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How Do I Delete Individual iCloud Files From My iPad or iPhone?

Every time I download a document from iCloud onto my iPad, it remains there. Over the past year, I have accumulated about 13 gB’s of documents on my iPad. I only need a few of them on my iPad, but want to keep all of them available on my Mac. There seems to be no easy way to do this.
Scott Heller

Comments: 5 Responses to “How Do I Delete Individual iCloud Files From My iPad or iPhone?”

    4 years ago

    The whole idea of a cloud storage service is that everything is available everywhere. Think of iCloud Drive as a SINGLE location, that you can see on all of your devices.

    Now as you realize, every while you appear to have access to all of your iCloud Drive files at all times, there are some files that are already cached locally on your iPad, and others that would need to be downloaded if you wanted to access them. Once you do that, they are cached so you can access them quickly the second time.

    So how do you tell the iCloud Drive app to remove a file once you know you are done with it? Well, you don’t. There is no manual de-cache button. It does it automatically.

    I haven’t found any definitive numbers, but it appears that it will remove files if you are either running low on space, or after a certain amount of time goes by without you accessing that particular file.

    So the bottom line is not to worry. iOS will manage things.

    Keep in mind that when you look in Settings under Storage & iCloud Usage, that the iCloud “total storage” shows you how much you have in iCloud, but not all of it is stored on your iPad. You could have 13GB in iCloud, but only 200MB is currently cached on your iPad.

    4 years ago

    you didn’t answer the question. or you did. you can’t delete individual files in icloud.

    4 years ago

    Rich: The question was about deleting them from the iPad, not iCloud. It is very important to understand the difference or you will run into trouble. Deleting a file from iCloud deletes it — it will no longer be on you iPad, iPhone, Mac, anywhere. It is gone. You certainly CAN delete individual files from iCloud using your iPad (swipe left over the file in iCloud Drive) but that gets rid of it completely.

    But this is now what Scott is asking. He wants to keep the file in iCloud, but remove the cache of the file on his iPad to save space.

    Scott Heller
    4 years ago

    Thank you for your quick response. It is consistent with other posts I found online. But question: Why won’t Apple let you delete unneeded files from your device? Apple has no problem allowing you to delete music from your device without deleting it from iTunes. And Audible allows you to delete audio files from your device without deleting it from Audible.
    And when do the excess files get deleted? I’m thinking it is an intentional gambit to make you want devices with more storage.

    4 years ago

    Scott: I can only guess. But it is probably in the interest of simplification. The more controls they add, the more complex things get. I can’t see it as being a “gambit” as you describe. They’d be better off letting be manual or not-at-all then.

Comments Closed.