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. He is also the 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 watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. 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.