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Microsoft clarifies how ‘Other storage’ works on Windows Phone 8 GDR2

Over the weekend, we posted an in depth article on the ‘Other Storage’ issue prevalent on Windows Phone 8 GDR1 devices. The problem is that for some users that area fills up with a lot of data, often of an unknown origin, with no way to gain it back besides a hard reset. From 2 to 10 GB, users have had their data disappear and it prevents them from installing new apps or games due to the restricted size. Case in point, our Lumia 720 has 2.4 GB of Other storage, which can be severely limiting on a device where you only start with around 5 GB.

Two things need to be separated here before going forward: the bug and the architecture of the OS. It is true that with GDR1 devices (any phone below OS build 10327) there is a bug related to uninstallation of XAP files for app installation than can leave remnants behind. While for small apps, this is not a big deal, if you uninstall or download a trial of say NOVA 3 (1 GB) it can have a devastating effect on space.

But there is also the design of the OS. In other words Windows Phone 8 is meant to have some space occupied by Other storage as a way to cache frequently accessed media, graphics, app and game data for fast, offline loading. That’s not a bug but the architecture and it can’t really be “fixed”.

Starting with Windows Phone 8 build 10327 (aka GDR2 devices), the bug is supposed to be addressed. This was tweeted by Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore, who oversees the Windows Phone team. We clarified that while it appears to be ameliorated, users will still lose some gigabytes of storage due to the Other category. On our Lumia 1020, we only have 2 GBs of apps/maps installed and 300 MBs of photos, but are up to 2.6 GB of ‘Other’. So far, that has not inched upwards, thankfully.

Now, Belfiore has responded to another question on the matter, going into a bit more detail:

“GDR2 fixes situations where the OS didn't clean up some files. So, it will grow, but it will then shrink properly…Also, know that Other includes stuff you *want*-- like email attachments. So it doesn't go to zero when these are present.”

In other words, Other storage should now be more dynamic than in the previous release. We have seen some isolated reports that when using an app like Shrink Storage, as the device approaches 100% completely-filled space, Other Storage visibly drops down in response.

Setting expectations

"Other" storage

That’s good news for users so long as expectations are kept within check. If you have a 32 GB device, seeing your Other Storage hovering around three or more gigabytes of data may be the norm of using Windows Phone 8. The problem of course is what people assume is “normal”. Lack of information on what can occupy that space and the reality that even though you have less than 3 GB of data installed, you can have more than 3 GB of Other storage, can cause users to still feel a bit robbed.

The other problem, pardon the pun, is what you’re buying. When you start on a 32 GB device, you really only have 26 GB of actual available space (OS installation, etc.). Now subtract 2 to 3 gigabytes for Other Storage and you are down nearly 10 GB from what you thought your device came with.

That’s a perception issue for consumers buying these phones. While we can spend all day writing articles and trying to explain this material, the fact is that most customers will never know any of this information. They will just see that they bought a 32 GB phone but only have 22 GB available after a few days of usage, with not much to show for it.

The good news is we should see a significant drop off in those horrifying reports of people with 10 or 15 gigabytes of Other storage, rendering their phone useless for daily use (we had one report of a user who had lost so much space, they couldn’t even place a phone call). But as we said above, make sure you have your expectations set. You will still sacrifice a few gigabytes for Other storage, once you upgrade to GDR2, something that should be going more widespread in August. Fingers crossed.

Update: For those suffering from a bloated Other Storage on their GDR1 device, if and when you can finally update to GDR2, the installation will fix and remove those 'bad' files, thereby fixing your situation. You should see a noticeable decline in your Other Storage upon finishing. 

