1. tnt4's Avatar
    [Edit: I appreciate the responses so far (posting this edit after the first 3), but I don't need solutions for how to decrease my space. Sorry if that wasn't more clear. My question is mainly around Apple's "optimize storage" feature - shouldn't it be doing this for me?]

    I have "Optimize iPhone Storage" enabled. For awhile it was behaving fine, only keeping around 2-3gb of photos / videos on my device. Then all of a sudden in the past week it decided to start downloading a lot more, and now it's taking up over 13gb of space, and because of that I'm about out of storage.

    If it would actually "optimize" like it says, I would have plenty of space on my 32gb iPhone 7. But it seems extremely unintuitive. At this point, when the system is warning me I have less than 1gb left, it should be pushing photos/vids off the device. But it won't. This happens to me every few months and the only solution is to disable iCloud Photo Library removing all photos / vids from the phone, and then re-enabling it with "optimize" enabled, and then re-syncing it all over again...

    Am I missing something or is it simply a poorly executed "feature"??
    Last edited by tnt4; 07-28-2017 at 05:02 PM. Reason: Update based on first 3 responses
    07-28-2017 09:20 AM
  2. Just_Me_D's Avatar
    I’m not one to keep a gazillion photos on my device, but hopefully, those who do will reply soon with a recommendation and/or a remedy.
    07-28-2017 09:26 AM
  3. LockOnTech's Avatar
    I do not usually keep a lot of photos even though my phone has more than sufficient storage; I would try using a lightning to usb camera adapter and a spare usb thumb stick and export the photos to the usb thumb drive. It is a temporary solution.
    07-28-2017 01:40 PM
  4. Ledsteplin's Avatar
    I upload most photos to Box and Dropbox. There's also Google Photos. Then you can delete them from the camera roll. Also delete photos and videos from messages. That takes up space. Be sure to delete the photos in the Recently Deleted album regularly. Delete any apps you don't use.
    07-28-2017 02:29 PM
  5. SwitchBeach's Avatar
    Make sure you understand what the optimize function does and doesn't do.

    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT205703

    "With Optimize Storage, smaller, space-saving photos and videos are kept on your device while all of your original, full-resolution versions are stored in iCloud."


    Are you seeing behavior that is different from the stated behavior?
    07-28-2017 04:29 PM
  6. tnt4's Avatar
    Absolutely. I spent 4-5 weeks with my photos/vids taking up around 1.5 gb. Then suddenly in one week it starts downloading all of them and then stops once it takes up a majority of my free space. Now my photos/vids take up over 13gb.

    This same cycle happens every couple of months. And my photo / video taking habits haven't changed. It'll work fine for awhile, doing as that article states. Then it's like something triggers it to start downloading as much as it possibly can, and then it finally decides to stop once I get low on space. And at that point it doesn't change anything to help free up more space either. So then I have to disable Photo Library, let it clear them all out, and re-enable it again.

    It doesn't make sense that it maintains a certain reasonable level for awhile, then suddenly tries to download them all...
    07-28-2017 05:08 PM
  7. Ledsteplin's Avatar
    Absolutely. I spent 4-5 weeks with my photos/vids taking up around 1.5 gb. Then suddenly in one week it starts downloading all of them and then stops once it takes up a majority of my free space. Now my photos/vids take up over 13gb.

    This same cycle happens every couple of months. And my photo / video taking habits haven't changed. It'll work fine for awhile, doing as that article states. Then it's like something triggers it to start downloading as much as it possibly can, and then it finally decides to stop once I get low on space. And at that point it doesn't change anything to help free up more space either. So then I have to disable Photo Library, let it clear them all out, and re-enable it again.

    It doesn't make sense that it maintains a certain reasonable level for awhile, then suddenly tries to download them all...
    So for no reason, iCloud starts downloading photos to your phone? Not sure I understand. The photos on your phone should be the same as in iCloud Photo Library. If you use the Optimize option, it makes those on the phone smaller in size, taking less space. How many photos do you have on your phone?
    07-28-2017 11:44 PM
  8. tnt4's Avatar
    So for no reason, iCloud starts downloading photos to your phone? Not sure I understand. The photos on your phone should be the same as in iCloud Photo Library.
    They are the same. But when "optimize storage" is enabled within the Photos app settings, all you're seeing on your phone is thumbnails of most of them. When you select the ones that are NOT on your phone, it actually opens up a blurry version and takes a second to re-download the full version. So when my photo storage is "optimized", a majority of my photos/videos act like that - the thumbnails are synced up with the iCloud Photo Library, but the full photo is not actually on the phone.

    So up until about a week ago, my photos and videos only took up about 1.5gb of space on my phone, because all but the most recent were essentially just thumbnails synced to my iCloud photo library. Then suddenly in the past week, the system decided it needed to have all the originals downloaded to the phone, instead of just having their thumbnails as holding spots, and now they take up over 13gb of space.

    Does that make sense or am I just muddying things up?
    07-28-2017 11:48 PM
  9. Damien_Eternal's Avatar
    I think you are missing the point of the feature. I just looked at it and the description of it on my iPhone 7, and from what it says, it only uploads full res photos and keeps low res ones on the phone when the phone is actually low on storage. If it isnt low on storage, it keeps the full res photos on the phone, and then starts optimizing the photos once your storage runs low.
    07-29-2017 10:02 PM
  10. tnt4's Avatar
    I guess you could be right, it's just odd that it doesn't seem to fill up my space most of the time, then suddenly decides to do it. And then on top of that, once it has filled up a lot of the space, it doesn't seem to want to pare back on the storage usage.

    I'll try and ignore it for a bit longer this time and see if I'm just not giving it enough time to correct itself.
    07-30-2017 07:17 AM
  11. Tartarus's Avatar
    I guess you could be right, it's just odd that it doesn't seem to fill up my space most of the time, then suddenly decides to do it. And then on top of that, once it has filled up a lot of the space, it doesn't seem to want to pare back on the storage usage.

    I'll try and ignore it for a bit longer this time and see if I'm just not giving it enough time to correct itself.
    I don’t think it will do anything unless your iPhone decides it’s running out of space. I don’t know what the threshold is to start offloading photos.
    07-30-2017 08:00 AM
  12. tnt4's Avatar
    Follow up - I think it's just quirky, but ultimately accomplishes what it says.

    So in the past few days I haven't opened my Photos app at all. I then noticed it began offloading again, and my available storage shot back up to where it was before this all started (around 13gb). Then early yesterday, I opened my photos app and pulled up 4-5 photos and a video from a few weeks ago, and that's it. It did the little "spinner" thing on the bottom of each one, indicating that it had to download them to view in full quality. Then today I'm back down to 3gb of available space, so that clearly triggered the system to start downloading them again.

    So evidently viewing any photos or videos that have previously been offloaded seems to tell the system to start downloading again. And I guess inactivity, or "not touching" any previously offloaded photos/vids, tells the system to offload again.

    It doesn't seem to be behaving very efficiently but I guess it's working right overall. Thanks for the input and feedback.
    08-03-2017 03:25 PM

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