The average computer and smartphone user needs to store tons and tons of different files over the course of a day, a week, and a year. For most regular people, a big chunk of these files is photos and videos.
Whether taken on your phone or on a dedicated digital camera and transferred to your computer, they take up tons of space.
And the built-in storage on your device can only handle so much. That’s why millions have come to rely on iCloud storage.
The problem is that most people don’t know how to keep iCloud files organized, which makes it very hard to find a particular photo or document when you actually need it.
If your digital life is cluttered and messy, and you’d like to get your virtual house in order, then keep reading to discover the top 10 tips for organizing your iCloud today, so you can reap the rewards for years to come.
1. Delete Unneeded Photos Right Away
Because our iPhones are so powerful these days, and the cameras are so good, it’s tempting to take tons and tons of photos. In fact, most of us are guilty of taking multiple photos of the same subject matter. Literally, we take the exact same photo five or 10 times, just to be sure we got the right one.
The problem with this? Most people don’t delete excess photos. If you like keeping your iCloud cluttered, then, by all means, keep unnecessary photos. This is also a great way to make your iCloud full, leading you to pay for an upgraded plan.
The best way to keep all of your digital files, especially photos, organized is by deleting the excess photos right away. If you are an infrequent photo taker, then each time you take some photos, look through them, select your favorite(s), and delete the rest.
If you take a lot of photos, then build a habit of going through your recent photos once a day or once a week, selecting a few favorites, and deleting the rest, so you only need to store and organize the photos that matter.
2. Create Photo Albums
Is your iCloud disorganized? That’s probably because you aren’t using photo albums very effectively.
Start with your phone, where most of your photos live. They most likely stay in the “camera roll” section of your phone. But to keep thousands of photos organized and easy to find, both on your phone and on the cloud, using albums is key.
You can create photo albums for specific events, such as a recent vacation. Or you can create albums for entire time periods, such as the year 2021, or the month of January 2021. There’s no limit to what type of albums you utilize, and how many you make. But using them is the bedrock of your organizational success.
3. Use a Folder and File Naming Pattern
Creating albums and folders is only helpful if you can find them later on. One of the best ways to do this is by utilizing a consistent folder naming practice.
For example, you can use dates to create photo folders, such as YY-MM-DD-specific events. This makes it easy to find by either searching for the event or for the date, as we often remember the time period of past events.
A uniform naming practice like this will be bliss for your eyes whenever you scroll through the cloud looking for specific files later on.
4. See What iCloud Files are Hogging Up Space
If you are running out of space on your iCloud, you need to figure out what’s hogging all of that space up. It’s probably stuff you don’t need.
In order to check, visit your device’s settings menu. Then click iCloud, and finally click on “Manage Storage.” This should you which categories are using up the bulk of your space.
5. Delete Duplicate Files
Unfortunately, one of the easiest ways to waste storage space, either locally on your device or on iCloud, is by storing duplicate files. Whether it’s your fault or your device’s fault, duplicate files happen to everyone.
And some, such as photos, take up a lot of storage space. It can be very difficult to find duplicate iCloud files on your own. There is software available to help you find these files, so you can remove them, save space, and ultimately save money on storage fees.
6. Delete Old Device Backups
Another one of the biggest offenders when it comes to wasted iCloud space is multiple device backups. Backups are useful, in case you ever need to restore a device that gets erased or damaged.
But having 10 different backups from the last few years? Unnecessary.
You only need your most recent backup, so if you have more than that, feel free to delete them.
7. Delete Messages
Your device also sends and stores text messages to be stored on the cloud, so you can access them from any device. Most people don’t realize that text messages can stick around for a long time, even years later.
Feel free to periodically go through your device, and delete any message threads that don’t have any vital information in them.
8. Delete Email Attachments
When you open email attachments, either on your phone or computer, they are often saved to your device automatically, thus sending them to the cloud as well.
Most of these are unnecessary. In the cloud, you can sort your email by those with the largest attachments, then proceed to delete any you don’t need to free up space.
9. Remove Deleted Photos and Files
What’s funny (though often helpful) on smartphones and laptops is that deleting a file doesn’t actually delete the file. It moves them to a trash folder, which may empty automatically after a certain timeframe, or may require you to manually erase.
To free up space, make sure to permanently delete all the files you thought you already deleted.
10. Stay on Top of iCloud
And once you do all of the above, the best thing you can do is stay on top of your storage. Make it a habit every week or month to delete unnecessary files, move files and photos into folders, and keep things organized. After all, it’s your virtual life. It requires regular attention to stay clean, organized, and productive.
Making the Most of Virtual Storage
iCloud files are incredibly helpful. To be able to access folders and help documents from any of your devices, at any time, is an amazing feature.
But in order to make the most of these storage systems, it requires some ongoing maintenance, lest you fall prey to the unorganized digital world. Don’t be that person.