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Reclaim lost storage with Shrink Storage for Windows Phone 8

Windows Phone 8 believe it or not isn’t quite perfect. Its close, but things like the other storage issue put a cloud or two over a relatively sunny platform. When high-end devices like the Lumia 925 ship with only 16GB of storage for all your apps, games, and music you expect to utilize it all. The other storage issue has impacted many of you. We’ve heard of future fix coming from Microsoft, but that was last in March we heard. Nokia took matters into their own hand and released Storage Check to temporarily help Lumia owners and their storage woes. It works by clearing all the temporary files. 

But for everyone else there is Shrink Storage, an app in the Store that helps to give you back some of your limited space. It recently had an update adding some useful new features. Let’s check it out.

Quick recap. The Other Storage issue is something that has been an Achilles heel for Windows Phone 8. Go to your settings then to phone storage. This is where you can see how quickly how much storage you have on your phone and microSD card. Odds are you don’t have a microSD card, so just click on phone to get some detail about what is using all the storage. You’ll see music+videos, pictures, apps, other, system, and free space. In Windows Phone 8, the other storage grows until you’re left with no more space. Kind of a pain when you’re on a device with limited storage right?  

Shrink Storage is available for all devices on Windows Phone 8 and comes from developer Manu Bauer. Your mileage may vary from device to device, but overall a lot of you in our Forums seem to see success with freeing up storage on your device. Same goes for users in the Store, it currently has about 306 reviews averaging 4 stars out of 5. We tried it ourselves and only freed up 40MB in "other". Again, this will vary between all of you. 

The app works to reduce storage using the following trick. It fills up your internal storage completely. After that you’ll restart your phone and click on clean phone storage within the app. For quite a number of readers this will free up space on the phone. Again, it works for some and doesn’t for others. When it works the amount it frees up varies.

A new feature in the app Shrink Storage is the “Control Mode”. With this you’re able to protect your device from unwanted storage growth in the “other” section. Using the app you can allocate an amount in your storage and block it from that growth. When you need to use that blocked/reserved space on your device for a new game you’ll just go into Shrink Storage and free up the storage you need for whatever you’re installing.

This isn’t the most elegant solution for addressing the other storage issue, but it’s one of the best available to many of you right now. Especially those of you on non-Lumia devices that haven’t seen much support from your OEMs with this issue.

Shrink Storage is free for Windows Phone 8 users (it wouldn’t do you any good on WP7.x so don’t even complain about it). You can grab it here in the Store, use the QR code below, or swipe to the right in our app.

Thanks for the tip Shahid!

