How to delete your iPhone or iPad backups from iCloud

By , Jan 26, 2013

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With the introduction of iCloud, Apple has made our lives much easier when it comes to managing content on our iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch. You no longer need a desktop machine to manage your data as everything can be done directly from the device.

iCloud comes at a price though. Even if the first 5GB are free, you probably will go over this allocated storage, especially if you have several iOS devices, and will be required to pay an annual fee for increased storage. To prevent this, it might be a good idea to delete old iPhone or iPad backups from iCloud.

Another reason why you’d want to delete an old iPhone backup from iCloud is if you know it contains a corrupted file. While this rarely happens and isn’t particularly easy to diagnose, I’ve encountered this situation before, and I believe my only option was to delete the corrupted backup.

This being said, let’s get into it and learn how to delete a backup from iCloud. Note that the process is exactly the same whether you use an iPhone, an iPad, or an iPod touch…

Step 1: Launch the Settings app

Step 2: Navigate to iCloud > Storage & Backup > Manage Storage. You will now see all your latest backups for all your devices that are connected to iCloud with the same Apple ID.

Backup and storage

Step 3: Choose the backup you want to delete. In my case, I am choosing to delete an old iPhone 5 backup that was made on 10/17/2012. As you can see on the image below, it is taking a big chunk of my iCloud storage, with a size of 3.1GB.

Delete iCloud Backup

Step 4: Tap “Delete Backup.” You will now see a message asking if “you want to turn off backup and delete all backup data for “device name” from iCloud.”

Turn off delete backup data

Step 5: Tap “Turn Off & Delete.” And you are done.

In the example above, I just saved myself 3.1GB of storage on my iCloud account.

Please let us know if you have any question by leaving a note in the comment section below.

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  • http://twitter.com/myorangeisstuck wahaha

    Woah damn how much do you pay for iCloud??

    • http://twitter.com/leothelion96 Leonard Wong

      First picture shows it has 55GB Storage. That mean he upgrade the highest choice which is 50GB + 5 GB(free)
      Which is US$100 per year

      • smtp25

        Thats internal storage total, if that’s all apps or movies they won’t get backed up. I have 24gb+ of movies most of the time adonly 5 gb accout

        Really should be given 5gb per device

  • http://twitter.com/leothelion96 Leonard Wong

    9.6GB how?

    • Christophe

      Maybe his photos and videos

    • http://www.idownloadblog.com Sebastien

      Lots and lots of photos

  • http://www.facebook.com/jonathan.liu.7503 Jonathan Liu

    For some reason, I still back up to computer…

    • Liam Mulcahy

      Me too i like to save money by doing it

    • Johnathan Jennings

      I’ve had an iDevice since 2008 and Ive never backed any of them up to a computer.

  • http://twitter.com/rickz97 Ricky

    I always back up to a computer well its because internet here is extremely very slow. Fibre in my country is like magic

  • http://twitter.com/amad_ahmed01 Amad

    I thought most people knew how to erase backups from icloud. What next an article on how to turn your phone on.

    • http://www.facebook.com/joel.bean.14 Joel Bean

      He’s Mr. Know it all… S. Wonder

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ima-Webbie/100001915065666 Ima Webbie

      dick!

  • http://www.facebook.com/razick.rilshad Razick Rilshad

    Like

  • http://twitter.com/marrie1 Sarah A

    This works, how ever, I belive and I’ve only seen it show the last back up as in one made since a big change. How then can you show older back ups let’s say from ewhen I first got my phone last year. Are those back ups deleted right away?

  • Jessica Diaz

    Some people might not know how to do the backup thing especially if they are visually impaired like myself. No need to be so harsh.

  • Dbob

    I must be missing something. I use an iPad 3.
    Did an iCloud backup yesterday and one just now.
    Following your steps, I was only presented with
    my most current backup – no others show.
    Is this to be expected?
    Why would one want to delete the only backup available?

  • livy86

    That’s a great guide if you want to delete an iCloud backup, but make sure you have an iTunes backup at hand for restoring, you never know when you might need it! I’m with the iPhone Backup Extractor team, we see iPhones and iPad’s gone wrong every day and people who lose years of work or precious memories, don’t be one of them!

  • http://www.facebook.com/azhar.aslam.524 Azhar Aslam

    my iapd is stuck…its showing a prompt that “this ipad cannot be backed up because there is not enough icloud storage available. you can manage yr storage in settings”. Then it has usual option of “cancel” and “settings”. Problem is nothing is happening when I press any button or icon and this display is on the main screen since yesterday. Can anybody help? fyi, thru my iphone i’ve deleted the icloud back up done by ipad. HEEEEEEEEEELPPPPPPPPPP….!!!!