Source: Twitter; Thanks, Tomi V., for the tip

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

  • Other storage isn't a problem for us Nokia users
  • Yes, it is. Once again, you are confusing Other Storage with Temporary files. Read our articles first.
  • The 'Other' storage thing is confusing for an average user. When I first used Nokia's Storage Check it cleared out over 3GB from the 'Other' storage. So there must be some link with the 'Other' storage and 'Temporary' files? I still have >5GB in 'Other' though.
  • Oops, and here I thought temporary files were the other on the device... well I'm a idiot for that, I thought I had 177MB of other, turns out. I have 1.1GB of other!
  • Good Answer. Daniel Rubino I am quite annoyed by these Nokia fan boys...whenever I mention this problem they always suggest me to use Lumia Storage Check.........and  my response WTF....   and the funny thing is they can't listen anything more than that.   anyway I am quite surprise that "other storage" is not a bug but the architechure problem.  
  • With All this other storage issue, they should just give us permission to install apps on microSD card then quite a few headache goes away including concern for 8GB phone.
  • +10000
  • I wish we had this feature as well.
  • true!
  • Keep Dreaming.......Microsoft will never provide this feature. But if they do(which is not gonna happen), I'll be very happy about it.
  • I wouldn't hold my breath, mainly becase quite a few WP8 phones do not support micro SD cards (although most of these seem to have larger amounts of in phone storage). It would be nice, but I would be surprised is this happens.
  • I don't quite get it, so can somebody please tell me why MS will have an issue about allowing app installation on SD cards? Obviously the lack of storage space for app installation would mean lesser apps being installed in devices, which is detrimental to the WP ecosystem in general.
  • Or put Other Storage on the SD card?
  • you should report on how the nokia lumia storage app handles this other storage
    in settings>phone storage>phone it says i have 4.69gb music+video, 20.22mb pictures, 3.47gb apps and 1.95gb other with 1.71gb system and 17.28gb free space but in the lumia storage check app it says i have 4.4gb apps, 5.7gb media and files, 1.6gb system and 17gb free space.
    in details the apps break down to 3.8gb apps and 631mb app data, 107mb maps, 147mb temporary files, 20mb photos, 4.7gb music+video, 1.2mb office documents, 135mb email+contacts, 0kb rintones, 1.6gb system and 656mb other i say that the lumia storage app gives a better breakdown of what is exactly on your device i mean, 1.95gb other and 656mb other are drastically different dont you think...
  • But those 656 are included among other things like map and app data on the 1.95
  • exactly.. hence the confusion... they should have just named it app data instead of other because hun=man nature wants to know what exactly these other files are and how to remove them initially i thought that everything the apps downloaded(because they are sandboxed) were included under the apps section so i was baffled at how my other grew to 9gb... the problem, i know now but not them, was because i downloaded the entire nokia maps data base. all of it if i had the nokia storage app i would have had to reset my phone... MS should rename that whole other nonsense... i am happy with app data i wouldnt want to delete it as much than a this so called other
  • +1
  • Ya Dan I have 3.4 GB in other storage its been as high as 8.1 GB, but it now hovers just over 3.0 GB's.
  • Incorrect.
  • Sorry,but Nokia actually addresses only temporary storage &not other storage.
  • My 820 has 2.1 gb of "other"..
  • Shit! My 925 is saying 1GB, but after Shrink Storage it was cut down in half
  • My 810 says 3.5 and storage check doesnt even work on my phone.
  • Owned
  • 5 gigs in other for me.
  • -1
    You're wrong. I only have 2.6 GB of storage left on my Lumia 920. Expandable storage for media files should be available on all the high end Nokia WP8 devices as well. I have 5.7 GB of 'Other' storage.
  • +1
    I'd love to see Nokia or HTC give the High End microSD card support. 
  • Got to over 10GB on my Lumia 822 before finally doing a hard reset.  Sitting at +4GB right now.  There are definitely installation files left over that shouldn't be when installing apps.
  • I had the same problem with my L900.  "Other" kept growing for no good reason until I had to do a Hard reset.  That brought things back to normal and it didn't continue to grow and grow after that.
    I haven't seen a similar problem with my 920, although I do purge "Other Storage" very week or so, usually frees up a half a Gig or so, but sometimes not that much.  "Other" storage stays around 0.4 Gb even when I 'Purge' it - so that's probalbe a lot of email atachments etc.
    Basically, my L920 has been fine.
  • How do you "purge" the Other storage?  I thought that was part of the problem (without GDR2), that you couldn't purge anything in Other.
  • Talk for yourself pal, for me it is a problem.
  • My 820 has 2.8 gb of other :( is that ok?
  • I can't be sure, sorry. It depends of the apps you have installed and the accounts you have set up in your handset.
  • Its 'normal' according to MSFT... my Other storage is 4GB!
  • Sorry pal, not even Nokia is perfect.
  • No true.  I have Nokia 810 on T-Mobile (aka 820 on ATT), and we never received update.  Still on version 8.0.10211.204.  I was pissed when T-Mobile discountinued 810 less than 6 months of its release.  T-Mobile is testing GDR2 on the 810, and I hope they'll give it to us.
  • Ha! Don't drag me into this. Being on Nokia 810 is like not being with Nokia @ all ;)
  • So much for being first to comment :P
  • I have a Nokia Lumia 928 (32GB) and it's got 9.2GB sucked up by 'Other'.
  • So, what happens for the people on GDR1 (or below) that uninstalled something, and it didn't fully clean up after itself.  Does upgrading to GDR2 retroactively go and clean up these stubs or are they forever screwed until they do a hard reset?
  • would like to know this too
  • Yes, believe it or not, when you update the OS it will clean it out. No worries there.
  • When we use Nokia's solution, I see that the album thumbnails for SkyDrive folders within "Photos/Albums" no longer have pictures associated with them and turn to just gray tiles.
  • Thanks for adding that note, I've been wondering this exact thing for a while now.
  • The problem is, when does the cleaner come anyway, late 2013? you say it as if we can update now :P
  • Valid question!
  • All we ask for is control over the other storage. I don't mind the other storage.
  • Yes, they should add an option to wipe all the cache.
  • I wouldn't ever use that. What they should do is finer grained options on file types to both cache and wipe. Like Clear Email Attachments/Don't Cache Email Attachments. As long as I can save email attachments that I want to keep, I don't need the pictures from my ATT bill cached. But I may want to cache other stuff.
  • So the 'shrinkage' Joe refers to may start to eat away at whatever Other Storage i happen to have on my 920 post GDR2? - 4gb in my case (according to the Nokia storage check app)
