Mysterious “Other” in Phone Storage in Windows Phone 8

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If you are using a Windows Phone 8 device, you might have probably seen the “Other” category in phone storage. This option was available in Windows Phone 7.5 as well and could be managed from Zune. But with WP8, this is causing a major issue on the phone and this has been reported in many forums and websites.

The issue is that the size of “Other” folder is increasing considerably on the phone over a period of use and there is no option to manage it or control it. It is automatically done by the system and the user can no way control it whatsoever. To check the amount of other folder, go to Settings > Phone Storage > then tap  on the usage bar.

Update : Check out the Storage Shrinker App for Windows Phone. It helped us getting 5Gb free of the other storage.

Update: Here is link to a partial solution which may help you increase some space on your Windows Phone. No Guarantees though!!

On my Lumia 920, which is almost 2 months old, this “Other” folder occupies a massive 9.51GB!  Yes, you read it right, almost 1/3rd of the usage storage space on my phone is used by a folder which user does not have control. To investigate what is using up this space, I asked the Windows Phone Support in Twitter and the reply was as below.

Other folder

This is understandable, installed apps and games will obviously take space in the form of local cache. I have around 40-50 apps installed on my phone along with couple of games like Angry Birds. With these apps and games installed, I don’t think it would take a massive 9.5GB and if it really takes 9.5GB, then Microsoft seriously needs to think over the cache management in WP8.

But the real issue is not just usage by apps and games. So what exactly contributes to “Other” folder according to Microsoft. I check Zune software (used by WP7.8) to find it and here is what Zune tells me (screenshot below).

Other content

The last two items, pictures and videos taken since you last synced with your phone’s primary computer and also content from computers other than your phone’s primary computer. There is no clear explanation from Microsoft on how this is managed. Apart from this SkyDrive auto upload from Pictures hub is also stored in this other folder. Below are two screenshots of phone storage.

First screenshot indicates that other occupies 9.51GB. Now there were some 20-25 images waiting to upload in the pictures hub. I connected to Wi-Fi and uploaded them. As soon as I finished uploading, I took another screenshot of the storage. The second screenshot shows the other folder occupies 9.6GB, an increase of 0.09GB just because I uploaded photos to SkyDrive from my pictures hub.

wp_ss_20130206_0006 wp_ss_20130206_0007

Why would the SkyDrive auto upload photos be stored in Other folder? Seriously I can’t find a connection here. Now 9.6GB makes some sense as I have uploaded more than 3GB of photos to my SkyDrive account and each time I upload, these photos are pushed to other folder as well.

What is the solution?

As of now there is no solution other than doing a reset of your phone to factory settings. Now that Windows Phone has backup option, you can reinstall the apps and restore the other details. Again, this is just a workaround till the time Microsoft brings up cache management in WP8 or newer versions.



Nirmal

Nirmal is a big fan of Windows phone ever since it was released. He owns a Nokia Lumia 800 and Lumia 920. You can find Nirmal on , and .

12 Comments to Mysterious “Other” in Phone Storage in Windows Phone 8

  1. Nice find Nirmal….this is big time issue. Did you see what happens when you delete photos from phone ? Any decrease in Others Storage ?

    • I removed all the photos from my phone, no change. Then I deleted almost all apps and games, it reduced by few MBs, but no major change.

  2. Nirmal…Its frees space when you require it to…its just trying to maximize efficiency by using the free space…found it in a nokia and windows discussion…

    • I agree and understand it frees up the space when you need, but there should be a mechanism to manually delete that cache.

      • I agree, but it will never happen. WP8 is a closed system and MS will never release a ‘cache cleaner’ because it would show how slow the OS really is if you clean out the cache; and as MS own the rights to what is released on the Windowsphone site they will never allow a 3rd party app to appear there.
        When I purchased a Nokia 820 the ‘Other’ folder was already on 440Mb, and that was before I installed even one app on it.

      • It doesn’t really free up space when you need, unless it has its own opinion about it. I’m downloading apps that can’t be installed because “not enough free storage” and my email won’t sync because of the lack of space so its obviously not freeing it up from Other.

        I even deleted Rdio and all the songs I had downloaded, thinking they were categorized under Other, but once I did it freed up like 1GB from APPS.

        This is a HUGE issue Microsoft can’t ignore…

  3. This folder also holds the IE browsing history. I deleted my browsing history and saw this file decrease by almost 10G

  4. Hi, yes, deleting the IE Browsing History works well, thanks.

    BUT….., on my HTC 8X at least, the operating system does not give up space when it’s needed. Quite the reverse: On my 8X, I have been slowly reducing my stored music in order to be able to take photos. And, make no mistake, I only have 1.3 GB Music, 750 MB Photos and 750 MB Apps, 570 MB Videos and 2.6 GB System. I have 1.8 GB Free. The rest is this infuriating ‘Other’ at 7.4 GB!!!

    I do wonder if HTC was aware of this when they decided to make the 8X a fraction smaller by not including any removable storage…….

  5. My “other” storage is almost up to 10gb and I use extremely few other things on my phone due to the fact that I only have 16gb to start with. The fact that I have to do a full factory reset and lose everything I had is infuriating to me. If I had known about this, I would never have gotten this phone. Windows, you lost another customer.

  6. Its also your email sync. If you have your sync to the highest setting (showing every email ever) it saves all of that on your phone. If you need space try and change your sync settings to only allow the past few days of emails to be on your device. I only have 2.43 GB of ‘other’ storage and I have had my phone for a while and have a lot of data on it.

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