  • Meh, freed me around 200MB other storage. But better than nothing. Now I can update my emails at least.
  • It dosent work for me for my Nokia Lumia 820.. I have tried it like 100 times.. I cant even check my emails anymore.. I am using laptop to check my mails and phone to make phone calls.. which is stupid. 
    I dont know why I paid so much money for this 'smartphone' when I cant even check my emails on it.. a basic function... I dont want any games, any new apps.. all i want is for me to be able to sync my gmail account. 
  • Hard reset your phone. It will delete all of your other storage. I've done this twice but it's kinda pointless because the other storage will catch up again eventually :\
  • For a second I thought I was looking at my own screenshot then I noticed you still have 12MB left, I have 612KB lol. This is so disappointing. I'm glad I didn't sell my old android.
  • That 12 MB is coz I uninstalled an app to get some storage to atleast sync my gmail.. i know that too will be gone in about a week or 10 days.. 
    I can hard reset but its just too much hassle.. ! 
    I dont even know who are the people who are cheering the new HALO game release this week?? They all must be absolutely new buyers of WP.. cos any one who has a month old WP cannot install that game even for DEMO cos of other storage problem..
    Whats the point in realeasing these new apps and games when noone can use it?I mean not even that JOE BilFORE or the game developers or the guys at Nokia, unless they keep hard reseting their WPhones everytime a new game is released to test it.
  • Those people are 9xx owners, they have 30GB of internal memory to waste, it'd probably take em like a year to run out of storage. And hard reseting isn't that bad if you don't have any games installed. You should probably do it.
  • Y is your media storage at 3.6GB...????you do know that NL 820 has  MicroSD card slot with support for 64GB cards rite.......and that you can store all your multimedia, including photo's, video's, songs etc. on the card freeing up ur phone memory RITE...!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • I have all my pics, vedios and music stored in SD Card itself.. that 3.6 GB of media is what is the 'other storage' problem... I dont even have backup to skydrive and shi* .. i used to watch a lot of youtube vedios (mainly documentaries on warring countries, the unjustice in Syria by Nusra front and the double sided face and backstabbing by Pakistan on war on terror) etc.. so I guess it cached all those vedios in other storage and i cant remove it unless i do hard reset.. 
  • That's the other storage. It shows up like that in the storage check app by Nokia, even if you don't have any pics, music or videos in your phone.
  • As soon as I realized this was not a sporadic problem. I started downloading game for MBs I'll never play just so it will consume all data space other than Other. When space is needed just delete games one by one. (rate games before you delete)
  • Why Microsoft has taken this long to address this issue is mind-boggling. 
  • They just really don't seem to care.
  • This is a carrier issue, ie. lacking the motiviation to test and push updates created by MS to the devices more frequently.  
  • how so?  nowhere has MS even confirmed a fix is available and that the hold up is with carriers testing and pushing the update to applicable devices.
  • I was thinking the same thing, how the heck is this a carrier issue, Nokia's storage check doesn't even truly fix this.... this is an OS issue, and I doubt that other storage is filling up with non-temp and system files... this is silly that there is no fix, but wiping the phone, which they don't even have a good back up option for 3rd party apps, we lose alot of data with those and games
  • so what about the unlocked devices?
  • +1
  • Uhm...
  • Its a Microsoft issue, they should have decided to push updates directly to devices like they do with Windows 8 and not go through this whole bullshit carrier testing crap with the carriers having the ability to block updates.
    If Microsoft does not take full ownership and responsibility over updates its going to kill WP, but doesn't look like they care. I still haven't got WP7.8 update for my old Samsung Focus on ATT. (and for the smart ass out there, yeah I know you can do unofficial update hack to 7.8, but I want an official update from Microsoft).
  • I have an hd7 that I used that "hack" to get 7.8. It IS the actual files from MS. Not all phones got the update and that is the only way.
  • Agreed, My Focus is sitting on the side waiting for an official update. I still use it for apps and games, whcih have not appeared on WP8, as of yet.
  • Why should the guys giving me internet access care about OS updates?
    That's Microsoft's job, not theirs.
  • its crazy to me, they have to know about it, have they offered any other solutions for the "other" storage
  • Joe Belifore tweeted a while back that turning off Auto Upload to Skydrive helped. I never tried, though. (haven't ever had an other storage problem).
  • my SkyDrive uploads have been off since he tweeted that, so where is ur other storage? my phone has been reset twice to get rid of it... I can't find the issue, I wonder which apps are the culprit,
  • My other storage is sitting at 1.4gb
  • My other storage is at 7 gigs, and this is on the 8x with no SD card option. I don't want to reset because I want to keep the good YouTube app, so now I just use my phone like its a dumb phone out of fear of the other growing until there is a real fix.
