Ever wondered how to delete saved text message data like pictures, videos, stickers, or other iMessage attachments that take up storage on your iPhone without deleting the whole text conversation? If so, you’re not alone.
And now, with iOS 11+, there’s finally some good news for everyone who loves to text and save storage space! In particular, iOS now comes with a handy feature to individually delete iPhone Messages Documents & Data.
- iMessage in iCloud
- iOS11+’s Name of the Game–Storage Savings!
- But iOS 11+ Changes Everything!
- Need More Space Saving Tips for Messages?
- Save Your Text Message Images to Your Photos App
iOS 11+ Small Changes = BIG IMPACT
When you update your iPhone to Apple’s newest iOS, there’s a lot of small changes that most don’t notice or pay attention to. But it’s often those small, unheralded changes that reap the biggest rewards. And such is the case in iOS’s updated Messages App.
Tucked away in your Settings is a potentially huge change maker–the ability to manage your Message Documents & Data.
For those with small iPhones, this iOS update potentially saves some serious storage space! So pay attention!
- iMessage Not Working in iOS 12?
- How To Use Messages in iCloud
- Fix iMessage Problems in iOS 11
- Quickly Free Up iPhone and iPad Storage in iOS Settings
- Free Up iPhone Storage with iOS 11+ Tools, Recommendations, & iCloud
iMessage in iCloud
With iOS 11.4, Apple finally allows iCloud to save and sync your entire message history and makes it available on all your devices signed in with the same Apple ID (Macs included!)
Another benefit of Messages in iCloud?
Space. Apple created Messages in iCloud for folks who own iPhones and iPads that are limited on internal storage (we’re talking about those 16 or 32 GB iDevices.)
With this small change, you can offload all those texts to your iCloud storage account. Just remember that the free account comes with only 5GB of data for everything. So you may need to consider updating your account to a paid plan.
Quick Snapshot of Messages in iCloud
- Store your messages, photos, and other attachments in iCloud
- Free up internal space on your devices
- All your messages appear when you sign into a new device with the same iMessage account
- When you delete messages and conversations they are also removed from all your devices signed in with the same Apple ID
- To turn on Messages in iCloud, go to Settings > Apple ID Profile > iCloud
- All conversations are still end-to-end encrypted so Apple and others cannot read them!
To learn all about Messages in iCloud, check out this detailed article!
iOS11+’s Name of the Game–Storage Savings!
iOS 11 includes an amazing new bag of tricks for managing your iPhone’s (or iPad’s) Storage! The offerings are vast, from the new space-saving image and video file formats to intelligent storage management tools.
These are the kind of features we’ve wanted for a long, long time–and finally, with iOS 11+, they are here!
For those using iOS10 or even iOS9, we have some great tips for you on how to save Message Storage.
Are Your iPhone Documents and Data Huge?
Then Delete Your Messages App’s Documents & Data!
One fantastic but overlooked change is the ability to pick and choose what stays and what goes in your Messages App’s Documents & Data. We all know that Message Data can get very fat, very fast, with many users charting in an astounding 2-6 GB of text and message data going back years!
When you have a phone with a lot of storage, it’s no big deal. But most of us have iPhones with 16 or 32 GB of data, so that BIG FAT Message App starts looking like it needs a diet, like NOW.
So Let’s Clear Some Message App Documents & Data
If you’re seeing the message that your iPhone’s Storage is Almost Full, if you’re unable to take a photo, or if you can’t even update to the latest iOS because your phone’s out of space, it’s time to organize and clean out all that clutter.
How to Delete Documents and Data on iPhone without deleting the app
If you’re an avid texter and love sending/receiving rich Messages with a lot of pictures, videos, stickers, and other bells and whistles, you’re likely to notice that your Message App is enormous.
Take a look at your Messages App and look under Documents & Data.
Go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage (for older iOS look at Storage & iCloud Usage > Manage Storage.) First, look at the total amount of storage Messages currently consumes.
Then tap down to dig a little deeper into Messages (Saved.)
This number is your Messages App Documents & Data and includes things like your text’s downloaded images, videos, and any other sent/received files.
In previous iOS versions, there was no way to delete Message app documents and data outside of going into each conversation and manually cleaning out any attached files.
But iOS 11+ Changes Everything!
Now, we can indeed delete all or some of these Message attachments with iOS 11+’s fresh storage management system.
Delete message attachments like photos, videos, GIFs, stickers and other media attachment.
Manually Delete All Those Unwanted Message Attachments
To do this, go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage > Messages.
You see a snapshot of all your Messages’ media files by category such as photos, videos, GIFs, and others. Tap on what you want to manage.
Then swipe left on an individual file and tap Delete.
Or select Edit at the top right and checkmark the files you want to delete. And trash them! Do this for all types of media or conversations–all through your Settings App! Even delete PDFs, audio files, and other types of documents through the Other category.
Automatically Delete All Those Old Conversations
Another great feature in your Messages Storage Settings is Apple Recommendations.
Based upon your unique use, Apple provides certain recommendations to help you manage your device’s storage. There are a couple of options offered for heavy Messages users, including Auto-Deleting Old Conversations and Review Large Attachments.
Go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage and look for the dedicated section titled “Recommendations.”
You’ll also find some recommendations within your Messages Setting, just above Documents & Data.
Learn more about all of Apple Storage Recommendations with our article Quickly Free Up iPhone and iPad Storage in iOS Settings.
Need More Space Saving Tips for Messages?
Check out our article on how to delete saved text messages that are taking up storage on your iPhone using iOS12. 11, 10, and even below.
Save Your Text Message Images to Your Photos App
If you do not save your Message photos specifically to your Photos app, then your text/message photos are not stored anywhere else. Photos that come through your Message apps, emails apps, and other third-party apps are not automatically saved to your Photos App. You must do this intentionally.
Check out these two articles to make sure you save your photos to the Photos app!
- How To Share Photos in Messages and iMessage With iOS 12+
- How-To Quickly Save All Images from Text Messages on iPhone
- How to Save Your iMessage Images as Photos on Your iPhone
Texting with friends and family is easy AND fun. It makes sharing almost anything as simple as one touch and it’s delivered right to their phone or device. But all those photos, videos, stickers, and other texted files quickly add up and may even take up a significant part of our iPhone’s storage space.
But iOS now comes packed with great new storage features, including the ability to delete iPhone Messages Documents & Data. Not only that, but iOS 11 also offers ways to automatically get rid of all those unwanted text and message attachments. And all you have to do is follow these steps–AND DONE, SPACE SAVED.
For most of her professional life, Amanda Elizabeth (Liz for short) trained all sorts of folks on how to use media as a tool to tell their own unique stories. She knows a thing or two about teaching others and creating how-to guides!
Her clients include Edutopia, Scribe Video Center, Third Path Institute, Bracket, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Big Picture Alliance.
Elizabeth received her Master of Fine Arts degree in media making from Temple University, where she also taught undergrads as an adjunct faculty member in their department of Film and Media Arts.