My wife's iPad is constantly out of space. Most of the space is used up by Messages, where her iPhone Messages sync with iCloud, and her iPad sync with iCloud, and thus, she copies all those large attachments to to iPad and fills up her space.

I found this article that talks about enabling the "Auto Delete Old Conversion" feature. However, before I do this, will enabling this feature on her iPad also delete messages on her iPhone and Mac as well since she is using iCloud Messages? She wants to keep all her messages on her iPhone/Mac since she has ample storage there.

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    It does. Did you consider turning off Messages on iPad?
    – Nimesh Neema
    Commented Jul 7, 2019 at 20:08
  • Do you mean turn off the "iMessage" setting under Settings -> Messages -> iMessage? Commented Jul 7, 2019 at 20:10
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    Yes. Turn off the switch. This will disable Messages only on your iPad while keeping the messages intact on iPhone/Mac.
    – Nimesh Neema
    Commented Jul 7, 2019 at 20:11
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    It disables sending/receiving Messages on iPad altogether (something you may not be looking for).
    – Nimesh Neema
    Commented Jul 7, 2019 at 20:12
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    Yes, this will not affect her other devices. However, I'm not sure this will automatically free up space on the iPad. (Not very sure how the internal caching works. The device "may" or "may not" purge the cache of Messages if it requires space for other uses after you disable Messages)
    – Nimesh Neema
    Commented Jul 7, 2019 at 20:22

2 Answers 2


You can consider disabling Messages altogether by going to Settings app → Messages → iMessage. This will completely disable Messages on the iPad (you won't be able to send/receive Messages).

Disabling Messages on one device doesn't affect in any way on other devices linked to the same Apple ID.

However, simply turning off Messages may not automatically purge the message cache.

  • Thanks @Nimesh. I turned off iMessage. However, this didn't free up space, as you pointed out might be the case. I still have a recommendation to Auto Delete Old Conversations under storage, which will save a lot of space. Commented Jul 7, 2019 at 20:28
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    We won’t know till we see the overall storage situation Nimesh. If the iPad is under storage pressure, the purge starts automatically. Your overall answer seems correct, no - disabling on one device only affects that one device, so the rest is moot.
    – bmike
    Commented Jul 7, 2019 at 20:46

I’ll delete this later or edit it into a direct answer (or maybe a how to if Apple doesn’t have a step by step guide to this)

What are the recommendations and storage constraints for this iPad specifically?

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Note that the darker grey is still being checked and cataloged, so you want to let iOS take several minutes to run the various sizing checks if you are really low on space.

  • One of the recommendations is to Review Large Attachments. It is consuming the most space. Commented Jul 7, 2019 at 20:26
  • Nice. If you upload an image of your situation, people can help with ideas you might have missed
    – bmike
    Commented Jul 7, 2019 at 20:45

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