  • Turned off auto upload and a few other settings. Save pictures and video to my SD card. Still have 1.63gb in other storage.
  • as far as i know is this a problem in the windows phone SDK an therefore even if Microsoft fixed the relevant functions developers would have to recompile their apps against the new SDK
  • Make sure its not your music being put into the 'other' section. Happens to me sometimes. I ended discovering about 4 gigs of it was music back on my old trophy once.
  • Not the case, at least for me. I save my music to a micro SD card...the "other" 1.4 GB is in the phone's storage, not the SD card's.
  • My other shows as 4.1GB under the Microsoft phone storage settings. It shows as 1.7GB under the Nokia storage check. Not quite sure why they show different values.
  • am I the only one that thinks this "other" storage problem is not getting enough press?
  • Right there with you buddy. I love WP8, but there are just a few minor things keeping it from being Perfect (In my eyes)
  • me too, i campaign for WP all the time, this is one thing that speaks more about the support to me tho, regardless if the number of people that purchase the device, there are still people that purchased them, and this has been an issue from day 1
  • Totally agree
  • I would never leave Windows Phone however this issue infuruates me to no end. I should be able to do what I want with non system related resources. I will never make the mistake of buying a lower tier Windows Phone again, not that I had a choice with my L822. I also will be switching to AT&T after my contract expires. Exclusive (non-global) handsets means waiting for updates, even on a Nokia handset. L920 owners have had the storage fix fore a while, no such luck for Verizon 928 and 822.
  • I feel u, I'm an 810 owner, so I really feel the burn, we did get that portico quik tho, I thought that was a good sign initially
  • What is the fix that the L920 owners have?. I have not seen this mentioned anywhere.
  • Because a fix does not exist.
  • its not a real fix but there's a Nokia app called storage check that shows up in the settings, it helps clear temp storage...
  • I have the 928 on Verizon and I have the Lumia Storage Check app.  It's not "lower tier" Windows Phones that's the problem, it's just timing.  Storage Check came out later than the 822, so the 822 hasn't seen the update with it included yet.  But it will.  The 928 has it because it came out after the Storage Check app was released.
    Regardless, in my opinion, it doesn't get rid of Other.  It clears Temporary file, and not even those that well. 
    My Temp files was 1 GB just now.  I pushed the "clear" button and now it's 703 MB. 
    What I can't figure out is exactly what "Other" I have.  If I go into Settings -> Phone Storage, it shows 3.80 GB of Other.  If I go into the Lumia Storage Check app, it shows 1.4 GB of Other.
    But everything seems off in the Storage Check app.  Maps shows I have 316 MB taken up.  But I check which maps I have, I've only got one downloaded and it's 77.9 MB. 
  • The 928 has the storage check management tool from Nokia that other phones will be getting with the Amber update.  In settings scroll down to 'Storage Check'.
    Posting in case 928 users didn't realize this feature was there, since it is one of the 'early' features on the 928 even though it doesn't have the GDR2 or Amber update.
  • Other Nokia phones have had this for a while now. It attempts to clear out he Temp Files, just like this app, but it does not clear them all.
  • +1
  • It really makes Microsoft look like a bunch of amateurs, after more than 30 years.
    As much as I like the concept of WP the iP5s release will probably be a bye bye for me.
  • WSJ and NYT should release a front page article warning people from buying WP8 devices and expose this virus to every other person who is considering buying a WP.
  • Still no luck for the EOL T-Mo 810 ¬_¬.. I should've stuck to my 710 and waited for my Surface phone like I originally had planned. Why?!??!
  • Because there isn't going to be one.
  • ha!
  • One of the reasons I'm still on WP7.8 is this issue.  On my 16GB Quantum I have about 100MB left and no room to spare.  I really want the 1020, but I'll be damned if I buy a new phone that comes with a 9-month-old bug.  GDR2 has brought no relief, so I guess the wait continues until at least GDR3.  I will definitely consider alternatives until then.
  • I've found this app clears very little Try Storage Cleaner, removes a lot more
  • i found storage cleaner too. it seems to clean more, as well as has a nicer interface, and better tile (icon) as well. For some reason people will swear by Shrink Storage though.
  • Shrink storage only cleaned 41mb... They I did storage cleaner and it got rid of 2.9gb!
  • Is the "other storage" issue fixed in GDR2???
  • No
  • No offense, Sam, because I know you mean well, but this is old news. I had Shrink Storage on my 810, but it didn't do much. Freed up a little space for a short time, then nothing. Phone Storage Cleanup (now simply Storage Cleanup) did a better job, but even that stopped doing a whole lot. Between the two, though, I think the latter is a better option.
  • The update is news, particularly the block storage functionality
  • yea, I was kinda irked when I saw this article for that same reason... it def doesn't free enough
  • I have Unbranded Samsung Ativ S with Straighttalk carrier. This App WORKS... for me, freed up 1.54GB on my phone. Yey now I have 72GB of storage on my phone.
  • Yes the app is old but it was updated today with the new feature. That's what the article is about
  • It worked on my sister's lumia 520. 
