How to make space on your Tablet or Smartphone.
Day 3 of 5 days of organizing

I tried to download an app to my iPhone yesterday and I was rudely told by my telephone that I couldn’t. I didn’t have enough space.

I’m not sure how that’s possible since the cute, peppy, teenager who sold me the phone said “Oh … you only need 32 GB. And you’ll NEVER use that up”. Pretty, little, liar.

Clearly she’s never encountered a blogger before. Because anyone who blogs, uses Instagram, Vine or listens to music knows that 32 GB really only gets you so far before your smart phone or tablet begins to cough and sputter.

ESPECIALLY if you’re in the habit of constantly downloading new apps and taking pictures of everything and anything you find remotely interesting throughout the course of the day.

Ditto for tablets.



Welcome to Day 3 of the 5 days of organizing! Making space on your tablet or smartphone.

The instructions I’m going to give you are for the iPhone and iPad, because those are what I own but I’ll describe how to do the same thing (without pictures) for the another popular smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy.


The first thing you have to do if you want to clear up some space on your iPhone is to see what’s eating it all up.  Apps, music, video or photos?  Or maybe all of the above.

To see exactly how much space everything is taking up go to your home screen then …

Click on Settings.




Click on General


Click on Usage




WOAH!  Toooo many pictures.



For the Samsung Galaxy, go to your Home Screen. Then click Settings.  Then click Storage.  A list of what’s using up what space will come up including apps, pictures, videos, etc.  Click on any of these items to see more information about specifics.

With either phone you’ll be able to see at a quick glance what’s eating up your storage. For me, it’s pictures. For you it might be music or videos.

So now what to do?

1.  Go through your phone and manually delete all the pictures you KNOW you don’t want. The accidental foot shot, or any pictures you look ugly in … that sort of thing.

2.  Once you’ve gone through your photos (and this might take a LONG time, so sit on the couch and do it while watching TV at night) you can transfer them to your computer which has more storage capacity.  If your computer is also bordering on full, you can then transfer all of your pictures to an external hard drive or a stick.

3.  Delete any apps you don’t use.  Even if you paid for them.  I have some photography apps I paid for but never, EVER use so getting rid of them won’t make me sad. Plus once an app is gone, chances are you won’t even remember what it was by the next day.

4.  If you have videos on your phone or tablet that you’ve already watched get RID of them.  Delete them.  They are take up HUGE amounts of storage space.

5.  Delete or transfer video’s you’ve taken with your iPhone camera.   One of the bigger quirks of the iPhone is the fact that it’s really hard to find all of the videos you’ve shot in one place.   If you click on your camera roll from your home screen, your videos and photos are all listed by the date you took them, so you have to scroll and scroll and scroll to find a specific video or picture.

If you want to see all of your videos together so you can delete them quickly here’s what  you need to do.


From your  home screen click Camera.



Click your photo archive at the lower left corner.




Click Camera Roll.




Now all of your photos and videos are separated.

Click on “All” to see them all …




Click on “Photos” to see only photos.




Click on “Videos” to see only videos.



All instructions are the same for an iPad.

If you’ve been following along with my Days of Organizing you have now cleaned out your closet, your fridge and your iPhone.  YOU are a better human being than all those around you.

Unless you are currently sitting beside Idris Elba.

Have your own tips? Tricks? Let everyone know.

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  1. kate-v says:

    whew! a day off – I don’t have cell phone let alone a smart phone or a tablet — I think I’ll nap…

  2. Kathydee says:

    Could you just come to my house and fix my phone, computer, etc. ?

    My kids are sick of me asking questions. I have access in my HOA to swimming pools, tennis courts, old guys, etc.

    Just think about it, okay? I WANT MY ELECTRONICS to work and I am very tired of the Geek Squad.
    Thanks for either considering or laughing… Kathy

  3. Liz says:

    …”for the another popular smartphone,”…

    Super awesome idea though, my mum came to me yesterday saying her iPhone was full, and then I got stuck in the photos app because I’m an android user and couldn’t work out how to go back one step. Yes I pressed the home button and clicked back into the photo app which put me back in the same place.

