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The sentimental hoarder’s guide to making space on your iPhone – A N I T H
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The sentimental hoarder’s guide to making space on your iPhone

The sentimental hoarder’s guide to making space on your iPhone


Image: bob al-greene/mashable

Each day brings the same struggle: I spot something I’ve deemed photo-worthy, pull out my phone, open the camera and am greeted with a blurred screen. 

“Cannot Take Photo,” my phone taunts. Then it’s a rush to decide what stays and what goes.

This is the reality of being a sentimental hoarder who can’t bring herself to delete even a single photo of her dogs. Other things I cannot bring myself to delete include voicemails from older relatives and group chats that contain photos or video of any kind. 

Perhaps the most egregious instance of digital hoarding is my refusal to delete Flappy Bird. Never mind that the creator pulled the wildly popular game from iTunes in 2014 with no plans to revive it. Never mind that I never play it. Never mind that my high score is a paltry 43 and, to be honest, is the work of a patient friend. 

That dumb little game will travel from phone to phone with me for as long as it continues to work purely because I know I can never download it again. 

For the same reasons that I am loath to dispose of stained band T-shirts I bought at concerts in high school, I’m unwilling to delete any digital file I think I might miss one day. In turn, I’ve been forced to get creative in order to make room for more.

I am, of course, not alone in this struggle— after all, the digital hoarders here at Mashable love a good storage-saving tip. And while this course of action may not suit everyone, here’s what a tech-phobic, iCloud skeptic like me does to clear out space in a pinch:

Delete work-related apps on the weekend

On the weekend, the first app to go is Slack. All work messages sent between 6 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. Monday are SPAM as far as I’m concerned. Unless you’re a doctor, a lawyer or *insert third, high-pressure job here*, you can generally survive Saturday and Sunday with few issues. 

Email video files to yourself

For those huge video files you just can’t part with, take the easy (and admittedly low-tech) route and email yourself. Then you can delete the file from your phone with the comforting knowledge that it is safely stored in Gmail, and just a download away.

Delete your ride-share apps

Taking public transportation for the foreseeable future? Delete Uber, Lyft or whatever ride-share app you prefer until you need them again. Or, you know, maybe just quit ride-sharing apps altogether. 

Trick your phone into cleaning itself

In truly desperate times, try this clever trick picked up from Reddit: When you’re low on space, try renting a movie off iTunes with a file size that’s larger than the amount of space left on your phone. Though the download will be too big to go through, the attempt will prompt your iPhone to self-clean certain data-heavy apps. Free space for all!

Check your photos for duplicates

Even a photo hoarder like myself is willing to admit that I do not need multiple versions of what are essentially the same photo. In the blissful days when I still had seemingly boundless iPhone storage, taking 20 photos of an unmoving cat was a fine thing to do. Those days are gone.

Now, when I’m desperate for space, I go back through old photos, identify duplicates and delete. As our tech team’s iPhone storage coverage notes, you can quickly identify duplicates through the bursts folder. Also key: Don’t forget to clean out your “Recently deleted” folder. 

Hopefully these tips will help you clean a little space off of your phone so you can continue your life as a sentimental hoarder. 

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Anith Gopal
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