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How to Free Up Space on Your Windows Phone

Nearly everyone has a smartphone these days. Data is constantly travelling around with you – snapping photos on your camera, writing up documents and receiving files. But the problem is that phones only have limited storage and they can’t hold anywhere near as much as your desktop computer.

As such, the time might have come to learn how to free up space on your smartphone. This article will focus on the Windows Phone 8.1 operating system (rather than iOS or Android), but some of the tips herein may apply universally.

The recent Windows 8.1 update offers an improved Storage Sense tool, allowing you to track your handset’s storage. You can use this to uninstall apps, move them to external storage and also change default storage locations. You can access Storage Sense from Settings, or from the App page.

Expand your storage with a microSD card

One of the simplest ways to boost the storage on your phone is to expand the capacity with a microSD card. Some phones can’t support microSD cards, so be sure to check out your user manual first before purchasing. These cards can come in a variety of GB sizes, offering up an ample storage boost.

When you put your new microSD card in the phone, the device will detect it and ask if you want to store your new photos, music and videos to the card by default (rather than the internal storage).

If you’ve got a pre-owned card, you should probably format it first in order to make sure it’s completely wiped and all the storage is available to you. To format the card, select it from Storage Sense and then tap Format SD Card.

Discover what is taking up space

You might be running out of space on your handset, but you’re unsure which data is occupying the most space. To view what’s taking up the space, navigate to Storage Sense and you’ll see how much storage you have left on your internal and external (if available) storage.

Selecting either the phone storage or the microSD card will show you how much data is being used by a variety of categories, like apps and games, music, videos and more. You can then select one of these categories and see what specific pieces of data take up the most space.

For example, if there is a certain app that uses a huge amount of space and you don’t use it anymore, Storage Sense will allow you to uninstall it.

Relocate data to external storage

Once you’ve installed a microSD card and discovered what is taking up space, you can then use Storage Sense to change where certain types of data are stored by default. For example, if you’re constantly downloading new apps then you might want to set these to be stored on your new external storage where the majority of the space is available.

Remove temporary files

The recent update now allows you to select Temporary Files from Storage Space and completely delete them all. These files are ones that have been collected over time, perhaps from browsing the internet or downloading temporary files. They’re stored to try and help speed up things, but chances are you don’t need them. If you’re low on space, just remove.

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