How to gain back Temporary memory by moving photos out of SkyDrive: fast forward time

While Windows Phone 8 10327 and higher (aka GDR2) does a great job of fixing the Other storage memory leak, there are still some quirks that are irritating a few users. The main complaint appears to be how Windows Phone handles auto-uploaded images to SkyDrive, or even if you manually mass upload photos and video.

In essence, when you upload photos to SkyDrive, they end up either in the 'Camera Roll' and 'Mobile Uploads' folders. You can then of course delete them from your device but believe it or not, Windows Phone holds onto them in Temporary storage for two weeks i.e. a SkyDrive cache.

That’s why some people have higher than normal Temporary storage numbers that cannot be cleared using apps like Nokia Storage Check. If you leave auto-upload for photos off, it will be quite low, usually less than 50MB in size (ours is at 33MB). If however you had a few hundred photos that were just processed, it could much higher.

We should point out that Windows Phone and SkyDrive will clear this out on its own. But like all things in computing, some would like more control than others. And on rare occasions e.g. OS updates, sometimes you really need that extra space right now.

In the Windows Phone Central forums, a simple method to speed up this process has been discovered and verified by a few members. It’s a simple idea and requires nothing more than a unassuming calendar change. Supposing you have a few hundred megabytes (or even gigabytes) of Temporary memory (not Other storage) and it is not clearing with any tools, try the following.

Disable autoupload

Steps to clear SkyDrive cache of recently uploaded photos and videos

  1. Login into SkyDrive via the Web or the standalone Windows Phone app
  2. Move every file in the 'Camera Roll' and 'Mobile Uploads' folders into a new, differently named folder
  3. Go to your Pictures hub on your Windows Phone, and allow it to refresh and update
  4. On your Windows Phone, push the date and time forward by at least two weeks
  5. Now use Nokia Storage Check or HTC’s Make More Space (GDR2) to clear out the SkyDrive cache via Temporary files

Initial reports from our forum members have witnessed Temporary files dropping from a massive 2GB to under 200MB using this process. Another user went from 3GB of SkyDrive cache to just 73MB.

Needless to say, if you have recently uploaded a lot of photos or videos to SkyDrive, this could make a substantial impact. Having said that, we’re not sure many of you will fall into the 2GB of Temporary files category and even if you did, assuming you moved the files out of ‘Camera Roll’ and ‘Mobile Uploads’ folders, the system will clear itself out in two weeks’ time anyway.

We should also point out this is not Other storage, which is a Windows Phone cache system and very different from Temporary files, which includes things like Internet Explorer cache, SkyDrive data and more. Another misconception is that GDR2 fixes Other storage to the extent that it does not exist anymore—that is not the case as it merely controls itself more easily, but depending on your device hardware, it will still vary.

We can confirm that 8GB devices will have a lot less Other Storage (1/4 to 1/5 less) when compared to a 32GB with equal setups.

Did this tip help you? Let us know in comments, bookmark and share with others.

