Many use the start of a new year to get in shape and lose some unwanted holiday weight. Our iDevices, no matter the storage space available, could also benefit from a weight loss regimen.

Each new iPhone and iPad model is packed with better features and abilities than previous versions. Unfortunately, Apple has been slow to increase the storage space available on devices. The iPhone, for example, hasn’t seen a storage jump since 2011 with the arrival of the iPhone 4S.  Meanwhile, iPad configurations have remained unchanged since Apple’s first tablet arrived in 2010.

As with the recently introduced iPad mini, iOS devices are available in only three models: 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB. To maximize this storage, we offer these tips.

Delete those large, unwanted apps

Large files first to go

Large files first to go

Instead of deleting unwanted apps from the Home screen, concentrate first on those apps that take up the most space. To do so, go into the Settings app, and select General > Usage. At the top of the screen under Storage is a listing of every app installed on the device, arranged by size with the largest apps first.

No longer using an app? Select it and then click “Delete app.”  Want to use the app again in the future? Reinstall it by going into the App Store under Updates > Purchased.

Note that deleting an app also removes its documents and data. Keep this in mind before proceeding.

Be careful what you delete

Native apps cannot be deleted from the Settings app, or anywhere else in iOS for that matter. The data available within these apps, however, can be deleted. But be careful since, in most cases, these files cannot be recovered without doing a complete device restore.

Photos & Camera

Do you really want to delete that?

Do you really want to delete that?

We love taking photos and videos with our iDevices. However, these files can take up a lot of space. When the time comes to delete content in batches, again go under Settings > General > Usage, and then select Photos & Camera.

From here, content is arranged by Camera Roll, Photo Library, and Photo Stream. To delete content from any of these buckets, swipe from right to left to bring up the “Delete” button. Click on it.

Music / Videos

Really? You Need All Of That Music?

Really? You Need All Of That Music?

Thanks to iCloud, users no longer have to store all of their iTunes music or video files on iDevices. Instead, they can pick and choose which content to keep installed. When looking to save space, select “All Music” by clicking on the Music app under Settings > General > Usage. The same goes for those large music videos, TV shows, and movies that were purchased in iTunes, watched, but are now just taking up space. Deleting these will save a ton of space.

For example, I’ve recently purchased the first season of “Homeland” in the iTunes Store. Once I watch an episode on my iPad, I promptly delete it under Settings > General > Usage > Videos.  Since these videos are kept in iCloud, I can download them once again in the future as needed.

One final note

Unnecessary data

Unnecessary data

Some apps like to accumulate huge amounts of data that really aren’t necessary. In these instances, the app’s cache data keeps piling up with nowhere to go.

The Spotify app is a great example of this. The music app keeps accumulating data, regardless of whether a user saves content for offline viewing. In some cases, the among of data exceeds 1GB in space. The only way to delete this cache is to move the app and then reinstall it.

Summary

Deleting unnecessary data on iOS devices is simple to do, but does come with some risks. Before doing so, be sure that the data is no longer necessary and/or will be accessible elsewhere for future use.

As a rule of thumb, make sure to backup your iPhone or iPad on a regular basis. That way, if something goes wrong, a full restore is possible.