  • The trick with these apps is after you fill up the phone to restart and just use the phone for a while so it starts deleting files from other storage. Then after using a bunch of apps go back and delete the filled up storage and repeat.
  • this works somewhat, but most apps and internet explorer just become conservative or crash, basically less to non functional,
  • 620, tried now, not helped :'(
  • Storage Cleanup works well enough. After a forced hard reset, Ive been able to keep my 820 (locked to Vodafone, so no Nokia cleaning tool due to not releasing updates, yet) tidy.
  • I have Lumia 820 8 GB. 1.9 GB is taken by system and 1.9 by other out of the available 7.4GB. So i am only left with 4.4 GB which has been filled already by the apps and games.. :-/
  • Shrink Storage has never worked for me.
  • Doesn't work on my Tmobile Lumia 810. What else is new?
  • Hey @revamp I used Storage Cleaner and it actualy WORKED and gave me about 550mbs of space back on my Lumia 810. This should help until(or IF) T-Mobile gives us an updated.
  • @Ray Robertson thanks I tried, did free about 250mb which is better than the other program! I hope even though the EOL'd our product in less than a year they still help us out.
  • Wow. I reset my phone about 2 months ago because I had 14GB of other storage. Now I realize that my other storage is back up to 8GB. An app developer offers a solution and still Microsoft does nothing. Microsoft has problems because they don't fix a serious problem like this.
  • yea, it seems swept under the rug a bit...
  • The 'other storage' is cached content and some temporary files. (Think temp folder + Offline Files) WP8 does manage and delete these 'as needed'; however, it doesn't do this often enough or when a user is trying to gain access to more space through various methods. For most users, this space is large as needed and slims down as needed, and the user never sees or notices the problem. Microsoft is changing how this is handled 'slightly' in GDR2, but have also encouraged Nokia and others to add storage management features so users have complete control.
  • It obviously doesn't manage them as needed if it can grow to 10+ GBs. This is seriously a crazily horrible bug that should have been worked on before Microsoft even thought of releasing Portico.
  • Make sure its not your music being put into the 'other' section. Happens to me sometimes. I ended discovering about 4 gigs of it was music back on my old trophy once.
  • And how did you discover the music was in the "Other" storage figure?
  • I really hope/want people to understand that these apps and Nokia’s Storage Check does not fix the problem. They can only reduce/remove what is available to them, not everything that is taking up space in Other Storage. According to Daniel, Microsoft is fully aware of the “side effect”. It is a problem with how the OS works. This is a quote from Daniel from a news article posted the other day, "According to Microsoft, it's not really a bug but a side effect of album art, skydrive files, video, etc. for their "cloud" services. Be as that may, it's obviously not designed very well, imo, as even I've lost 2.7 GB on my Lumia 720 which is killer on an 8GB device.
    What's worse, there seems to be no way to undo it, even if you remove everything. Only a hard reset fixes it. Hopefully MS will address this but it's not a simple bug to patch but rather part of the way the OS works." This is a huge issue for WP8, and should have been corrected by now. Especially if they plan on making a successful OS for the masses.
  • I have all that stuff turned off and still have over 3 GB in other, so I don't believe microsoft
  • The problem is that the OS is designed around 'offline' access to information, so instead of running up your cellular connection, frequent content is cached to the phone. If you open a PDF from your SkyDrive or a Word Document, this is stored in the 'other storage' cache area. If you 'let' the phone manage this and use the cached content instead of loading the documents on your phone yourself, it works much easier and is seamless. WP7 and WP8 were designed for 'cloud' content and making it as easy and seamless as possible without having to manually manage what content is available offline. Things like album art and other system level 'cached' content should be expected as you would not want your phone downloading this everytime. Removing the Album/songs from your phone does indeed delete the cached album art content. As for the Nokia Storage check, the math works out, as it does clear out the temporary and offline content. As for the hard reset fix, you might want to try storage check and pulling your content off your phone via the Explorer folder access on your PC before you go down the road to hard reset.
  • That sounds nice and all but it does not work the way it should. It is a bug and it is an issue. When people have 4, 5, 9, 12 GB of Other Storage taking up space, there is a problem.
    Nokia's Storage Check, as others have stated does not clear out all of the Temp Files. I still have over 700mb in Temp Files there and 3GB so in other. I have tried everything. The only thing that fixes this is a hard reset, and I have done that 3 or 4 times. That is a fact.
  • Does absolutely nothing for my HTC 8X 8gb that has 3.2gb in Other ... This is a CRITICAL bug. So annoying!