    I hate iPhones.

  4. Call Me Patty says:

    Whew! I thought you were going to get us to clean the pantry. Umm, what? I didn’t say that and you didn’t hear it.
    I mean, I cleaned a bunch of old messages off my iphone. I don’t have any videos. And pictures , I delete as I go along especially when they are doubles or triples, or more. I can’t believe you have 4000 pictures! Time to get crack-a-lackin and get those puppies cleared off, Karen.
    BTW, after cleaning my fridge today, I cleaned out the cabinet under the sink, and washed my kitchen floor. I think I’ll go give myself a facial now and clean out those pores.

  5. NikiDee says:

    OMG! I was feeling guilty about having 1876 photos…. 4031?! Holy moly! I’m trading in my old iPhone next week for a new Samsung Galaxy – you’re like a mind reader. A photo hogging mind reader.

  6. Maggie Andrew says:

    Wow thanks Karen, I’ve been trying to get rid of a load of rubbish my kids downloaded for me when I got my IPad. Brilliant . X

  7. Heather says:

    Phew, an organizing exercise I can do while sitting on the sofa, feet up, cuppa tea in hand!! I might actually be able to find the energy (and time) to do this one!!

  8. Tigersmom says:

    I thought I was going to get a day off. You managed to assign something I can do in the waiting room of my doctor’s office. Curses!

  9. Jody says:

    Great tutorial. But how do I do the next step and get the photos from my iphone to my computer. Asking, begging, pleading with the photos to jump over to the computer just doesn’t seem to be working.

  10. Zoe says:

    If my photos are on the cloud is it safe to assume I can delete from my iphone?

  11. Thank you – Thank you – Thank you!… I love the visual how-to. The camera on iphone is over the top but not being a technical gal I really appreciate the visual how-tos. Keep the tips coming! Cheers Sandra

  12. Some great tips!! I really need to do this today, and I will, while I am dog-sitting!

  13. Denise says:

    32G? I’m getting by with 16G but I’m not a blogger. My bloat is the music, which I rarely listen to from my phone. I’ll be giving that a housecleaning.

    FYI … you can delete any app and later recover it (if you can even remember having it!). All your purchases stay available forever. You just to out to the App Store and download it again.

    After going to the app store, you should see the word Purchased and a down arrow showing what you have on the phone currently. To the right is another arrow. After pressing it you will see a screen that says ALL and NOT ON THIS PHONE. Pressing NOT ON THIS PHONE takes you to any deleted apps you may want to retrieve (yeah, right). It will note that it was PURCHASED with a little CLOUD symbol showing that it can be retrieved.

  14. Dannie says:

    I’m so glad I am not the only IPhone user who never updated. My daughter updated hers first, I hated the way it looked so I’ve never done it 🙂 and I clean my phone out monthly so I have today off 🙂

  15. ~JackieVB says:

    I don’t have much to clean off my phone but I might consider adding the Gordon Ramsay – Cook with Me app!

  16. Amy in Stl says:

    If you have an android, just go get a larger SD card. It’s easier and if most of your large files are apps you use daily it’s good to be able to double your storage space instead of being stuck with a small amount like on the iphone

  17. Kari says:

    Not to be a over achiever or anything, but I was just being revolted by the fact that I have 12k + email messages hanging around my inbox. Insane!!! So, since I have no photos left on my phone I’ll do a little tradesy. Gah, I hate Land’s Ends’ email subscription. Delete!

  18. Another thing that takes up space in iPhones is the messages app. Messages stores all of your back messages and photos that were sent etc and it can take up LOTS of space. So if messages has a big number next to it, look into how to delete those badboys. Plus it will help if have sketchy stuff on there 😉

  19. Jcrn says:

    Karen- silly question, maybe but….how much storage should we have left- to be on the safe side? I have visions of my tablet just freezing someday or giving a tiny virtual sigh before it dies. Also, the whole Cloud thing confuses me.

    My results: I have 42.3 GB used and 14.9 GB storage supposedly available BUT the cloud storage info says I have 55 GB storage with 47.3 of it available. Huh?!

