinsilverem2 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 12, 2013
    Richmond, VA
    I too have always wondered if this is possible. I think there needs to be a purge local storage option with iCloud Photos.
  3. skiltrip thread starter macrumors 68030

    May 6, 2010
    New York
    Unfortunately Apple doesn't really throw those kind of "advanced" features in there, even though I think it's a pretty basic option. A purge function would be awesome. I wish you could just set it to optimize after 30 days or some other time interval, and at that point it'd clear media off the phone.

    I actually just got off Apple Support Chat and then a phone call with another Apple Support person. I was trying to find out what the threshold is for iOS to start optimizing, and no one was able to answer me. I'm not even sure they grasped what I was asking. Granted the user level they usually get is people that don't understand which button the home button is, so they clearly weren't prepared to answer anything about how iOS works under the hood.

    For me, I'd think having 10GB free out of a 64GB iPhone would surely be time to optimize, but having 30GB extra after a restore just proves to me that the Optimize checkbox isn't doing anything at all. I wonder if it waits until you're down near zero to start optimizing. If so, ugh.

    If anyone has filled up their iPhone and observed anything regarding the optimization feature, let us know!
  4. M. Gustave macrumors 68000

    M. Gustave

    Jun 6, 2015
    Grand Budapest Hotel
    Isn't the whole point that you're not supposed to waste mental energy obsessing over storage? Let the phone worry about it.

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3 September 16, 2016