  •   Pretty much like I explained in the previous thread; If you read up on the technical reasons why this is, there is is a collection of (temporary) system files, attachments and 'app specific temp. files' and the OS may grab as much space as it can for this purpose. Where it goes wrong is when apps put stuff there the OS does not expect and so is not aware of it (and the mentioned .XAP files). As a result on a 'cleanup' these files are not removed. The correct information on this is out there but got kind of shoveled under by the plethora of people who were under the impession that having a 2-3GB 'Other Storage' allocation meant they had a problem while in fact that alone does not imply a problem at all. If your 1020 has 2.6GB of 'Other Storage' it should start to get smaller as you need more space upto the point the minimum required amount of space is used. On my GDR1 L620 this area never goes over 700MB.
  • Other storage in my L620 is between 600 and 700mb. I think it is working as intended. I dont play games so games may be the problem.
  • In my L620, Other storage size is 1.1 GB 
  • I'm getting pwned with 2.36gb on my other storage for my L620. I only use RSS apps and reddit picture feeds (no games except online chess). Might be time to run shrink storage again. 700mb sounds more reasonable.
  • That could be the problem of why your "other storage" is extremely large. The OS is trying to store some of those files so that when you view them again, it's not eating away at your data package.
  • Other storage is just like the Other Storage or Reserved Space in Zune... for squirting songs or Guest Syncing mode.
  • Lol i forgot that was called squirting
  • What about T-Mobile 8X?! .. When will they get GDR2??
  • Based on HTC's track record.... Never
  • You should say..T-Mobile's track record
  • I call BS on both comments.  My HD7 regularly got timely updates from T-Mo, GDR1 update was timely, and so far T-Mo 8X is the only US phone even rumored to have the update ready to go.  Just becuase we all saw the release date of last Monday and it is a week late, doesn't mean that they are sitting on the update and choosing not to release it.  It's more likely they are fine tuning to make sure that the phone doesn't brick, like the unlocked versions did.
  • Don't listen to the sarcastic clowns.
  • I have also 2.6 GB of storage in other now too on my 1020. I think the issue has been resolved. I had 6 GB on my 920. I have just about every game and app from my 920 now on my 1020. Cheers
  • Even temporary files don't clear on my 521
  • Even on the desktop pc you can't clear every temp files.
  • this comment makes no sense. on a desktop pc, right click the c: drive, and click properties. Near the pie graph detailing free and used storage, there is a button that says "disk cleanup". this will allow cleaning of temporary files.
    if you meant you cant remove a 521's temp files using a pc, then that is moot. the pc app for windows phone is designed to manage media. thats it.
  • I'm taking about %temp% files some is still attached so some programs and you can't clean everything.
  • if i understand what your saying properly, than correct. However, it seems odd when you have 200MB of unclearable temp files for months. temp files are supposed to be temporary, so if they are not being used as temporary files, then they are storing them in the wrong place.
  • 26GB of usable storage on a 32GB phone? My 920 had 29GB. My "Other" stays within the 700+MB range when I access Storage Check. When I just go into the system area, it says around 2GB. Do I go by what's in Storage Check or system?
  • Lumia 920 does show a total of 29 GB. Of that 29 my storage check says the system uses 1.6 GB. So subtract your system storage from the total and that would be how much available space u have for media, apps, other, etc.
  • Mine actually did. I have an unlocked Rogers 920 and checked this the day I got it, prior to adding any apps and music. I also uninstalled a number of things I didn't need since I'm in the US and on T-Mobile, not Rogers.
  • I'd like a better understanding of the "other storage" all together. Like what exactly is it comprised of, what contributes most to it, and how long does it take for the OS to release whatever parts of it aren't necessary. Also (and this is where I shoot myself, and this whole thread in the foot) do other OS's have something similar?
    I'm glad I got the L925, but I probably would have kept using my L810 a little longer if the other storage wasn't weighing it down. I'm starting to lean more in the same direction as a lot of other people as far as wanting more space on my phone(s). If this is really something that can't be avoided there should be some minimum space requirements on the phones. 'Cuz 8gb's goes away hella fast.
    Other storgage basically is your phone's scratchpad.
  • It was intended to be a reserved kind of space for your OS to cache temporary files to for easy access (emails, saved documents, saved songs on some apps etc.). So it really doesn't do much apart from letting the OS grab things before you open them for a fast/smooth experience. That's that unless you want a detailed/technical explanation and that I can't provide. Heh.
  • Email attachments,profiles of person on people hub,app data like here maps data,game saves
  • If the "Other" is related to the OS, perhaps Microsoft should have not separated it and simply put those files along with the "System". That way consumers would better understand and it would be more clear and honest.
    We have Xgb of apps, Xgb of media usage and Xgb of system usage.
    Either that or allow us to see exactly what's stored in the "Other" and delete what we want to delete and not assume we *want* all the stuff that's there.
  • Then people would see that their system files growing constantly which would lead to rumors of OS being bloated and buggy. If GDR2 fixes this issue to a reasonable amount, I think it's fine. Although no reason for an app like "Storage Check" not being able to control caching. It wouldn't really change the experience for average user and WP is all about average user with closed ecosystem and lack of any kind of modifications.
  • I would like to know what the comparison is in regards to storage with the other's not like all operating systems don't use the space somehow. =[
  • The best way to approach this issue is to backup before you upgrade to GDR2 and then do one final Hard Reset to set things right. Otherwise, those stale xap files of uninstalled apps will still be there unless we install and uninstall the same app again to address this problem.
  • Except that MS is also being incredibly slow on providing a solution to backup game progress, making this a terrible solution for many if not most people. This is another thing (like orientation lock) that boggles the mind it is still an issue three years on.
  • Do I get to keep my game saves? I think not..
  • Yeah well, the game progress save features are more the responsibility of the developer than Microsoft. As stated earlier by Microsoft, there are already means for them to do so to Windows Azure, but the developers are supposed to bake them in.
  • If I recall correctly, Azure is the cloud solution of Microsoft. That totally makes sense because save files are enormous./s How about putting them together with the "Other Storage"?
  • The backup functionality in WP8 is just plain old terrible. It just reinstalls the programs you had and your texts. The contacts will come back by setting up your account.