Thanks, Olof Lagerkvist, for finding this and the tip

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • ThaNX!
  • testing
  • Sounds logical. I use excel quite a lot with skydrive from my phone and pc. The phone always has a copy of the last created version in it, even if saved in skydrive.
  • Omg, it worked. From ~400mb to 10mb.
    But I like the automatic-upload, so I will do the 'date forward'-thing now and then.
  • Good article and good breakdown of what GDR2 does for those who didn't quite understand it the first time. I prefer to just wait out the two weeks. Lol.
  • My "Others" does not fix after updated to GDR2....
  • The OS releases the "Other" storage when it needs it. It's done automatically with no need for you to do something.
  • I disagree. Been sitting at 1.1gb for about 2 weeks. Its not letting anything go.
  • I thought I read it releases it when your phone starts filling up and you really actually need it.
  • Blackhawk556 is correct. The other storage folder is supposed to be dynamic in that it will automatically release memory as and when it's needed by other applications. This is how it's always supposed to have worked but didn't which is why GDR2 is supposed to have fixed things. So, even if your others folder is occupying 2 GB of storage it doesn't matter because the phone will release whatever storage is required when it's needed by other applications.
  • Interesting. So how did setting one email account to manual drop it from 1.1gb to 919mb? Update: other storage is now at 895mb, temp files are at 20mb. I haven't uploaded anything today but its still better than 1/4 of a gig.
  • Sorry, but has anyone ever seen this occur? I've seen it posted time and time again, but I've never seen any proof that this actually happens.
  • It very well may, but I have yet to see it. Only time mine has gone down is after wiping all my IE history and that was only 20 or so Mb. This cache idea was lame on their part. Hate that I have 1.1gb still in other taking away from my 7.2/8. If I could put apps on my 16gb SD card then I wouldn't be worried. I would gladly take a small hit to performance for that ability alone.
  • Sorry but the whole "Others is now fixed" is incredibly inconsistent. For instance my 920 has 14% of its storage marked as other and has been this way since the update. Maybe for some it has dropped considerably but in general it appears to have not gone away.
  • Yeah too lazy to try it
  • I've only done step 34and 5, and it worked xd
  • Now I want the GDR2 for my Verizon 8x even more!!
  • get 1.7gb free, and still 1.2gb in other storage D:
  • There's one thing I don't understand: Why do the files need to be moved within the SkyDrive-folder? Sounds like a simple "date-forward" now and then is not enough. If that's true, automatic upload is quite useless. Because if I have to manually shift my photos every few days, I can just shift them from my phone to SkyDrive. Then automatic upload is no real help... This feature seems fundamentally broken.
  • Its to prevent you having to download gigs of photos every time you load SkyDrive.
    Its usefull, but they should allow more settings in what you keep in cache and what not.
    And reducing 2 weeks to 4 days or something
  • Agreed. But it's kinda pointless to have cloud-based storage, if I still keep local duplicates. We'll see if MS reacts on this. Some sort of switch would indeed be cool.
  • If its SkyDrive cache, I don't really care because I use it alot and have 15+gb left anyway
  • 155mb to 18mb aww yeahh
  • Daniel i love u fr this article.. It actualy works.. Down to 7mb from 200mb..
  • what is the meaning of date forward
  • go to date and setting.. turn off auto set... set time to forward!
  • thanks
  • Went from 1.3 GB to 400 mb!!! Thank you for this as other is 9 GB atm and its annoying as i cant use all my 32GB Storage and keep getting notifications saying low storage!
  • Its working, thanks!
  • WORKS!! got back over 3 gigs! TY ... WPC FTW!!!! and 1020 920
  • Thanks.. Will try. Have 4+ GB in other storage.
  • Thank you Daniel for this. Have saved almost 1Gb of space!!! Much appreciated.
    Still have around 2Gb of other storage though. L820, UK.
  • So does it delete things from cache that you haven't accessed in two weeks or does it delete them from cache after they've been removed from skydrive after two weeks?
    Do I HAVE to move them out of the folder for it to remove them from cache? Who coded this shitty caching system?
  • Down to 102mb from 2.5gb. Thanx
  • Not really new
  • My other storage has 3.4 gigs held up! This is frustrating and makes me not wanna store anything on my device. Poor memory management from Microsoft
  • Can't wait for Amber now that I know my 5GB other storage will become 400-500MB..
  • My Other is 5.3GB on the 822... I might have GDR2, but still have nearly ⅓ of it to Other. Temp files are only 420MB; that's normal, IIRC.
    Also need to confirm that if you empty temp, you clear cookies? Just wondering, but probably not.
  • This trick does not do anything to your"others" storage. It only works for temporary storage.
  • Read the article again, Daniel said the GDR2 significantly improves the 8GB devices.. Bad math though, from my side..
  • I have my auto-upload turned off. If I wanted to upload images, I'd do it on my own time. Also, isn't that what removable memory is for? I just save photos taken to SD by default.
  • I do that too but still had 220-something in temp files, which Lumia storage brought down to 195 last time I tried it. This cache business is getting on my nerves. Did 7.x do this as well? Had a 16gb hd7 with over 4gb of space left, and I had movies, tons of pictures, apps/games, and uploaded to FB all the time.
  • Amazing..... Now only 33 mb in temp. Storage.... It has come down from the huge 646 mb.... Other storage memory also has increased... Thanx....
  • my temporary file is at 107MB...i need something for 'other' which is 2.6 this is not quite that much helpful for me yet.....:'(...but anyways looks amazing for future reference...bcz we all knw MS is so slow about updates....
  • I don't upload to SkyDrive. On occasion I upload 1 or 2 pictures to Facebook. I have 100+Mb in temp files, and last time I checked, 1.1gb in other.
    Update: tried this anyway and managed to go from 253mb to 7.9mb. Also set my yahoo email to manually update and brought other down from 1.1gb to 919mb. Why can't I do this with my Microsoft account settings?
