[Answered] Why Is My Photo Storage So High on iPhone?

Why is my photo storage so high on iPhone? Why does photos take so much storage even with iCloud? Read this guide to find the answer.


By Lena / Updated on May 23, 2023

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Why are my photos taking up so much storage on iPhone?

I keep receiving low space warnings and my iPhone is slowing down due to lack of space. Any ideas on how I can force photos to take less space?

- Question from Apple Community


Why does photos take so much storage even with iCloud?

I have paid for 200GB of iCloud storage to free up space on my 64GB iPhone. My phone keeps telling me that it is low on storage and it shows that 40GB is being taken up by photos, even though they are supposedly on iCloud. I thought the iCloud was designed to free up storage on your actual device?

- Question from Reddit

With Apple’s advanced camera, we can easily take great photos. It is one of the significant benefits of owning an iPhone. However, these high-quality photos may take up more space than you think, leaving you confused: Why is my photo storage so high on iPhone? An even more puzzling situation is that when photos are stored in iCloud, they still take up a lot of space on the iPhone.

In such cases, if we do nothing, iPhone storage will be full one day due to these messy photos. Don’t worry too much! Here in this guide, I’ll explain why does photos take so much storage on iPhone and the solution to reduce photo storage.

Part 1. Why is my photo storage so high on iPhone 

If you like to record important moments in daily life, there are probably thousands of photos stored on your iPhone. However, nowadays, as the quality of photos has increased, the size of photos has also increased. In addition, sometimes, we try several times to get the perfect composition or the right light, which leads to a lot of duplicate photos.

Solution: how to reduce photo storage on iPhone

There are a few methods that can help you clear photo storage on iPhone. For example, delete unwanted photos, change the format of photos, or save photos to another location. You can choose one or more methods to lower your photo storage according to your situation.

Tip 1. Clear Recently Deleted album

When you tap the Trash icon to delete unwanted photos, they are not really deleted from iPhone. The deleted photos will be moved to Recently Deleted album, from where you can choose to restore the photos to the album or delete them permanently.

The photos in the Recently Deleted album will be deleted automatically after 30 days. However, those photos are still in your storage. That’s the main reason why you find iPhone storage full after deleting photos. To free photo storage on iPhone, you can clean the album by yourself.

Go to Photos app > Tap Albums at the bottom > Choose Recently Deleted > Tap the Select button at the top > Choose Delete All to remove all photos or you may choose to delete selected photos.

Clear Recently Deleted Album

Tip 2. Optimize iPhone photos

Since iOS 11, Apple introduced High-Efficiency formats to help users save iPhone storage. Compared with the old JPEG, the HEIC format will take up much less space while retaining quality. Although HEIC is not very compatible with all platforms and apps, it is indeed a good way to lower your photo storage.

You can go to Settings > Camera > Formats and choose High Efficiency option to change the format to reduce photo storage on iPhone.

High Efficiency

Tip 3. Delete duplicate photos

Duplicate photos can occupy a lot of storage space on iPhone. You can find and delete duplicate photos on iPhone to clear photo storage. You can go to Photos app and find duplicate photos by category. Usually, similar photos are taken at the same time or in the same place.

If you have a large photo library, you may let a third-party tool help you find duplicate photos. FoneTool is recommended here. It’s one professional iOS data management tool for Windows users. Its Photo Deduplication feature can quickly find all duplicate and similar photos on iPhone.

Step 1. Click the download button to get FoneTool.

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

Step 2. Connect iPhone to computer via USB cable > Choose Photo Deduplication.

Photo Deduplication

Step 3. Choose Scan iOS Device option.

Scan iOS Devic

Step 4. Set the filter date range > Click Start scanning and wait for the process to complete.

Start Scanning

Step 5. Select the photos you want to delete and click the Delete button to make it.


Tip 4. Backup iPhone photos to computer/USB drive

Compared to the storage of the iPhone, the storage space of the computer is much larger. You can choose to transfer photos from iPhone to computer to free up space.

You can connect iPhone to computer > go to iPhone DCIM folder > find needed pictures > copy and paste them to another folder on computer or a USB flash drive. However, all the photos are randomly stored in subfolders, you may need to open the folder one by one to find the photos you need.

Obviously, it’s not a good choice if you want to transfer photo albums from iPhone to PC. In such cases, you can rely on FoneTool to help you make it.

Step 1. Download, install and launch FoneTool.

Step 2. Plug in your iPhone and click Transfer to Computer option.

Transfer to Computer

Step 3. Select the photos you want to transfer and click OK.

Choose Photos

Step 4. Choose a storage path to save the pictures and click Transfer button.


Now you can delete photos to clear photo storage on iPhone.

Part 2. Why does Photos take so much storage even with iCloud

You have turned on iCloud Photos in order to free up storage on your actual device. However, you find that the photos are still taking up a lot of space. Why does photos take so much storage even with iCloud? Well, probably because the Optimize iPhone Storage option has not been enabled.

Solution: how to lower your photo storage when iCloud Photos is enabled

When you find photos occupying a lot of space even with iCloud, you can try these solutions to reduce photo storage.

Tip 1. Turn on Optimize iPhone Storage

When Optimize iPhone Storage is enabled, your full-resolution photos are automatically replaced with smaller, device-sized versions. That’s to say, your photos on iPhone will use reduced quality and take less space. The full-resolution copies are stored in iCloud and you can download them anytime.

Go to Settings > your account > iCloud > Photos and choose Optimize iPhone Storage option.

Optimize iPhone Storage

Tip 2. Force restart your iPhone

A simple restart may help fix temporary hiccups that cause photos to take so much storage even with iCloud issue. The steps to perform a force restart depend on the iPhone model you are using.

  • iPhone 8 or later: Press and quickly release the volume+ button > Press and quickly release the volume- button > Press the side button until you see the logo of Apple.
  • iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus: Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button and volume- button at the same time until you see the Apple logo.
  • iPhone 6s or earlier: Press and hold the power button and the Home button for seconds until you see the logo of Apple.

Force Restart iPhone

Tip 3. Update iOS

The outdated operating system has various issues and that’s why Apple always advises users to update iOS to the latest version. The photos take so much storage even with iCloud issue may be caused by glitches or bugs. You can go to Settings > General > Software Update to check whether there is an update available.

Software Update

Final words

That’s all about why is my photo storage so high on iPhone. Photos can occupy a lot of space and you can try methods in this guide to clear photo storage. If all methods fail to reduce photo storage on iPhone, you may Apple support for help. You can either do this online or go to the nearest Apple Store.

For any questions or feedback, please feel free to contact us!

Lena · Editor
Lena is an editor of FoneTool, she covers backup & restore, and phone data management and so on. She enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. She loves traveling, eating, reading and so on. She takes most of time with her family when she is not working.