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Declutter, free up space: How to clean up iPhone

As we use our mobiles year after year or transfer everything over to a new gadget, many of us have collected a catalog of apps we downloaded at one point.

Still, we havenít utilized it in months (or possibly years). Whether itís a forgotten social network, the companion app for the smart device you threw in the trash, or just Duolingo humiliates you for giving up on learning Spanish.

All these apps can carry valuable space on the phoneís storage, clutter up the home screens, and, in worst-case scenarios, even drain the batteries.

In this article, youíll go over some fast and effortless ways to clean up iPhone and get rid of apps you no longer use, and to make apps that you donít use very often a little more efficient.

Employ Offload Unused Apps Elements

If youíre skimming for the most comfortable way to free up space, you can use the Offload Unused Apps feature built into iOS. Once activated, itíll uninstall the apps you donít use, though Apple doesnít provide details on how long you have to skip an app before it is offloaded. Unlike when you delete an app from your phone, offloaded apps will stick around on your home screen or in your app library ó just with a cloud icon next to their name. If you click on an offloaded app, your mobile will automatically download it again, and you can pick back up more or less where you left off.

Screenshot of an app thatís been offloaded in between other apps that are still installed

Apps that have been offloaded will be marked with a download symbol.

To have your phone automatically offload apps, you can go to Settings > App Store, then toggle Offload Unused Apps.

If you want first to see how much space the feature can save you, then go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage before you turn it on. In most cases, thereíll be a section telling you how much space the feature can save you alongside an Enable button that will turn it on. The storage screen also provides excellent information on how much space your phone has left and how much space every app and its data takes up. It can also gauge how large an app is when youíre manually deleting it, which Iíll touch on in a moment.

Screenshot showing the iPhone Storage screen, with the Offload Unused Apps recommendation

Using the iPhone Storage screen, you can see how much space the Offload Unused Apps will save you.

There are a few downsides to using the Offload Unused Apps feature.

First, Appleís support documentation strongly implies that you wonít be able to re-download an offloaded app if itís removed from the App Store. So if youíre keeping some depreciated apps for archival purposes, you may not want to turn on automatic offloading.

It can also bite you if thereís an app that you only use in areas where coverage is spotty or non-existent. For example, it wouldnít be a lot of fun if you discovered that your phone had offloaded your hiking map app when you got to the trailhead.

Offload Apps Manually

While you couldnít find a way to prevent specific apps from being offloaded by the automatic system, you can offload apps manually instead of having your phone choose which apps to delete. To do that, proceed to Settings > General > iPhone Storage and select the app youíre trying to remove from the list. Then tap the Offload App button.

Permanently Delete Apps

If youíre looking to eliminate unused apps, there are a few ways to do it

Your personal favorite may involve going to the App Store, then tapping my profile picture in the top right to access the list of apps that have been updated recently. If you notice one you never use, you can swipe left on it to access a delete button. Checking on this month or so will keep your phone pretty clean.

Gif showing how you can delete apps from the App Storeís update screen

If you manually update your apps, this technique will be even handier.

If youíd instead do one big sweep to get rid of all the apps, you donít use at once, the app library makes it relatively easy. First, scroll to the right through your home screens until you see all your apps categorized on one page. From there, you can look through each category and delete the apps you no longer need by pressing and holding on to their icons and tapping Delete App.

Donít forget that the categories may have more apps than you can see from the main app library screen ó tapping on the bottom right corner of a class will open it and display all the apps.

One final option is through the iPhone Storage screen in Settings > General. If you tap on the apps in the list (which are ordered by how much space they take up on your phone), youíll see a Delete App option under the offload button. If you go through the list, deleting every app you donít use, you could have a lot of free space and a less cluttered phone.