Basics

Storage on my phone

A lot of the cool things you can do on your Windows Phone 8 use storage space. The apps you install, photos you take, and Xbox Music tracks you download each take up a bit of space. If your phone storage gets filled up, you'll need to free up space to add new stuff and do other important things, like install phone software updates.

Here are some tips to help you avoid reaching the tipping point. If you're already there, they'll show you how to make room for the things you want.

Check your storage space

First things first—check your space. Your phone will notify you when your free space is almost used up, but you can always check the space on your own from time to time. You can take a look right from your phone, or use the handy Windows Phone app for Windows 8 for another view.

If your phone has an SD card, you'll be able to view the storage space remaining on both your internal phone storage and SD card.

Note

If you don't have Windows 8 on your computer, you can use a different sync app to check your free space. See Get the sync apps to find the one that's right for your computer.

To check your storage space from your phone

  1. In the App list, tap Settings Settings icon > Phone storage.

  2. Tap the Phone or SD card bar. You'll see a breakdown of the storage space used by category, and also the amount of free space left.

To check your storage space from the Windows Phone app

  1. On your computer, open the Windows Phone app. (If this is your first time using the Windows Phone app, click Get started.)

  2. In the On your phone section, view the bar at the bottom to check the amount of used and free space on your phone.

  3. To see a breakdown of the storage space used by category, click the bar.

Check storage with the Windows Phone 8 using the Windows Phone app

From there you can take a closer look at what's using up space so you'll know where you can try cleaning up first.

Storage categories

When you check your storage space on your phone, you'll see different categories of files that are using space. (If you're viewing your storage breakdown via the Windows Phone app, the categories may look a little different.) Here's a list of them:

  • Apps + games – Installed apps and games.
  • Music+videos – Music, videos from the Windows Phone Store, and podcasts.
  • Pictures – Pictures and videos taken by your phone's camera or saved to your phone.
  • Email+messaging – Emails and text messages, including attachments.
  • Documents – Microsoft Office files.
  • Maps – Downloaded maps and map search history.
  • Other – Files that don't fall under another category, temporary files, and file types your phone doesn't recognize. See "Other" phone storage FAQ for more details.
  • System – Files required to make your phone run.
  • Temporary files – Files created and deleted during normal use, including Internet Explorer settings, history, and storage.
  • Free space – Storage space unused by any files.

When you tap on the name of a storage category, you'll get help finding where to manage those files on your phone.

Note

You may not see all of the above storage categories on your phone depending on whether you have the latest update on your phone as well as whether your phone has an SD card slot.

Back up and remove files and apps

So you've checked your space, and your phone is full of videos of your dog playing with your new baby. Of course you don't want to lose those special moments by deleting them. Not a problem. There are a bunch of different options for backing up files, so you can keep the ones you care about and delete the ones you don't.

Use an SD card

If your phone has an SD memory card slot, you can add storage space to your phone to avoid needing to delete things. You can also store any new pictures, music, or videos directly on the SD card. See Use an SD card to add space to learn more.

Not every Windows Phone has expandable storage, though, so moving files to the cloud or your computer may be your best bet to back things up.

Save files to SkyDrive

You can back up some files directly from your phone by saving them to SkyDrive. Then, just delete them from your phone to clear up space on it. You can even download the SkyDrive app to view and manage files you've saved to SkyDrive, right from your phone.

For pictures and videos, you can either automatically save them to the cloud as you take them, or manually upload them at any time from the Photos Hub. You can also save Office docs to SkyDrive from the Office Hub.

Sync with your computer

It doesn't matter if you're a PC or Mac; you can back up your files by syncing with your computer using the Windows Phone app. See Get the sync apps to find the version that's right for your computer.

Once you've moved or synced the files you want to back up, you can delete them from your phone.

Delete some stuff

As a last resort, you can always delete things. To learn more about deleting music, videos, and photos, see Delete music, videos, and podcasts and Save or delete a photo or video.

Deleting apps or games you no longer use is another quick way to free up space. See Delete or reinstall apps to learn how.

Not sure which apps are taking up the most space? Do one of the following:

  • If you have a Nokia Lumia Windows Phone 8, you can view app size with the Storage Check settings app. Go to Settings Settings icon > Storage check, flick left to Details, and then tap Details. You'll see a list of every app and game you have installed, organized by storage size.
  • If you have a Windows Phone 8 from HTC, you can use Make More Space, an HTC-exclusive storage management app that lets you view app size. Download it
  • If you have another Windows Phone model, head to the Windows Phone Store on the web and search for the app; then, on the app detail page, view the app's Download size.

More tips for freeing up space

Here are some more tips to free up a few more megabytes on your Windows Phone.

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