[2024 Guide] How to Move iPhone Storage to iCloud

This guide will show you how to move iPhone storage to iCloud, including the methods to move iPhone photos, apps, files, messages to iCloud storage.


By Kathy / Updated on December 28, 2023

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Case: want to move iPhone storage to iCloud


How do I move iPhone storage to iCloud storage?

How do I move storage from my iPhone which is CONSTANTLY FULL to my iCloud storage which has PLENTY OF ROOM???

- Question from Apple Community

An iPhone will become sluggish and slow when there is not enough storage space. However, iPhone storage is limited and it does not support microSD cards. Therefore, when you find iPhone storage is full, you may want to set iCloud as the storage. Fortunately, it is possible to move iPhone storage to iCloud.

Move iPhone storage to iCloud

iCloud is the default cloud storage service for iPhone. With iCloud, you can easily backup your iPhone and restore the backup when needed. In addition, you can also choose to move important files to iCloud to make more available room on iPhone.

A good thing is that the files stored in iCloud can be accessed on all your devices. You will never lose your important data even if your iPhone gets lost. Let’s start to see how to move iPhone storage to iCloud!

Preparation before moving iPhone storage to iCloud

Before we get into the details of how to transfer iPhone storage to iCloud, there is one point you need to be aware of. Make sure there is enough iCloud storage space.

Each iCloud user only has 5 GB of free storage space. If you have a lot of files, it may not be enough to store all of them. If you want to move iPhone photos to iCloud, you can first check the space occupied by the photos and then see if you have enough iCloud space to save them.

🔸 How to check your iPhone storage space: go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage and iPhone will calculate category size > then you can see the space occupied by photos or other apps.

Check iPhone storage

🔸 How to check your iCloud storage space: go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud and you will see the available space.

Check iCloud storage

If the available space does not meet your needs, you can pay extra to get more space. Choose Manage Account Storage or Manage Storage > Select Buy More Storage or Change Storage Plan to pick the plan that's right for you.

Change iCloud storage plan

If everything is OK, you can read on to see how to switch iPhone storage to iCloud.

How to move iPhone storage to iCloud

There are two ways that can help you move iPhone storage to iCloud. You can turn on the sync to save specific data to iCloud or move selected files to iCloud Drive.

Move photos, apps, files, messages from iPhone storage to iCloud

Let’s first see how to transfer iPhone storage to iCloud. You can follow the steps to move photos, apps, files, messages to iCloud. However, you are not allowed to select the files you need. When you turn on the sync of photo, it will upload all of your photos to iCloud.

Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > tap Show All > Turn on the toggle for the specific data. For example, if you want to move photos to iCloud, you should tap Photos and turn on Sync This iPhone.

Snyc this iPhone

To save iPhone storage, you can choose Optimize iPhone Storage. In this way, your photos and videos on iPhone will be automatically replaced with smaller versions. The full-resolution photos are saved in iCloud and can be downloaded to iPhone at any time.
When connected to a Wi-Fi network, it will sync your files in the background. However, it won't tell you if the sync is over. If needed, you can open a browser and go to iCloud.com to check the files that have been uploaded to iCloud. If you meet any problem, you can check this guide: Fix Photos Not Uploading to iCloud from iPhone.
iCloud is more like a sync system. When you delete an item on iPhone, it will also be deleted from iCloud. Likewise, when you delete an item in iCloud, it will disappear from your iPhone.

In fact, syncing data to iCloud doesn't really solve the problem of insufficient storage. The data is still on your iPhone, and it can only reduce the amount of space it takes up to a certain extent. To make more room on iPhone, you may choose to move iPhone storage to iCloud Drive.

Move iPhone storage to iCloud Drive

If you do not want to turn on the sync, then you can choose to move iPhone storage to iCloud Drive. The data saved in iCloud Drive can be accessed on any device. In addition, when you delete the files on iPhone, they will not be deleted from iCloud.

On your iPhone (iOS 11 and later), there’s one app called Files. With this Files app, you can save photos, contacts, documents, etc. from iPhone to iCloud Drive. In this way, you can easily check your files after deleting them from your iPhone.

