How to Free Up Space Used By Your iPhone or iPad’s Messages App

If you send and receive a lot of text messages, the Messages application takes up a lot of space on your iPhone or iPad. Not only does it store the history of your text messages, but it also keeps the photo and video attachments you have received. Here's how to free this space if you run low.

See the space used by the application Messages

You can check the space that the Messages application uses on your device from the storage screen. Open the Settings application on your iPhone or iPad and go to General> iPhone Storage (or iPad Storage) and wait for everything to load (it can take about 20 seconds)

Then, scroll down the list and find the Messages application. You will see how much storage space it uses. In my case, it takes 1.14 GB. If yours occupies an important place, read on to learn how you can release it.

Automatically delete old messages

In order to prevent messages from accumulating forever and to take up more and more storage space, you can set all messages to be deleted after a certain amount of time.

Keep in mind, however, that deleted messages will disappear forever. So if you want to keep a record of your messages or keep some messages forever, you probably will not want to delete them automatically. To change this setting, open the Settings application and press "Messages".

Scroll down and tap "Keep Messages".

Choose an expiration period. By default, your iPhone or iPad will keep messages "forever", but you can choose to keep them for "30 days" or "1 year" if you prefer.

For audio messages, your device will automatically delete them two minutes after listening to them. This prevents them from taking up space forever even after you have finished completely with them. To change this, you can return to the Main Messages screen in the settings and press "Expire" under "Audio Messages".

From there, you can choose to delete them automatically after two minutes or never delete them (unless you delete them manually).

Remove bulk photos, videos, and attachments

It is possible that you are familiar with one of the ways to delete messages and attachments in the Messages application, by pressing and holding a message or photo, typing "More" by selecting what you want to delete and pressing the recycle bin. But this is the slowest way to do it, and you will have to browse your conversations to find all the pictures you want to delete.

You can also press the round "i" button in the upper right corner of a conversation to view all the conversation attachments, and then remove the media you no longer need. However, this is not yet the best way to go.

Instead, return to the Settings application and go to General> iPhone Storage (or iPad Storage) as before. Scroll through the list and select the Messages application. From there, press "Review Large Attachments".

You will receive a list of all the photos, videos, and other attachments that the Messages application has saved from all your conversation threads.

To delete one, simply drag to the left and press "Delete".

Unfortunately, there is no "Select All" option or even a way to select multiple attachments and delete them in one go. However, this is always the best way to get rid of the greatest attachments with minimal effort.

If you want to organize this list in specific media types, return to the screen below and click "Review attachments". You will then see "Documents and Data" followed by a list of different types of media.

By typing on one, you will only show attachments of this type. So if you press "Photos", it will only show pictures.

If you want to save a photo or video before deleting it permanently, you can tap it and select the Share button in the upper left corner

From there, you can send it to another device, send it in an email, save it to a cloud storage service, and so on.

Delete all topics in conversation

If the messages use a lot of space, attachments to the images are likely to be implicated. However, if you have long conversations full of text messages, they might take a little more space than you think. You can delete them and free this space, assuming you do not want to keep these conversations.

You can delete an entire thread in the Messages application by dragging it to the left and pressing "Delete". This will delete all messages from the thread, as well as all media attachments.

To remove multiple conversation threads at the same time, press the "Edit" button on the Main Messages screen and select multiple conversations. Press "Delete" in the lower right corner of the screen to delete them.

Text messages do not really use as much space. However, if you have accumulated several years of photos and videos that you have sent and received, it is likely that you need an email checking anyway.

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