    Here is what is really terrible about it though: It doesn't work if the phone your phone doesn't have its APN information pre-set to your carrier. Unlocked phones sometimes aren't an issue as they'll auto-configure but the unlocked T-Mobile 8X that I use for my parents lines on AT&T does NOT allow restoration. It's preconfigured with T-Mobile APN and no auto-configure on first boot. Since WP8 doesn't allow you to connect to WiFi before doing the setup and it doesn't let you initiate a restore after the initial setup you're fucked. Also it is terrible for anyone on a limited data plan because it forces you to use the cellular connection to begin the restore. If you're in a 4G area it will probably download at least 100MB before you're able to get into the wifi settings and connect to your network.
  • My Other hovers around 1Gb on Vodafone 32Gb Lumia 925
  • Lumia 925 with 32 GB!? I didn't know that!
  • Vodafone exclusive :(
  • Hopefully this update comes soon then because my other storage is at 9.33GB...
  •  The best thing to do is Microsoft give to us, owners of WP devices, the option to clean the other storage. Like in Android, where you can clean cache or data. Ok, we know it has information that the apps may need, but if we need space, clean this space must be available, and use all our applications as if it were the first time.
  • That shouldn't be necessary. Space is freed up as you need it. Assuming it works.
  • I need it when trying out a new game from Marketplace.. does it free it up than? Or give me an error that I dont have enough storage?
  • You do realize that even on Android, scrubbing the cache and data does NOT remove all the OS and App generated data that is left laying around?
    The way WP8 does this is not wrong, it is just hard for people to get their heads around. 
  • The WP does it IS wrong. Other storage should never get to 10GB. This is NOT an issue on Android.
  • +925
  • I think the problem is the fact that these files are labeled with the generic term "other". If MS would be more descriptive with what exactly the space is being used for, it would bring clarification to end users. If it's being used by email attachments (or whatever), for goodness sake's make an app that says exactly what the files are.
  • It only took what, about a year?
  • Probably more than a year by the time everyone has access to it. Still don't have it on my ATT Lumia 920, 2 T-Mobile 8X's, or Rogers ATIV S. 
  • WP8 handles storage terribly, I seriously want the option of a 64 GB Lumia 9xx device. Crossing my fingers for that when GDR3 arrives. Seriously, is a 64 GB Lumia 935 (T-Mobile) too much to ask for in 2014?
  • I still don't understand the ruckus. Um, do "other storage" analogs not exist on other platforms? I mean, I know I ran into this quite frequently on my fruit device as I used work email, etc quite extensively. I regularly reset the device to just do a clean sweep. Perhaps they should just offer a setting to allow users to control whether they want performance or storage optimized.
  • The ruckus, as explained in the article, is two fold: the bug in GDR1, which is pretty severe for some and two, the perception of how much space should you actually have.
  • It's a tricky issue. It wouldn't be a bad idea for future releases to have a setting that controls the max amount of space other storage can use. Frankly, I haven't have a problem on my 920, but allowing users to put a cap on it could help with the issue by putting control in users' hands, with a big warning that it will likely increase data usage by requiring more syncing etc. If a user tried to install an app and the other storage cap was set too low, it would tell them to increase it and retry the installation.
  • Yup, agreed, it is tricky both for explanation and management, if at all possible (MS so far seems reluctant to allow users to manage certain aspects of the OS e.g. closing apps).
  • This was my thought also. Just as you are able to limit the size of the swap file on desktop Windows, there should be a user adjustable limit on how much space is used for OS scratch room. They could make it a selectable drop down (ex: 2gb, 4gb, 6gb, 8gb), with information about what this setting may effect as far as OS performance.
  • +1 It's not too hard both for Microsoft and users
  • I can't get GDR2 fast enough!!!!!!!! I factory reset my phone monthly just to be able to use it.  I download and try apps, sync pics to skydrive, lots of email etc and the other storage has almost made me want to throw my phone.  Recently, low memory has caused operating issues with the phone as well.  I have to try to stay around 1GB free space to prevent issues.
    I am sooooo glad a fix is on its way; I just hoping that it works.
  • I have 7.19 GB in Other storage on my L822. This update can't arrive soon enough. I had to delete so much to install Halo... :-\
  • So by this "clarification" what they're really saying is that there will never be a fix to it so don't expect it. This comes after months of wp8 was release to the general public. Such BS.
  • The article...not sure you read it.
  • I did read it, you wrote yourself that this other storage can deem the device unusable. The fact is there's an expectation that this will be addressed or fix in gdr2 when it comes out now there's more explanation as to why this happens and from the sounds of it likely won't be really addressed. Bottom line its an issue otherwise you wouldn't written about it.
  • having a few hundred MB in "other" isnt an issue. Android and iOS devices have an "other" all the same. GDR2 fixes a bug in WP8's clearing mechanism that kept it from removing old and unnecessary files, as well as failing to remove unnecessary files upon near max memory, from other. Theres no "fixing" other because its not something to be fixed. your phone would fail to work properly without it.
  • Read again? Or actually read for the 1st time?
  • Do I need to mention the little elf with pixie dust again
  • I'm sick of Microsoft and their behaviour. 2GB "other" on a device, which has around 6GB free memory by default (which is pretty every device below a Lumia 920)?!? That's 30% loss!
    What's even more annoying: There is no practical way to expand memory on WindowsPhone. SD-card-management is absolutely buggy and crumpled. First, it only let's you store pictures and music (and maps), but no apps or documents. Bummer. But then the OS seems to constantly mount and unmount the SD-card, so that phones with SD get horribly laggy.
    Microsoft, that's pure genius: Fuck up the internal memory Fuck up the only way to add external memory Take AGES to react on thes issues. If Microsoft wants to compete on the mobile market, they should step up the pace. And by that, I mean REALLY speed up.
  • Never had that mount/remount issue (sounds hardware in nature to me) but losing 25% of your space definitely isn't fun.
  • Not sure if it's really the OS remounting the SD, but haveing a memory card in the phone seems to slow down the overall reaction speed. Escpecially taking photos gets noticably laggy, with a delay of over two seconds for the first picture. After that, pictures are taken slightly faster, but still with more lag than without SD. The remount-theory is just an idea that came up somewhere in the WPCentral-forums. It seem quite feasible to me.
    The point is: SD cards on WP8 suck. (just have a look at the forums)
  • Oh snap. So that's why my 820 (with SD card) is so fraking slow in taking pictures compared to a fresh 720 (with no SD card yet).
  • I think what's happening in there is that the picture is being saved on the internal memory first and then being transferred over to the SD card. But my hunch is as good as yours.
