Since iOS 11, your iPhone has been able to offload barely used apps to free up storage space for more useful data. But unloading only removes the app’s binary file, which means the documents and data will be saved on your device in case you reinstall the app. That itself can take up a lot of space, so it’s good to regularly review files for unloaded apps and delete the content you no longer need.
Offloading can be automatic or manual, and it is useful when the download size of an app is 200 megabytes or more. Whether you have enabled “Offload Unused Apps” to run independently or you have manually unloaded apps, your personal documents and data for downloaded apps are stored on your iPhone ̵
Additionally, downloaded app icons can clutter your app library (on iOS 14 and above) and home screen. That’s because the app icons remain for transferred apps so it’s easier to reinstall the apps later. If you don’t have any reason to reuse a downloaded app, those icons just take up space that new ones can take up. Although you can hide the icons on the home screen, they are always in the app library.
Keep reading to find out where to find all your downloaded apps, find out when you last used them, and permanently delete their documents and data from your device to free up even more space on your iPhone.
Find all your downloaded apps
You can find downloaded apps on your home screen or in the app library, and you know an app has been deleted if it has an iCloud download icon next to it. All you can do from these locations is to reinstall or delete the app so you don’t know if it took up a lot of space or not.
Instead, navigate to General -> iPhone Storage in the Settings app. Here’s a breakdown of the physical storage on your iPhone, recommendations for how to free up storage space, and a list of all your apps.
In the list of apps, arranged from largest to smallest, you will find information such as their size, the last time they were used, and whether or not they were transferred. Downloaded apps have an iCloud download icon next to them for easy identification.
Many of your downloaded apps are at the very bottom of the list and take up very little space for their documents and data, but there may be some that take up many megabytes on your iPhone. Mostly, these are apps related to photos and video as photos and videos can quickly eat up a lot of space.
Not all downloaded apps have a “Last Used” date in the list, but for those that do, this can help you figure out whether or not it should be removed. If it was from years ago, chances are you’ll never open it again.
Delete unused, transferred apps and their data
Once you find a unloaded app you don’t want anymore, tap it to see the details. To delete the documents and data associated with the app, as well as the app icon on the home screen and the app library, just tap “Delete app”. It will warn you that removing the app will delete all documents and data and cannot be undone. If you are sure, click “Remove app” again.
If you’re not sure, you have another option: click ‘Reinstall App’, open the newly installed app, then open the app to see if the data in it is worth saving. If it’s a video maker app, you may want to save some of the videos you’ve taken, but you may already have them in the Photos app in a folder called the app . If it’s a photo-related app, the same is true.
Once you know you don’t need the files anymore, you can delete the app as you normally would, which will take care of all its documents and data. So there is no need to go back and mess with your iPhone’s storage settings as everything related to the app is already gone.
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