I decided last night to download and install iOS 12.0 for my iPhone. For the first time, the update would not install after downloading because it said I needed to free up some space first. Cool -- no big deal.
I eventually navigated to the right spot on my phone, Settings --> General --> iPhone Storage. What surprised me was that other than the massive amounts of storage consumed by my podcasts, my text messages occupied the second greatest hold on my available memory. More than my pictures, apps, music, etc.
Even more surprisingly, my phone actually recommended how to free up space based on the items hogging the most memory, and since texts were one of these, provided a radial button that automatically discards all text conversations that are more than one year old. This immediately freed up the required space.
I have no idea whether Urban's phone is an iPhone, but if it is, this experience changed my perception of how the story about the texts has been reported. Rather than affirmatively needing to identify and delete texts, a single button commands the phone to only retain conversations within a year. No real effort or machinations are needed to do this.
If my texts were hogging up that much space, Urban may have legitimately had storage issues as he recently claimed, and IT may have changed the text setting as recommended by the phone to free up the needed memory.