    And definitely, SD cards suck everywhere. I suspect this might be one of the reasons why Apple still refuses to use them - too many complications involved for the end user. 
  • Definitely, SOME SD cards sucks somewhere... Most advanced ones can use good controller chip which allows high read/write IOPS for small sectors and (rarelly today) they might use way faster writes (because 10x+ reliable) SLC memory chips. But most of todays cards use slower (cheaper in relation to higher capacity) MLC chips and dumb/slow controllers. Its the same situation as in SSD drives, because SD cards are in fact the same thing, only smaller. I remember I had VERY fast Kingston Ultimate with SLC and superb controller, but only 512M and it was 2007 - then SLC chips was silently disappearing (because nobody even tells you if/what he uses nor the controller chipset - there is only may be up to 5 possible and its impossible to detect this from card; manufacturers can even change internals of the same model advertised without notification - this is the REAL reason why MS was afraid to use SD since start as native internal storage and homemade upgrades was often unreliable too).
  • OK, good. Now if Xbox Music issues have been resolved I will get the 1020.
  • Yay! Now come on GDR2!
  • Is it just like the indexing service in windows daniel
  • Nokia's storage app says I've got 1.1GB of other storage whilst the built in WP storage app says I've got 3.7GB in other storage. The latter obviously must include temporary files, app data, emails + contacts, office documents etc. which the Nokia app separates. The other storage dropped to 3.2GB after I cleared temporary files in Nokia's app too, so I already know 700 Mb of that other storage is due to temporary files. It looks bad when you look at the OS' built in storage check but mainly because it clumps together all different types of things that are taking up storage space. If the built in storage check actually showed more detail as to what was actually taking up all this other storage then I don't think we would have had such a big problem. Obviously some people got that bug pretty badly but for the majority I think this is pretty normal. All our app data, texts, emails, contacts, attachments, file downloads etc. have to take up some space somewhere, don't they?
  • Thank god. On my 8GB 521 I have 2.6 GB of apps, and 2.55GB of other which after system reservation leaves me 35MB of free space...
  • Well, unused space is wasted space. I wouldn't mind if it used all free storage for caching- so long as it dynamically is removed as space is needed elsewhere.
  • To be fair to Microsoft, other OS' have similar things. Every iOS device I've owned has performed similarly i.e. they grab a certain portion of the "drive" and reserve it for local temporary storage/caching. Android has something similar as well (it needs it the most anyway). I think the problem here is two-fold. 8 GB should never be the standard storage on a device (save for budget devices like 520/620). I understand that cost is an issue here but modern day OS' aren't meant to be run with an SD card. No system I know makes it easy for your SD card to offer a true expansion of your internal memory (except if you root your Android device, but that makes you a tool). Other thing is the lack of information by the OS makers. I've seen thousands post about this with Apple devices and now Windows ones. Maybe it is time to give them an official answer? Include this with the system storage maybe so people know exactly how much they'll get? And of course, most importantly, design the OS better?
  • Release gdr2 already
  • I have lumia 620 with 8 gig. Os spaces 2gigas and other 2 gigas too. Very bad situation
  • This answers problems with installation files - but what about automatic upload to skydrive? In GDR1 basically every photo you take takes the space twice (1 for photo itself, 2nd for skydrive upload). Checked GFs htc8s (already gdr2) and looks like it isnt fixed...
  • Yes I have the same question:
    Can I switch on my 'Auto backup to Skydrive' for my pics after GDR2 update?
  • Question is: When will the update to GDR2 happen? Does this also happen for HTC8X?
  • Yes, it will be available for 8X. I thought HTC already released it. Where are you from?
  • Yes HTC 8X will be the first to receive this update and later will come to HTC 8S. In India it has already started rolling out to HTC 8X.
  • This is the type of thing Apple would have patched by now. I do not like Apple, but they do bug fix WAY more often than MS does. Well, so far MS is awful at is support on WP8. To me, this is an issue that should be patched today, not tomorrow or who knows when.
  • iOS devices have the exact same "Other" issue ( Granted, it has gotten better than when I saw it first but it's still normal to see 1-2 GB being used on iOS devices. Also, it is actually much easier for Apple to patch/release bugs because they only make one model. With 20 different devices, 20 different carriers and 3 different manufacturers, it takes time. 
  • 20 different devices with same SoC. FTFY.
  • Ok, THANK YOU! This is what I wanted to know.  ios even calls it "other" too. 
  • I have 4.1Gb of other out of a total of 7.1Gb available space. I only have 700Mb of apps because Other is so crippling on the phone being able to work when it eats all the space, I simply can't have more than the essential apps.
    Never mind there being an apparent lack of apps compared to other ecosystems, I can't risk downloading the ones that are there!
  • The problem is really with devices like the HTC 8s with only 4GB memory, out of which 2GB is taken by the OS and about 1GB other. That really leaves nothing for the apps. 
    I think microsoft should have a min requirement while making WP devices, so that customers are not stuck with half useless device.
  • I had at least 13GB of other on my L920 before my reset. Now count the OS that also is taking space and start installing a couple of games and some songs, download the Nokia maps (the 820 can store this on SD)..well, you probably is getting the picture now. It is a problem, but many users may not have that much on there phones and therefore don't notice the issue. Start to really use the device and it will go downhill fast.
  • This problem should been fixed and prioritize'd waaay earlier. What about the face slap to the developers who makes games and apps, but they can't be bought or used because people have no place to install em.
  • I can agree with it being prioritized, but you have to remember, this was a 'bug' that didn't happen to All users. However, when users would hear about the bug, they would assume they had it because their phone had 2-3gb of Other in use, even though they still had plenty of free space, which is working as intended, as Other would shrink down for them as more space was needed.
  • Normally it wouldn't be a big deal, but on an 8gb device, ie anything below an 9xx series, it kind of sucks.
    If I'm understanding correctly, it's basically a part of the OS, and how it works....but isn't working correctly?  Hopefully all WP8 devices get this GDR2 update then, regardless of carrier  and such.
    For this fix, Microsoft needs to issue an update from them directly that goes around the carriers.   F*** AT&T and Verizon.
  • +69 let them carriers fuck each other!
  • There shouldn't be an other storage from start. If it's an email attachment why isn't it listed under the email app, photo thumbnails under photo app, map data under maps app and on and on? WP team did a bad job since the early stages of development. It was present in WP7, we just didn't know because there was no way to see storage info.