    • NaoDarkness

      Press and hold the power button and the home button at the same time for 10 seconds or until the device turns off, after that let go of the home button and keep hold of the power button until it turns on and you see the apple logo.

      Hope this helps.

  • Iphonetrouble

    Does anybody know how to go back to an old back up after recently backing up again? I am doing this to try and recover some lost notes, but i accidentally backed my iphone up again. Please help!

  • Danette

    Why does it say I can’t delete the backup because it’s in use? It’s an old backup from an old phone I don’t use anymore.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ajaxmamo Mamo Ajax

    I can not delete the data in iCloud it show the message like below then i try to turn off and delete it from my PC it still impossible please help thanks!

    Cannot Delete Backup

    This backup cannot be deleted because it is being used to restore another device, or a backup is currently in progress.

  • amanda

    My Ipad seems to be locked on the page ” Not enough Storage.. if i try and press the settings button or close, nothing happens, I cannot turn it “off’ or access any thing else as it seems to be locked in that mode. any ideas? please, I have got it plugged into my apple mac lap book pro, but I still cannot get rid of the not enough storage message. it looks like the whole thing has frozen.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alyssa.dawn.716 Alyssa Dawn

    so if I delete the one device it wont delete the stuff on my ipod ? im trying to delete my old ipod from it since I gave it to my friend and then I get more storage, im just scared cause I don’t wanna lose anything..

  • Kim Miller

    What do you do if the phone tells you that by removing iClod (not a typo) you wil be also removing all your photos.. I dont’ want to do that!! When it pushes them from my iPhone to the iPad.. and I try to erase them? They keep coming back.. I have hundreds on my pad.. yet they have been erased over and over….and they are not on my phone.. !!! only on the pad… help!

  • Kim Miller

    AND? If I don’t use the pad for a long time.. it tells me nothing has been ‘backed up’…. to use the charge cord, even though it doesn’t need charging…

  • Amanda Roberts

    How do you delete old apps you will never use again from the iCloud??

  • omi

    uploading data to your iclould make device internet sloWer…. hahaha.. better to turn it off…

  • Amanda June Rogers

    I did this previous to finding your article, and I did just what you said. However, now when I try to backup my iphone it says I have too little storage and need to purchase more. The only difference between the two back ups would be that the new one would have iOS7. I was okay with the free 5gb before the update (taking up about 2.7gb only backig up the important stuff) and now it says it will be 10.5gb to store it all.

  • Lizzie

    I deleted my iCloud account and everything, but all the music is still there with a cloud next to it for download? How do I delete the backed up music?

  • Jenn

    A tech at the iPhone store deleted an old backup because I needed more storage (even though I had bought more) an all my appts that were created on the old phone (4) were wiped out of my calendar. For some reason they did not merge with a new iCloud backup.
    As far as I can tell it was just in my calendar.
    I even went to iTunes an did a restore from there an they still did not show up.
    Any idea how to keep this from happening again?

  • makrem2141

    Hi, i wan’t to ask when you delete a backup from icloud then you delete the account, do you delete it permanently or not ? Because i am trying to delete my account and make a fresh Backup but i get always the old one specialy with my notes app it doss not back it up at all,and it is turn on. I sign in to icloud site try to manage from there but you don’t have many choice, can some one help with that? Or is the best to back up to iTunes ?

  • sweety

    i dunno why but when im trying to delete my previous backup from my ipad mini it is saying that “this backup cannot be deleted because it is in use”i even erased my content and restored my ipad.. any one please help me

    • RarestName

      Wait for a few days

  • Edward Ucate

    i downloaded to icloud but my work contacts were mistakenly downloaded to my wife’s device. I removded my phone from icloud backup; however, how do I remove the contacts from her device? Would they be removed automatically?

    • RarestName

      You can choose to remove the contacts if you remove that account from her device.

  • Lila Starbuck

    This is great information but what I have been unsuccessfully trying to find out is if you agree to delete *AND TURN OFF* your account – how do you then turn it back on? I am doing it for more space, so I want to be sure I can still use iCloud easily on my phone after. Thanks!

  • RONALD

    THIS WEBSITE REMOVES ICLOUD LOCKS !!! http://WWW.UNLOCKICLOUDLOCK.COM

  • Lisa h

    I have tried to do this but it’s saying ‘unable to delete backup as it’s in use’. Any ideas please ?

  • Amanda Andrew Brown

    Destroyed my old iPhone 4s last week by running over it with a lawnmower. New iPhone 5c still shows the old phone taking up almost 3gb storage. When I try to delete it as you instructed above, it says “”this backup cannot be deleted because it is in use” Help! I cannot fully backup the new phone cause it requires more than 2gb of storage. I took the old phone off of the “find my iPhone” app. thought that would solve the issue. please help!