2 Solutions for When There’s Not Enough Storage for an iCloud Backup
Running out of iCloud backup capacity happens quick whether you have a single iPhone or a handful of iOS devices. You’ll know this has happened because you get a friendly popup informing you of “Not Enough Storage” and that the automatic backup can not occur as a result. So what to do? There’s really two choices, one is the most obvious and involves upgrading the iCloud account, and the other is free and relies on you more actively managing your backups.
#1 – Upgrade iCloud Storage
Obviously the easiest and most immediate solution is to just buy more iCloud storage, it’s cheap and a variety of plans are offered starting at $20/year for a total of 15GB storage. Going this route is simple and recommended for those who can afford it:
- Tap on Settings, tap “iCloud” and scroll down to tap on “Storage & Backup”
- Tap “Buy More Storage” and choose the plan that works for you
Easy enough, but what if you don’t want to add a yearly expense to your iCloud account? That brings us to option number two, which is free but will involve some more effort.
#2 – Manage & Delete Old iCloud Backups
If you want to stay free, you’ll have to manage your iCloud backups a bit more hands on to clear up some space, here’s two options on how to do that.
- Launch Settings, tap “iCloud”, then tap on “Storage & Backup”
- Tap “Manage Storage” and tap the name of the device you are going to manage storage for, now you have two real options:
- Option 1) Turn off iCloud backups for certain apps
- Option 2) Delete the current Backup and create a new one
Option 1 really just thins down the backup size, but it’s not always a reasonable choice. If you’re going that route the first thing you’ll probably want to do on an iPhone is move the pictures to a computer and then delete them from iCloud. You can also selectively remove other apps from the backup list, though outside of photos and movies you likely won’t save much space using this method.
Option 2 clears out the existing iCloud backup and could be a better solution, but before doing so it’d be smart to connect the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to a computer with iTunes and create a quick manual backup by right-clicking on the iOS device and choosing “Back Up”, this saves a backup locally to the computer just in case something goes wrong. After you’ve done that, delete the backup from iCloud Settings and then immediately start a new manual backup with iCloud by tapping “Back Up Now”, that will become the most recent backup. If you’re going this route you’re probably right on the brim of iCloud storage capacity again though, so you’ll have to do this on your own anytime you get the popup alert warning of not enough iCloud storage.
For those with multiple iOS devices, it’s probably best to just upgrade the iCloud storage. This is especially true for Mac users who intend on updating to OS X Mountain Lion, since the new version of Mac OS has even more iCloud integration and you’ll undoubtedly end up storing plenty of data in Apple’s cloud.