  • android, iOS, Mac OSx, and windows all have an "other" storage too. only, on anything other than iOS, its not called other. The "other" storage is like a temporary files section (i know this is confusing since Storage Check shows both temporary files and "other") From my understanding, this is where cached emails, email attachments, thumbnails, and other "quick access" files go, as well as OS Updates, if im not mistaken, and XAP installer files (think similar to an MSI or EXE installer file). The other makes it where you can see thumbnails of your images, or open that email attachment without downloading it each time.
    Also, emails and photos are part of the os. Thumbnails are needed any time you open a picture from another app (i dont remember seeing grey squares instead of pictures in the photo chooser). Emails are a system feature.
    The other on windows phone is bad because the clearing mechanism had a bug before GDR2. That is all. It is necessary for proper use of your phone.
  • *sigh*
    Here we go again. Another person not only having logic, but explaining something in a logical manner.
    Good luck.
    Your point will be lost on the illogical. 
  • i have a feeling youve been "here" before.... (here as in the position of explaining things logically).
  • So if it is the "architecture", why bother releasing phones from 8GB and under???
    Don't forget the system takes up 2GB by default already. Depending on how you use the phone the Other storage varies but from reading forums the average would be 2-4GB.  I have no problems with my 920 because I don't store much music in it and have sufficient space, but the 820 is so useless right now. Mentioned above, the system and Other takes up 6.xGB alone. Every single media is stored in SD and there is 0 games installed. Only couple essential apps. We can safely say apps like Whatsapp, Skype are must-installs and can be counted as "default apps". With all this I only have 400mb FREE space. So much for Halo? I appreciate the updates. And since the Other Storage is part of the OS architecture, it baffles me in why 8GB phones are released. I've read 1020 users have 10GB Other storage already after a week use.  Fingers crossed for GDR2
  • On GDR2, it seems to keep itself more in check. On my Lumia 925 (16GB), it has around 700MB of other storage vs my 2.6 GB on the 1020. Presumably on a the 8GB devices with GDR2, it will be around 300MB. But that is something we still need to verify. 
  • If this is true it's great. Honestly, you can't ask more than that.
  • At least updates are rolling! :)
    I mean I have no problem with the 920 so far and its great. Just some low-mid level phones I think deserves more functionality for the price.
  • I did noticed that it now cleared storage on its own and SkyDrive auto upload is now working properly. But my other is still 5GB which is (compared to the wpcentral phones) really annoying.
  • Anyway to manually update the firmware on a lumia 820? My carrier (Personal) in South America is really slow when it comes to updates. I cant even erase temp files yet.
  • If you're desperate look for Nokia Software Updater or something like that. You can flash a different rom but your warranty would be invalid.
  • There is always the Nokia Retail Software updater. It wipes your phone, but the warranty isnt voided. However, if your phone has a special carrier variant of firmware, i am unsure if it will work. What voids your warranty is flashing firmware from another carrier via Nokia Care Suite.
  • Been watching the "other" on my Lumia 925 which has windows build 10327 and this amount has stayed around 500 mb. My 8X would be in the 3-4 gb range until I would reset it but would see it build back up in short time. 
  • My lumia 925 already has 1.9gb of "other" storage and it came with the GDR2 + Amber update. I'm thinking that the problem was not fixed :/
  • Relax, its simply a cache, I am sure it will be purged when neccessary, but might be good to "lie" during reporting the size possible in settings, cleaning it only when really required because the cache speeds up things. There might be lot of things related to internal apps, as there is SQL DB for them but also each app has its own "setup size" (then cleaned), then initial app data size (+ growing by nature of app). I would like to see encrypted storage for such things on "high IOPS SLC-powered SD card", it may be even faster than internal only (expecting concurrent accesss to SD and internal flash).
  • Being a verizon htc8x user, the other storage problem is certainly the biggest fix im hoping for with this update, but does anyone know if the update will finally allowing group texting for my phone? Yes, I've been to the messaging options and looked to change the "group texting" option, but this option simply does not exist on my phone
  • I have over 6gb in the other folder. ;(
  • And MS could have done themselves a lot of favour by giving this explanation say some 6 months back, how difficult is that to say that this is how WP storage works but we also have a bug which we are aware of and working to solve, but no MS wants to see its popularity going down and sales of their partner OEMs going down because they dont have time for it, no wonder Nokia let out their frustration on them.
  • It took a lot of public bashing and couple of articles on the most popular tech blogs to get them talking. This is the textbook definition of laziness.
  • Really?
    Laziness...? Ok.
  • GDR2 released from Microsoft months ago. There are devices out there with the update built-in. "Oh, by the way, We fixed that thing. Here is how it works" announcement would be really appreciated. I was thinking about selling my phone (which i really like actually). That is why I think it's laziness.
  • 1) All OSes allocate and use space and on Android Apps are also allowed to consume space outside of their respective locations. 2) The use of Other is for retaining information that you do want your OS to have to download continually or have to keep processing when it can use a bit of space. 3) The bug also didn't affect everyone, but people would see a large chunk of Other space used and assume they had the bug, even though they still had a lot of Free space as well. The other thing that is NOT talked about is all the space saving features of WP8 that users do not realize is working for them, and on Android or iOS they would be giving up a much larger chunk of storage space. Here is one example: On WP8, it can easily give you COMPLETE access to your Hotmail/Outlook/Exchange set of email folders. This means that you can have literally 50,000+ messages taking up 50gb of space without a performance loss and also integrating into other features of the phone, as they are fully searchable, with most of the content always available even when you are offline. My inbox and various email folders go back to 1992 and are all Synced on my phone, so that when I flip to a Person-History in the People hub, I can trace my email conversations with them going back 20 years. It does this effortlessly, and if you tried to retain or use ALL your email content on Android or iOS, at best the App starts becoming unresponsive at the 500 message mark, starts having errors and issues with POP3 and IMAP servers, losing track of what messages have changed, etc, and will begin to eat performance as pushed