What's the best way to clean out all the junk and memory-clogging files on my iPhone? I'm sure it's slowing the things down.

The iPhone and iPad are pretty user-friendly devices, but iOS still gets clogged up over time with unwanted file and memory hogs. This can slow your iPhone down. In this article, we're going to look at how to clean iOS junk files and get the iPhone to run a little faster.

Giving your iPhone (or iPad) a spring clean and removing unwanted files will improve its performance: especially if it is an older model. But spring-cleaning also helps you get more out of iOS by enabling you to focus on the things you do need and use. Apple iOS devices may not need the same level of maintenance as Mac OS X and macOS Sierra (or, God forbid, Windows), but they still need some attention to run at optimum speed.

Updated 8 November 2016 with a video tutorial, which can be found above.

How to clean out your iPhone's memory: Delete the Safari cache

We're going to start by cleaning out the caches on our iPhone. Note that this will mean you're logged out of any websites you've signed into, though. Follow these steps to clear out the Safari cache:

  1. Press Settings > Safari.
  2. Scroll down and tap Clear History and Website Data.
  3. Tap Clear History and Data.

How to clean out your iPhone's memory: Remove file data

Data stored by other apps can be cleaned using the Usage option in settings. Follow these steps to clean out unwanted data from iOS:

  1. Tap Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage
  2. Tap Manage Storage.
  3. Tap an app taking up a large amount of storage.
  4. Take a look at Documents & Data - if there's over 500MB of documents in the app, it may be worth deleting it and reinstalling it to clear the extra space.
  5. Simply tap Delete and head to the App Store to re-download it.

How to clean out your iPhone's memory: Clean iOS junk using PhoneClean

PhoneClean app for iOS

PhoneClean by iMobie can be used to remove junk files from iOS. Follow these steps to use PhoneClean:

  1. Attach the iPhone to your Mac using the USB Cable.
  2. Open Phone Clean and click Scan.
  3. Once the scan is complete, click Clean.

Some PhoneClean features are only available in the Pro version, including Photo Caches, which costs from $19.99 (around £17) a year.

How to clean out your iPhone's memory: Clean iOS junk using iMyFone Umate

Much like PhoneClean by iMobie, iMyFone Umate for Windows and Mac can be used to remove temporary and junk files from your iOS device quickly and easily.

  1. Connect your iPhone to your PC or Mac using the supplied Lightning cable.
  2. Open iMyFone Umate and click Scan on the Home tab.
  3. Clear Junk files and Temporary files to clear up a lot of space on your iPhone (ours had a combined 4GB of space).
  4. You can also clear out any large files (videos, etc) and see, at a glance, apps that take up a lot of space on your iOS device. These can also be deleted fairly easy using iMyFone Umate.

There's a free version of iMyFone Umate available for Windows and Mac along with a paid version which sets you back $19.95 (around £17), allowing access to the more advanced features of the app. 

How to clean out your iPhone's memory: Recover memory

Apple iOS should manage your memory effectively. And apps that are running in the background should not take up memory. Having said that, we do find that restarting an iPhone clears all the memory and ensures that the apps we need have enough to use.

Here is how to restart your iPhone:

  1. Hold down the Sleep/Wake button until "slide to power off" appears.
  2. Slide the power off switch and turn off the iPhone.
  3. Wait until it has fully powered down then press the Sleep/Wake button to turn on the iPhone.

Doing this on a regular basis used to be vital on an iPhone, and it's still useful on older models.

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(For more general iPhone speed tips, take a look at our broader tutorial: How to speed up a slow iPhone.)