How to Free Up Space on Your iPhone or iPad by Offloading Unused Apps

Apps can consume a lot of space on an iPhone or iPad. In iOS 11, a new feature allows you to remove an app from your device without removing the app’s data. In other words, you can remove the app and free up space without losing anything—when you redownload the app in the future, you can immediately  pick up right where you left off.

This feature can be used in two different ways. You can manually offload one or more apps to free up space. Or, if you’d rather not think about it, you can tell your iPhone or iPad to automatically offload apps you don’t use to free up space when you need it.

How to Offload an App

To offload an app, head to Settings > General > iPhone Storage.

This screen shows you how much space your apps take up on the device, and informs you when you last used them. Scroll down and, in the list of apps, tap the app you want to offload.

 

Offloading an app will free up the amount of space shown next to “App Size”. Only the app will be removed, and its Documents & Data will be kept on your device.

To offload the app, tap “Offload App” option here and then tap “Offload App” again to confirm.

 

The app’s icon will stay on your home screen, but it will have a cloud download icon to the left of its name. This indicates that the app needs to be downloaded before you can use it once again. Tap the app’s icon and your device will immediately begin downloading the app.

How to Automatically Offload Apps You Don’t Use

Rather than manually offloading apps, you can have your iPhone or iPad do it for you. Your device will only do this when it’s low on storage space, and it will only remove apps you haven’t used recently.

To enable this feature, head to Settings > General > iPhone Storage and tap “Enable” next to Offload Unused Apps. You can also head to Settings > iTunes & App Store and toggle “Offload Unused Apps” on or off from here.

 

When your iPhone or iPad automatically offloads an app, you’ll see the same cloud download icon to the left of its name. Just tap the app if you want to use it again and your device will automatically download it for you.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.