Here is an example to move iPhone photo storage to iCloud Drive:

  • Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > iCloud Drive > Turn on the sync option.   
  • Go to Photos app > Select the photos you want to move to iCloud Drive.
  • Tap the Share button in the lower left corner > Choose Save to Files > Select iCloud Drive > Tap the three-dots icon to create a new folder to save your photos > Click Save to confirm.

Save files to iCloud Drive

Move music to iCloud

If you like to use Apple Music to listen to music, you can subscribe to Apple Music so you can turn on Sync Library to upload your songs to iCloud. In addition, you can turn on Optimize Storage option, in this way, it will automatically delete the songs that haven't been played for a long time.

You can go to Settings > Music to turn on Sync Library option. After that, you can choose Optimize Storage to change the minimum storage of music.

Music sync

How to manage iCloud data from PC with a professional tool

As a professional iCloud data management app, FoneTool can help you easily upload, download and delete iCloud/iCloud Drive data. If you need to switch to a new Apple ID, you can also use FoneTool to easily move iCloud data from one account to another.

Now you can download it on your Windows PC to explore its amazing features.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7
Secure Download

Step 1. Launch FoneTool > Go to My iCloud > Log in with your Apple ID > Click Manage iCloud. (If you need to sync iCloud to another account, you can choose iCloud Sync from this interface to make it.)

manage iCloud

Step 2. Click each icon you need to upload, download or delete data efficiently.

upload photos

Bonus: how to transfer iPhone files to PC to free up space

Now you already know how to move iPhone storage to iCloud. However, since the free space of iCloud is limited, most us of have to buy more storage. Even if you have enough iCloud space, syncing files to iCloud doesn't help us get more iPhone space unless you save your data to iCloud Drive and delete them from iPhone.

Why not transfer files from iPhone to PC to free up space? Your computer has enough space to store your photos, videos and songs. In addition, you can save them to a flash drive and external hard drive. After that, you can delete them from iPhone to free up space.

Download photos from iPhone to PC via File Explorer

When you just want to get photos off iPhone, you can plug in your iPhone and go to the DCIM folder to copy your photos to PC. However, the PC will show your photo album and you may need to open the subfolders one by one to select all the photos you need.

DCIM folder

Transfer iPhone files to PC with FoneTool

If you want to easily find the photos you need or want to transfer other files, you can also use FoneTool. This tool is able to transfer iPhone photos, videos, songs, contacts to PC, flash drive and external hard.

With FoneTool, you can easily access iPhone files on PC and export them from iPhone as a backup. In addition, it also can help you transfer files from PC to iPhone. You can click the download button to get FoneTool and see how to use this tool.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7
Secure Download

Step 1. Launch iTunes > Plug in your iPhone and enter your passcode when asked.

Step 2. After FoneTool detects your device, choose Phone Transfer from the left pane > Go to iPhone to PC and click Get Started.

iPhone to PC

Step 3. Preview and select the files you need (If you want to transfer photos, you can choose Photos and go to the albums to find the photos you need.) > Click OK to continue.

Choose files

Step 4. Click Start Transfer > On the pop-up window, choose the storage path and adjust other settings > Click Transfer.

Start Transfer


💡 FoneTool is able to transfer live photos. You can save live photos as video or save them in .jpg or .heic.

💡 Besides data transfer, FoneTool has many other useful functions. If needed, you can go to Toolbox and choose Photo Deduplication to let it help you detect and delete duplicate photos on your iPhone and PC.

Photo Deduplication

Final words

That’s all about how to move iPhone storage to iCloud. The files in iCloud storage can be accessed on any device. You can first move your important files to iCloud and then delete them from iPhone to free up space. In addition, you can also choose to export files from iPhone to PC as a workaround.

Kathy · Editor
Kathy is an editor of FoneTool, who prefers to help more users address a series of iOS-related problems. She likes traveling and being close to nature makes her relax. She is also keen to engage in social activities and spend much free time with her friends.