    I wonder if I have some stuff that should be in the Cloud just sitting in my tablet, like virtual books outside a virtual bookshelf or something.. Can I clear up storage space by moving things into the Cloud? If not, what is all that Cloud storage for? Just to impress visitors?

  20. Shauna says:

    I love Google Plus for my pictures. Every picture I take on my phone gets automatically downloaded/uploaded (?) to Google Plus (not shared unless I share them, so all those naked shots are safe, er I mean…), then I can safely delete the pictures that I don’t need on my phone. Also, Google Plus has a great little editing program. So, I take pictures of my etsy products with my phone, they automatically get uploaded to Google Plus where I can then edit them to look pretty, save them to my computer if I want and can delete them off my phone and feel safe that I have my pictures.

    It’s definitely helped me with my storage issues on my Samsung Galaxy.

  21. Jcrn says:

    So you can then delete the photos from the photo album section
    on your Galaxy and just store them separately in Google Plus?

    • Jcrn says:

      Correction: you can first store the photos in Googe Plus and then delete them from your camera roll on the tablet? If I try to delete any from my tablet now, it deletes them from albums too. So Google Plus could be a workaround.

  22. Leslie says:

    Oy. 7.1 GB available … 50.1 GB used. (21 GB each of photos and music). Someone send a search crew if you don’t hear from me in a week.

  23. Sandra says:

    Huh! never knew i had some super swell videos on my camera. Intersting what you record when you don’t know you are recording! Oh Lord! Technology and I need to learn to get along.

  24. Fran Paulseth says:

    Enjoying the process this week. I hope you are considering the organizing of recipes and photos. I am sure I am not the only one with a pile of digital camera cards and memory sticks that I do not know how to tackle. This latter task has been hanging over me for years. Please get us started.

  25. Deirdre Fowler says:

    I’m the Android user and I need help. I also have quite a few photos and videos. How do I separate the videos from the pics on the smartphone?
    sigh… wish I had an Iphone.

  26. Laura Bee says:

    Days like this I am happy I have a stupid phone. But I still need to do the fridge.
    And about yesterday: There is nothing like having a playdate to motivate me to clean my house. Looking pretty good. Still need to do the fridge. After my daughter’s swim class this afternoon. Promise.

  27. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Don’t have an IPhone..Just have a cheap cell phone to make calls and take pics I cleaned out pics I didn’t want anymore..

  28. Kasia says:

    The new version/update (I never know what version I have… way to much for me, but I do try to keep it updated, because at some point you surpass the number of updates allowed or something and have to go to the store and have them do it for you! Happened to my husband) …for the iPhone is a little different than what you show. You can access videos-only just by going to Photos, and at the bottom is a choice of: Photos, Shared or Albums. Go to Albums and there is a Folder/Album just for Videos.

  29. Barbie says:

    OH WOW! You are now my hero! I didn’t know you could find all your videos like that! SO SO helpful! Thank YOU!!

  30. Marti says:

    Karen, one day when an Apple “genius” (I would generally argue with this nomenclature, but in this case… maybe) was on the phone with me, he switched the formatting on my iTunes, so that the songs are saved in a much smaller format on the phone. I realize you have 3.9 million songs, but perhaps check if your songs are saved in as “space saving” of a format so they don’t hog space, too.

  31. nancy says:

    Ok ok, this was very useful. I too have been struggling with space on my iPhone. I discovered my (4 y/o) nephew had taken tons of photos (he even figured out how to use the app, Paper Camera) and several long videos! And I had all these podcasts on uploading faithfully that I forgot I ever signed up for. I had to decide which music I actually listened to and which music made me look good if anyone searched my phone for any reason, like EMTs or something. Now I have some space. Thanks so much. This is great. So sorry I complained.

  32. Candra says:

    I see you have the Gordan Ramsey Cook With Me app. What do you think if it? I’m dying to know!

    • Karen says:

      I absolutely LOVE it. In fact I’ve been thinking about doing a post on it I love it so much. There aren’t a TON of recipes, but they’re good, easy and all come with VIDEOS! Easily the best app I’ve encountered. ~ karen!

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