content still has to reread the entire message list and resync itself with each new email or email change. WP8 uses a robust object tracking model that doesn't have to read through the entire list of messages when the mail App is opened or when content changes. It can also user server side process if the functionality exists as needed, reducing the processing and impact on the phone even for LARGE stores of data, like the 50gb set of mail folders. Other examples start with having access to online content from your Facebook, Twitter, Skydrive so that when you open 'What's new" it doesn't take forever to aggregate all the various linked accounts and pulll the data, and even if you keep scrolling back to virtually forever, it smoothly keeps the list on the screen populated as you go back literally years, reading Facebook posts and tweets from several years ago. This is a device DESIGNED to access and handle online content, don't be surprised that it will retain as much of this 'pulled' content as possible until the space is needed, and that there will always be a small chunk that will never be available because you do have friends on Facebook and you do have Music loaded and you do use Email that needs to have the message object sorted and cached. WP8 is handling 'Other' space properly, and with GDR2 will be able to reclaim space that unaccessible by the bug.
  • I'd upvote the shit outta this if I could! (Even though in my people hub I can only go back a few hours at the most. Maybe even a day or two depending on what's been posted)
  • you are one of the smartest commenters on WPCentral that i have ever seen. If WPCentral had comment recommendations, id recommend this in a heartbeat. but for now: +521
  • this clarification post is great. puts things in perspective for the Other storage after GDR2. gotta wait for that update now and clean some of that 6.4GB
  • If I do a hard reset does that fix it?
  • Well it deletes the "Other" files, don't know if it fixes it entirely tho.
  • if a device truly has the bug affecting the other storage mechanism, than resetting is only a bandaid. the same problem will reoccur after a while. GDR2 is the fix.
  • I appreciate that we got a better explanation. On a related note, I hope that eventually we can be allowed to save email attachments in a user-accessible folder, where we could also save/send any file, not just photos.
  • EXACTLY! we need that basic flexibilty to manage files.
    Can you imagine a Windows desktop version with no Explorer/File Manager?? NO!
  • Why do you need folders when everything you DL is in the hub it's associated to???
    Music/Video  -  Music Hub
    Pictures - Photo Hub
    Documents - Word Hub (except pdfs)
    Why add clutter like folders, or file systems?? 
    Just because other OS's have it does not make it better...
  • Try and email a PDF from your Windows Phone and get back to us. You say "except PDFs" as if they are not significant. Plus, attaching an office document is awkwardly backwards, which it wouldn't be if we had a "user storage" area.
    Also, it would obviously take care of one of the reasons "Other storage" is so large.
  • there is already a user area storage for Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos. However, the email app does not have a fully fledged attach feature. So its not that we need somewhere to save files to that is user accessible (we have that, if youve ever plugged your phone into a pc), its that the EMail client does not have access ti anything but photos.
  • "Other" problem fixed? Not for me (HTC 8S), "Other" still occupies 1gb of storage! GDR2 fixed nothing for me!!
  • Have you read anything here?
  • According to this you should not see a problem with installing apps. It's not about how much it occupies, in theory, it should decrease if you need more space.
  • So it is impossible to let the user adjust the max cache size?
  • Hi,
    I just received an update for the storage app for my Lumia 720. Would this solve this issue??
  • no. and having files in other is not the issue, fyi, its that it wont clear unnecessary ones. GDR2 fixes this.
  • I would like to apologize on behalf of my fellow Nokia Lumia users for telling people, with a Windows Phone that is not a Lumia, that they should drop their phone and get a Lumia because of the other storage thing. We Windows Phone users are the minority between IOS, Android and WP. We should stand together as a community and show them why Windows Phone deserves to be in the top 3 OS's. Put Windows Phone first and the Phone Maker companies second. Don't argue like little kids about which Windows Phone is the best. If you don't agree with me then that's fine, we are all allowed to have an opinion. ;)
  • +1. Just got a 925 but I always loved my Arrive. All phones have their ups and downs but we are all WP users.
  • Exactly.
  • "pardon the pun" ... what pun?
  • The "other problem" when talking about Other storage.
  • I get it now. Subtle.
  • My other storage has been floating at around 1.7gb give or take.
  • The highest "other storage" I've had on my 925 was about 1.5-1.7gb within the first few days of use. I got scared and decided to wipe the device and start fresh. I can say now that I've not seen those numbers go that high anymore and with games/apps/documents on my phone my other has not seen 1gb+ anymore. Other seems to stay at 600mb or below... Currently sitting at 460mb. This definitely seems as a fix (GDR2) as I feel bad for those without it and 2+Gb of "other". That is the main reason I did not want an 8gb phone.
  • The problem when I read this kind of news is that they always focus on devices with 32gb of internal storage. I have a Lumia 820 and this issue is extremely annoying for me because my device has only 8gb of internal memory (which only 6gb are really usable). I just can't install any games that take more than 512mb, it just says I don't have space, and since I can't put apps in the SD card I have this horrible situation where I have around 2gb of other storage, 2gb of  apps and games, 1.9gb for the system and 500mb of free space. I can't install anything else.
    If it's an architecture thing, then Windows Phone devices should come with at least 16gb of internal storage or we should have the option to install apps and games on the SD card. Or maybe allow games to put it's content files on the SD.
  • download lumia storage checker
  • I have the storage checker, that never helped, it releases around 100mb only and my other storage stays big.
  • other storage is an architecture thing on iOS and android as well. the problem with Windows Phone is that certain files didnt belong there that were placed there and the clearing mechanism had a bug, letting it get out of control. GDR2 fixes this by clearing those wrongly placed files and fixing its clearing mechanism.
  • This seems to be a very poor implementation. First, the data should be sorted under the app they are from. If it's attachments it should be under the mail app. If it's cache for the store it should be under the store app, if it's pictures, videos music, it should be in their respective category. Maybe a third shade of color (in programs such as storage check) showing the amount of cached data would be helpful. Secondly, they should provide sufficient granularity to allow the user to manually clear data from those categories as they wish. Keep the OS' capability to automatically remove data as necessary but *also* allow users to manually clear it. E.g. maybe I don't want all these attachments from my email stored in my phone. Maybe if I want to get them later I can re-download them from the server. I can see how OS optimizations can require some space but greater user control in this case would definitely be welcomed. Simplicity can't coexist with confusion.
