How To Free Up Storage Space On Your Windows Phone

If you have bought an affordable Windows Phone 8.1 device like Lumia 530 or Lumia 630, chances are that their amount of storage space is a problem for you. Cheaper devices like the ones we mentioned generally have limited storage space available and reaching its limits doesn't take too long. To help you out, Microsoft offers the Storage Sense app, which allows you to check how much storage space is available and clear up some of it. It works both with your smartphone's internal memory and with your SD card. In this guide we will show you how to use the Storage Sense app to learn how much space you have available and how to clear up some of it.

How To Check The Storage Space Available On Your Windows Phone & What's Using Too Much Space

Windows Phone 8.1 will always notify you when the storage space is almost used up, but you can check at any time how much is left available by following this procedure:

First, tap Storage Sense from the App List. You will see how much space is occupied on your Phone and your SD card, if you have one, of course.

If you tap on either of the drives available, you'll see how much space is occupied by each type of app, and by the files that are stored on the selected drive. Everything will be split into the following categories: apps+games, music, videos, podcasts, photos, email+messaging, documents, downloads, maps, system, temporary files and other.

Principles For Clearing Storage Space In Windows Phone

If you tap on any of these sections, it will open a customized list of settings. For example, if you tap apps+games, you will see a list of apps and games that are installed on your Windows Phone. From there you can uninstall those that you no longer need. However, uninstalling games and apps can be also be done using the instructions from this tutorial: How to Uninstall Apps & Games From Your Windows Phone.

If you tap music, you open the music section where you will find a manage button. Tap on it and the Xbox Music app is opened from which you can manage all your music and delete the songs you no longer wish to listen to.

The same principles apply to video, podcasts, photos, documents and other sections. That's why, in the remainder of this tutorial we will cover only a few more special sections, like temporary files.

How To Clean Up Temporary Files From Your Windows Phone

Temporary files are files created and deleted during a normal use. They can be Internet Explorer history, cookies and temporary storage. To delete this type of files, tap temporary files.

When the Temporary files screen is opened, tap Delete. It will take a while for Windows Phone 8.1 to delete all the temporary files that are stored on your smartphone.

In the Temporary files screen you will also find a Internet Explorer settings button. Tapping it opens your settings for the Internet Explorer browser. Since setting this browser is outside the scope of this tutorial, we will not cover these settings.

How To Delete Downloaded Maps & Map Searches

If you use a lot of offline maps, they may end up using lots of storage space. One way to clear some storage space is to delete the maps that you don't use or clear previous map searches from your Windows Phone. To do that, in the Phone screen, tap Maps.

Tap Manage and you will get to the settings screen for maps. Tap Delete history if you want to delete map searches and temporary files from your Windows Phone.

If you want to delete existing offline maps, tap download maps to see a list with all the maps that are available.

Then press and hold the map that you want to delete and tap delete.

Confirm your choice by tapping yes.

How To Delete Other & System Files In Windows Phone

We noticed that when running low on storage space, some amount of space was occupied by files included in the other category. This category may seem a little bit mysterious, but it only stores files created by applications during their use, which the operating system can't recognize. Some examples of "other" files include the database for your Windows Phone contacts, the temporary files that are stored when you view the latest from your social network news feeds, etc. Sometimes this folder can get quite large and you may want to know how to erase it in order to clear up some space. Unfortunately you can't do that manually.

Windows Phone automatically erases on a daily basis a small number of files included in the Other category. When you phone has less than 6% of its total storage free, it automatically triggers a clean up process.

If you copied some unrecognized files to your Windows Phone from your computer, you can connect your phone to your computer again to delete them or move them. Even so, this folder will never go down to zero because Windows Phone will create (and later delete) temporary files when performing normal tasks like storing contacts on your phone, remembering your Internet Explorer history, downloading social networking news feeds, and more. So there will always be at least some small amount of "other" storage filled by files in use.

Another mysterious category is system. When you open it, you get to see how much space is occupied by the Windows Phone 8.1 operating system. As you would expect, you are not allowed to delete any system files as they must remain intact in order for your smartphone to keep working.


As you can see from this guide, the Storage Sense app in Windows Phone 8.1 allows you to get a good overview of what's eating up your storage space and provides the necessary tools to clean up some of it. If you have any questions about using this app, don't hesitate to use the comments form below.