Settings + personalization

Storage on my phone

A lot of the cool things you can do on your Windows Phone 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 make room 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 free up space for the things you want.

Note

This topic is about Windows Phone 8.1. If your phone is running Windows Phone 8, some options or icons may look a little different, and some features may not be available. Check to see which software version you have and find out if an update is available.

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 it 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 can 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 Storage Sense Storage Sense icon.

  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.

  3. Tap any category to view more details, find where to manage those files on your phone, or clear out temporary files. If you're running Windows Phone 8.1, Storage Sense provides you with additional actions to free up space, such as moving apps to your SD card (if you have one), uninstalling apps, and deleting downloaded files.

Storage Sense categories

Here's a list of the categories you can view in Storage Sense and the actions you can take to manage them (accessed by tapping the category):

  • Apps+games – Installed apps and games, listed from largest to smallest. Tap an app or tap Select Select icon to move one or more apps to or from the SD card (if you have one).
  • Music – Music from Xbox Music or your computer. Tap Manage to go to Music Music Tile.
  • Videos – Videos from Xbox Video. Tap Manage to go to Video Video Tile.
  • Podcasts – Podcasts downloaded from the Podcasts app or moved from your computer. Tap Manage to go to Podcasts Podcasts Tile.
  • Photos – Photos and videos taken by your phone's camera or moved from your computer. Tap Manage to go to Photos Photos Tile. Tap Delete burst photos to delete unsaved burst photos.
  • Email+messaging – Emails and text messages, including attachments. Tap Manage accounts to go to your email+account settings. Tap Manage messages to go to Messaging Messaging Tile.
  • Documents – Microsoft Office files. Tap Manage to go to the Office Hub.
  • Downloads – Files downloaded with Internet Explorer. Tap Delete to delete them.
  • Maps – Downloaded maps and map search history. Tap Manage to go to Maps settings.
  • System – Files required to make your phone run.
  • Temporary files – Files created and deleted during normal use, including Internet Explorer history, cookies, and temporary storage. Tap Delete to delete unused temporary files. Tap Internet Explorer settings to go to browser settings.
  • Other – Files that don't fall under another category and file types your phone doesn't recognize. See "Other" phone storage FAQ for more details.

Note

You may not see all of the above storage categories on your phone depending on whether you have the latest update. You will see SD card storage only if your phone has an SD card slot and you have an SD card installed.

To check your storage space from the Windows Phone app

  1. On your Windows 8 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 and SD card (if you have one installed).

  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 to start cleaning up.

Back up or delete some files

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.

Tip

Download Files, the free file management app that lets you share files with friends, organize files into folders, easily search and launch files, and even delete files when you need to save space.

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 photos, music, videos, and more directly on the SD card. See Use an SD card to add space to learn more.

If you've installed an SD card to your phone, and the phone's running Windows Phone 8.1, you can easily move apps and games to the SD card right from Storage Sense. In the App list, go to Storage Sense Storage Sense icon > Phone > Apps+games, and then tap any app you'd like to move to the SD card. Tap Move to SD to transfer the app and its data.

Apps and games can also be uninstalled or moved to the SD card en masse. In Storage Sense Storage Sense icon > Phone > Apps+games, tap Select Multiselect icon, and then select the check boxes next to each app you want to uninstall or move.

Note

Some app developers may prevent their apps from being moved to an SD card; those ones won't be selectable when you're choosing apps to uninstall or move.

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 OneDrive

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

For photos 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 OneDrive 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. 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 you no longer use to quickly free up space. You can easily delete apps, photos, videos, music, and podcasts right from your phone.

And here are some tips to free up a few more megabytes on your Windows Phone:

  • Delete downloaded maps you don't use and clear previous map searches from your phone. (In Storage Sense Storage Sense icon, go to Maps > Manage.)
  • Delete old Office docs from the Office Hub. (In Storage Sense Storage Sense icon, go to Documents > Manage.)
  • Delete browsing history, temporary files, and cookies in Internet Explorer. (In Storage Sense Storage Sense icon, go to Temporary files > Internet Explorer settings, and then tap Delete history.)
  • Manage website file storage in Internet Explorer. (In Storage Sense Storage Sense icon, go to Temporary files > Internet Explorer settings > Advanced settings > Manage storage.)
  • Delete your search history, including Bing Vision searches, Bing Music searches, and other Bing search history. (In Settings Settings Tile, swipe over to Applications, and then tap Search > Delete history.)
  • Delete other temporary files from your phone, such as browsing history and cookies. (In Storage Sense Storage Sense icon, go to Temporary files, and then tap Delete.)

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