Ways to Reduce iPhone Email Storage

Stop those annoying 'iPhone Storage Almost Full' warnings

For many iPhone users, the amount of storage space available on their devices is at a premium. With all the apps, photos, songs, and games, it's easy to exceed storage limits—especially on an 8 GB or 16 GB phone.  If you don't have enough space, clean up your email. Email takes up a lot of storage, and if you need all the free room you can get, it's an excellent place to make some changes. Here are three ways to make email take up less space on your iPhone.

These instructions apply to devices with iOS 12 or later.

Animated mailman illustrating how to reduce iPhone email by eliminating spam.
Fanatic Studio / Getty Images 

Don't Load Remote Images

Most of us get emails with images in them, for example, newsletters, advertisements, confirmations of purchases, or spam. To display the images embedded in each email, your iPhone has to download these images. And since pictures take up more storage space than text, that can add up to a lot of memory used.

If you're okay with your email being a little plain, block your iPhone from downloading this content.

  1. Tap Settings, then select Mail.

    Settings and Mail on an iPhone
  2. Scroll down to the Messages section and move the Load Remote Images toggle switch to Off/white.

    Load Remote Images setting on an iPhone
  3. Even though you're blocking remote images (images stored on someone else's webserver), you'll still be able to see images sent to you as attachments.

Since you're not downloading as many images, it takes less data to get your mail, which means it will take longer to reach your monthly data limit.

Delete Emails Sooner

When you tap the trash can icon when reading email or swipe across your inbox and tap Delete, you're not deleting the mail. What you're actually telling your iPhone is, "the next time you empty the trash, make sure to delete this one." Email isn't deleted immediately because the iPhone email settings control how often the iPhone empties its trash.

The items that are waiting to be deleted take up space on your phone, so if you delete them sooner, you'll free up space faster. To change that setting:

  1. Open the Settings app and select Passwords & Accounts. Then, tap the email account whose setting you want to change.

    Selecting an email account on iPhone
  2. Tap Account, then select Advanced, go to the Deleted Messages section, and tap Remove.

    Remove under the Advanced settings in an iPhone mail account on an iPhone
  3. Tap either Never, After one day, After one week, or After one month. The emails that you delete will leave your phone (and its storage) on the schedule you chose.

Not every email account supports this setting, so you'll have to experiment to see which you can use this tip with.

Don't Download Any Email at All

If you want to get extreme or want to use your storage space for something else, don't set up any email accounts on your iPhone. That way, email will take up 0 MB of your storage.

If you don't set up email accounts, that doesn't mean you won't be able to use email on your phone. Instead of using the Mail app, go to the website for your email account (for example, Gmail or Yahoo Mail) in a web browser and log in that way. When you use webmail, no email downloads to your phone.