  • My question is why do they have to Cache the uploads for 2 weeks, if at all?
  • So all I need now is GDR2 for my 8X!
  • Same! And my 8X is unlocked 
  • how can i push date?
  • Unfortunately didn't work for me. 373 MB before and after...I can't figure out for the life of me what (or where) these files are coming from. Thanks for the tip though.
  • Well i did mine without moving the files on sky drive and my temp went from 280mb to 35mb... Nice saving!! Oh i jumped my date by 2 months...
  • Can anyone tell me how the 'make more space' app for HTC actually works? I have had 1.07GB temp files there for a few weeks. It says to tap to schedule a clean up, which I do but it doesn't seem to have any affect at all. Has anyone had success?
  • I'm in vacation, taking lots of pics and bids, so this is very timely. I had to uninstall large games to keep ahead of the Storage creep'. I'm sure that didn't make the devs happy. MS should speed the process up and allow more control. Warn us if we are deleting before the file has been certified as good by Skydrive or whatever the back process is ( time for SkyDrive to make a redundant backup copy perhaps) but give us some control when we need it please!
  • The HTC Make More Space app doesn' t do anything for me! HTC 8XT :( The only thing i did, was download the trial for Modern Combat, but then I deleted it. Since then, I've had a little over a gig in the temporary storage.
  • It clears about 3 to 5MB at best
  • didnt do shit. time spend for notihing
  • ahahaha
  • Not funny. I have only 8GB and 2 are used for nothing. Fucking close source.
  • I only have 130MB in my Temporary Files on my Lumia 521. Tried this, but it didn't clear anything out.
    I regularly go into application settings and delete the Internet Explorer history though (not the history in the IE menu - that one doesn't delete temp files), which seems to always keep my temp files low.
  • +1 , Clearing the Internet History from Setting does seems to clear some space ...
  • It did work... Got 300 mb back on my 820.... Thnxx
  • Best article yet.
  • Curious if this negatively affected anyone's calendar in the process? It seems risky for notifications.
  • You have a point there. When I think about it, I have got some problems with Alarm Clock app since I started using this forward-date method. I cannot remember having seen any problems with the calendar notifications though.
  • Down to 13mb from 700mb......yooooooooooo this article is amazing
  • Thanks for the tip, had to tailor it to my non-gdr2 device, but I got the idea, and managed to clear about 500mb.
  • Interesting , I'll give it a shot .
    My "Temporary Files" has been stuck on 90.1MB since I downloaded GDR2 on my 8X a month ago , even though I don't upload pictures to SkyDrive ... But when I do (insert the Smartest Man In The World meme lol) I do it from the SkyDrive app directly to : Pictures >> Others .... I don't use the Mobile Uploads Folder or upload from the Photos App .
  • Ok
  • Wow, just did steps 3-4 (changed date, used Lumia storage checker to clear temp files) and have gone from 767mb to 140! ^_^
  • I don't set auto-upload to SkyDrive on photos setting, I set don't upload. On the top image here, in my Lumia 520 are 0 KB for music, 0 KB photos and I have not more than 8 images on camera roll. My temporary files are 124 MB, clear using storage check in setting still the same. Is there something wrong? And I don't in pictures hub, allow it refresh, I don't see it on photos setting.
  • Ohhh yeahh, Finally I've got from 111 MB = 7.4 MB:)) Good tutorial!!! Respect and thank you! 
  • It's worth noting that doing the date change thing wipes out all the data from DataSense!
  • Great stuff, my temp files has now gone down from 700MB to 33 :-). Very useful after having taken a whole load of photos the other day on a trip and wondering why my space was still being used up after having cleared them out already.
  • wow 1001mb to 180mb.. fantastic!!
  • Wow this would explain why my temporary storage number was so high, I recently went on vacation, and took a lot of videos, and media, so now I know its stored in a cache, and the phone isn't just being temperamental after I transferred media from phone to computer
  • I think changing the date has caused me to not recieve text messages. I get the toast, but then they are nowhere to be found. anyone know a fix? i have since changed the date to automatic
  • Thanks for help
  • i already off my sky drive upload option n my temporary files became 422 mb, so now can i clear my temporary files???plz tell me...
  • Is running Storage Check or Make More Space necessary? I don't have such an app on my Ativ. :(
  • Try this app
  • i already off my sky drive photo n video upload option n my temporary files became 422 mb, so now,   Can i clear my temporary files???    plz reply me someone...
  • Just tried this as my Lumia 820 seems to be quite full at the moment. Just went from 222MB down to 7.9MB.
    The trick is to keep refreshing storage check until it reaches a low value. Great tip!
  • I had over 650mb on my l920 and I forwarded the date by two months and it went to 3mb!  I skipped step 1-3 and did only 4 and 5. 
  • works...!! My temp size reduced from 660 mb to just 17mb. 
  • It works for me!!! 3.9GB to 7.9MB only!!!
  • Works great on my Lumia 520. Thanks for the tip. :)
  • I am waiting to fix the other storage bug
  • worked a treat
  • Great - this is actually the only trick that worked with my Lumia 920 - Black update. I went down from 2,4Gb to 24mB Temp files. thank you so much
  • I have to second that.  I went looking for ways to free up space as my GOOD GFE app was running as slow a dog and I suspected it was because there was less than 1 GB of free space.  Then I tried the instructions above.  My "temporary files" went from 13.34 GB down to 9.88 MB.  Awesome!  My freespace went from less than 1 GB before to 13.97 GB after.  I'm using a Lumia 1020 so I have no SD card option.  I then put the date back to normal and the space remained.   Thanks!
  • So what if I want to move my pictures to OneDrive and then basically delete my camera roll... I have 6.6GB worth of pictures? How should I do this? Ive already made new folders and transferred all the photos to diff named folders on OneDrive... But on my phone... The pix haven't moved from my camera roll... Safe to delete them?