  • For content that is 'cached' in the other, you can go to the documents/files in SkyDrive or Office and if they show they are downloaded, hold press (right click) and tell it to remove the copy from your phone. You can effectively manually go through and manage all offline cached content. However, do realize that your phone is trying to keep stuff you use from the cloud accessible when you are offline. Even for content that changes, only the changes are synced when you open the file, so a 50mb OneNote file for example, will only send the changes in OneNote instead of having to manually manage the file or redownload it every time you open it.
    *runs away from Sam*
  • I don't think WP7 has the "other" storage problem. At leas I didn't experienced it in my former Omnia 7 and Lumia 800.
  • Cleaned over 2 GBs, great tipp ;)
  • Neither this app nor Storage Cleaner worked for me on my Lumia 822.  I ended up doing a factory reset, which is the only way to really clear out the other storage.  After the reset, I had over 12GB of free space before reinstalling my apps.  Just make sure you backup everything first.  Also, if you are using Authenticator (MS Account Two-factor authentication) you need to create an "App Password" to log back into your phone with your MS Account after the reset!  Not knowing/remembering this set me back hours!  It was totally worth doing the reset.  Hopefully now with the GRD2 update coming, and being able to use the Nokia Storage Checker, this will get me by until MS really fixes the issue. 
    I think part of the problem with the other storage is around automatically uploading photos to SkyDrive, and possibly having Photos/videos saved directly to the micro-SD card first.  What I believe is happening is that a copy of the file is saved to the "Other" storage before being uploaded, and it is not cleared out afterward.  I am not sure if this occurs if you save the photos/videos to the phone directly.  I have changed the settings to save the photos to my internal storage first now.  The other problem I believe is with installing Apps and temp file being placed in the Other storage.  I re-installed about 2GB of apps after the reset, but I lost 4GB of free space! 
  • Shrink Storage does not work on my 8x.  I have had much better success with "Storage Cleaner".  It reclaims ~200MB at a time everytime I run it.
  • this didn't work for my nokia 521. :( 
  • Anybody getting issues trying to access the Store? I'm getting an error code c101b000?
  • Yep, same here (Finland)
    Microsoft is aware of the issue:
  • 2GB of apps, pics, and no music or vids, 2GB in maps. 22GB of other storage. This is stupid.
  • HaHa... That is crazy!
  • There are probably a lot of fun things in that 22GB.
  • Can enyone better describe how "Control Mode" works? If you installed this app on a brand new phone and enabled "Control Mode" would there be any noticeable difference in day to day usage of the device?  
  • I'd like a more in-depth explanation too.
    Should I just allocate the storage I'm currently using on my phone (5.86gb/5860mb) to stop growth?
  • Embarrassing
  • What number is true? Different apps report varing levels of  other storage. Windows Phone for Mac reports the highest for me.
  • Because they want your data in the cloud man
  • Shrink storage only recovers 200mb from the 5gb I have lost to other storage on my Samsung Ativ S... Grrrrrrrr any other ideas ?
  • <h3 class="r">
    <span>i think i love&nbsp;<a href="">Storage Cleaner</a></span></h3>
  • This fucking ridiculous Microsoft!
  • I downloaded this app and all it does is make my 822 freeze up and I have to do a hard reboot. For 3.3GB of Other storage, it's not worth it. I have over 6GB of music and videos in my storage. Problem is I stored all my music on the sd card (no videos at all, believe it or not). I took out the card and it still shows m&v at over app shows no music or vids available. So do I do a hard reset and reinstall everything to clear that up and regain over 6GB, then put the sd card back, since this app doesn't do anything useful?
  • Luckily Windows Phone 8 is not updated as often as Windows 8 (weekly). So, this "Other Storage" is like the dreaded WinSxS folder that grow infinitely ? Microsoft never addressed the issue with that damned system folder and no 3rd party solution is available either.
  • 250 MB removed, but 1 GB of "Other" remains. Literally about to throw this phone out the window. 
  • This is a MAJOR bug in WP8. I can't believe MS has not fixed this issue yet.
  • Huh, curious thing... the over 6GB of music and bids doesn't seem to really be there. When I add up my other, apps, etc space, it totals my used space, leaving my unused space, the m&v space is not actually being used, its just a ghost number of allocated space. WTH? Oh well, no hard reset necessary I guess.
  • App did nothing for me.
  • I find Storage Cleaner works much better. Look for it in the store..
  • I have 2.1 Gb of 'other storage' with 700mb of that being 'temp files' not a problem on my 32gb Lumia 920. Use my phone none stop since I got it on pre order. Take a huge amount of photos with 'auto upload' on. No problems with storage limitations.
  • I seem to notice that an app in wp will take up twice as much space when installed compared to android version.
  • I totally love the htc 8s, it feels good in my hand and Windows Phone is a really good OS (if only it was usable with 4gigs). But this "other" folder thing, is driving me crazy. On that particular issue, Microsoft is making a huge mistake by not communicating about it. I totally agree with all previous comment: this is ridiculous. Even if i love WP, it won't wins people's hearts with such bad bugs. It's hard to sell the products to friends without mentioning the drawbacks.
  • This actually worked pretty good for my 810 eariler version was eh. Anyway I had 2.46 gigs and now I have just under one gig 386 to 4.01 storage.