  • They are not under the app because A. Applications are sandboxed, & B. Other apps require access to these files (example: thumbnails when using the image chooser in another app). Its similar to Windows where temporary files are stored in OS folders. however, i agree with you on user clearing, since Windows has a tool for this, Disk Cleanup, and windows phone should have the same.
  • this is how other works for me in the default storage manager it might say i have 3.9gb of apps installed and 1.7gb of other but...
    in the lumia storage checker app it says i have 4.2gb of apps installed, then i click on details and it shows me the same 3.9gb but an extra part that says app data and it says that i have 600mb of other  
  • Good Article. Thanks for the info.
  • Amber update is coming to india next week for lumia 920, 2nd week of Aug otther lumia devices will get amber update. nokia care peoples confirmed when i sent req for amber update. enable 3G or Wifi to your lumias devices :) 
  • Thanks for the update.
  • One more thing I have to say is with MS coming out and explaining this, as well as (coming just short of) promising a fix, they better make sure this ends up on every device just like Mango did.
    Not a good look to hang this out there and only allow a few phones to get it. Even though I've moved on to the L925 I still want the issues fixed on my L810.
  • all devices should get GDR2. Microsoft has an 18mo. support time for each version of Windows Phone, if my memory serves.
  • I have 24 gigabytes of other storage on my Lumia 920 :(
  • Post a screenshot plz if possible.. i want to spread it all over the internet and warn people from buying any 1025. Whats the point? Why release such games? Nothing.. this phone is a headache where everytime i have to worry about storage 99% of the time.
  • You don't have to worry about it. Update will fix the problem. Do you know how to read? Maybe I should ask this first.
  • I know how to read but there is little to comprehend from a 140 words of tweet.. i mean isnt this whole article is just derived on the basis of that tweet?
    Will I be able to switch on my 'Auto backup to Skydrive' for my pics? I want a backup of my pics.. its a very imp thing.. will it work without facking up my phone? Can you make it out from the tweet?
  • Yes me to I would have a 64GB card in mine. Down to about 8 to 9 GB,s that's it on my 920.
  • Best thing Microsoft can do is make other storage accessible via the PC app, i.e. when you connect your phone to the PC you would see a breakdown of what is in other storage similar to Windows 7 system tool 'disk cleanup' with categories like email, text messages, temp files, app files, etc. and if the user wanted to they would then have the option to delete some or all of those files.
    Sounds simple enough, so I wonder why it has not been done yet.
  • I have a 925 and believe that GDR2 is better but I don't know why we can't have access to our own files instead of the OS trying to guess what files are important to us!!
  • the problem is for us 720 users who have less internal memory, 2-3 gb of others is a big problem . If installing apps and storaging things in external sd card was possible then we wudnt have this problem . We dont mind if there are loads of temporary file in external sd .
  • If I hard reset my phone.....will that free up alot if my other storage issue???
  • Looks like two people did reply to my question earlier......thanks
  • My other storage is 3.71 gb on my Lumia 920. But this is a relieve to hear someone address this issue.
  • Yet iOS and Droid don't have the Other problem, with no loss of functionality compared to WP. Why is this?
  • My Lumia 720 is running with just 174 MB of Free space because my Other storage reads at 3 GB from Nokia's Storage Check.
  • If I knew this OS is built in this way, I would have never bought this phone in first place.
  • My wife hsa the 8S, and it's got just MB of space left, even with no maps and now very few apps. Is there any way to install the update the way it is, or does she have to hard reset it first?
  • Plz say that this fix will be released for #wp7 too.
  • This "other" bug fix will not be for Windows Phone 7 as the Windows CE kernel is optimized for devices with minimal storage, which means Zune can help clear the "other" folder to free up space and restrict the folder's space usage in your phone. Windows Phone 8 uses the same kernel that Win2000 to Win8 uses, the NT hybrid kernel, which means data is stored, copied and deleted at a fast and quick dynamic pace. And that led to the "other" folder in a WP8 phone to store more data and the phone being unable to delete most of the data out without a proper fix or a proper function in the Windows Phone app for desktop.
  • My Lumia 928 is at 7.35 Gb in other when viewing phone storage in settings but shows 2.1 GB in Nokia's Storage Check app. I hope this is fixed. I have not  done a hard reset.
  • Too bad you can't utilize the SD storage better. We can appropriate up to 64G of "other storage" and keep things we want "like email attachments" there. Dang, my old Dell Axim used to let me install apps and store files on the CF or the SD card, why not the "smart phone"???
  • My Lumia 720 has 2GB of other storage.
  • I have Amber, 8.0.10327.77 @ my Lumia 820. Other storge size is 1.3Gb... It was few weeks ago right after re-flasing OS much smaller. B4 Amber it was more than 2Gb and it was growing all the time. Now it seems to be stopped to 1.3Gb...
    I have now 600Mb free. But anyway memory handling is not the most effective. Memory is wasted following way:
    Apps: 3.1Gb
    OS: 1.9Gb
    Other: 1.3Gb
    Media and Files: 1.8Gb, what's that all my images & videos are stored into SD-card???
    And also storage checker says that memory size is 7.3Gb. Where are missing 700Mb of 8Gb as the device is been sold???
  • Agreed to al the discussions going on related to storage. There's only one Simple  way out. Nokia/windows needs to add a functionality to install apps on SD card.
  • Could somebody please help me, i am trying to update my phone. I have this problem with the "other storage", and I've done all i can to make room so i can update my phone, I've deleted every app i can, many contacts, emails, texts, pictures and videos. And still my phone keeps saying i need 80mb to update my phone when out of my effort to make room, i have 253mb. By the way i downloaded the app "shrink storage" and still have no sucess, someone PLEASE HELP ME
  • ISame case with you :(
    but i need 513mb :/
  • My phone is the HTC 8s in relation to my last comment
  • I can't update my phone!:(
    there are 3gb stored in 'others' and i don't know what are those!i have removed other apps then nothing happen .why.?:/
  • hello my personal opinion is that the mic/ft or someone he just want to fixs the problem.I have 920 and i forced to make reset all of my data lost but now everything its ok . The only think now is that i mnot useing it so much. And last was the biggest buying nl920.thanks anyway!
  • I have a Lumia 720, which has an internal storage of 8GB only. I am currently running on GRD2 but when I checked the "Other" category, it still shows 2GB. :O Can you tell me how to get rid of that?