NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!! The first time I saw this on my iPhone camera screen I felt a mixture of disbelief and panic. Disbelief because I had recently cleared my phone of all images (or so I thought) and panic because it happened at High Point Market. I had only owned my new iPhone 6 plus a few weeks and when I saw this on the screen it was the very first morning of the very first day of Market and my camera simply shut down. Luckily, I had my DSLR with me so it wasn’t the end of the world (although it felt like it at the time).


Since this first happened I have educated myself in iPhone storage options. It is important that I never see this warning again because I no longer carry my DSLR. I am currently an iPhone photographer exclusively and with only 16GB of storage I had to figure it all out. Below are five tips and lessons learned so that you will never see this on your iPhone camera screen.

1.Buy enough storage: I am the first to admit I am technologically challenged. When I bought my iPhone 6 I didn’t understand what a gigabyte was or how it related to photos. I was simply excited because Verizon was running a special and for $149.00 I could upgrade to the brand new iPhone 6 Plus. The deal was for the 16GB and I clearly remember the young sales guy trying to “up sell” me the 64GB phone for $599.00! Now this is where I think Apple stinks. My only choice was less storage than I would need or to buy a phone that was more than three times the cost of what I had planned. I asked him why I would need more than 16GB and he told me it would help with downloading and watching movies on my phone. Well I had never once downloaded a movie to my phone so I told him I was fine with the 16GB….this was a big mistake!

I have since learned that the Apple operating system uses 12 GB so that leaves only 4 GB for everything else. Add in apps and emails and my photo storage is gone after about 350 photos.

2. Empty your trash when you delete your photos: When I first saw that storage full screen at High Point Market I started deleting every image I possibly could. Every double, every slightly not “perfect” image went into the trash. I deleted about 75 images yet my camera continued to display the storage full warning and the camera STILL wouldn’t work. I powered my phone off and rebooted it. I did everything I could think of but it still would not take more photos. What I didn’t know then is that even after you delete images there is a second step to take to free up storage. You must go into Albums, scroll down until you see “Recently Deleted”, then hit “delete all”. Only then will you be able to take more photos. I thought maybe I was the only one who didn’t know this but several of my friends have told me they didn’t know that either.

3. Transfer and delete your iPhone photos on a regular basis.When I am home and not taking large amounts of photos, I simply keep an eye on remaining storage. On a fairly regular basis I clear my phone of images by uploading them to either my desk top or my iPad. When I transfer my photos to my iPad I use the AirDrop AppTransferring is quick and easy and once on my iPad, I set up individual folders for related images. This comes in really handy for client projects because I bring my iPad to client meetings and all the images for their project are in a separate folder. I look more professional and organized since I am not wasting time scrolling through dozens of random photos trying to find the one image I am looking for.

4. Back up to the cloud. I also use the Google Photos App. I have some peace of mind knowing that every photo I take is uploaded to the cloud should some unexpected disaster hit and I loose everything on all my devices. Other than that, I don’t give it any thought. Once the App is installed you don’t have to do anything. The App automatically saves every image you take.

4. Use a transfer device. Before I traveled to Italy last Spring I bought an iStick. I was traveling light and didn’t want to bring my iPad and I would have no access to my desk top so the iStick seemed like a good solution. In theory it sounded great but once I got to Italy and tried on the first day to transfer my photos the istick froze and wouldn’t work. Since then I found out I had a corrupted one from China but it was replaced for free and I have had no problems since. Luckily in this case as well I had my DSLR so I could still take photos.


It’s very easy to use but you do need to download the iStick Apple app. Then simply plug it into the iPhone, follow the screen prompts and the images will transfer to the storage card (on the right side of the stick). The one disadvantage is that the process is somewhat slow. To transfer 500 images it can take over an hour. The USB side (bottom of stick) can then at a later time be plugged into my desk top to clear the iStick.

5. My current favorite storage device. I saved the best for last but I think I have found the perfect storage solution and it’s called the Mophie. The Mophie has both 64GB of storage with the added bonus of being a phone charger.


When I bought mine the only choice was what looks and feels like a black rubber case so I had to say goodbye to my fun colorful iPhone case. The upside is that it stores thousands of images and when the phone battery runs low I just flip a switch and the Mophie charges the phone. It has honestly changed my life as far as shooting goes. My phone still continues to run out of storage but I simply delete photos right on the spot because all the images are stored in the Mophie case. What I like best about the Mophie is that I can still access and see the photos on my phone even after I delete them. That is not the case when they are transferred to the istick and then deleted. The only difference is that I view the photos through the Mophie app and not through the camera photos.

When I traveled to London in Sept I shot all day long, everyday, and as soon as I saw the storage full warning I deleted all my photos and started over. Once home I uploaded all 2000 plus images onto my computer. It was my first time traveling without my DSLR and although it was a little scary, and I brought the istick as a back up, the Mophie worked like a charm.

Bottom line, even though I have finally solved my lack of GB’s and storage problems, I am still going to spring for the 64 GB when I buy my next phone.

How about you? What are your ways of dealing with limited storage space?

Linda Holt | Interior Designer & iPhone Coach

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