While TikTok can be a lot of fun and provides entertainment for millions of people, one common complaint about the app is that it takes up a lot of storage space on phones.
For users with phones that have limited storage, all those TikTok videos, images, and cache files can quickly eat up gigabytes of space.
In this post, we’ll take a look at why exactly TikTok requires so much storage capacity, some ways to clear up space, and tips for managing your TikTok storage usage.
Here are some reasons why TikTok is taking up so much storage on your iPhone or Android phone.
1. Downloaded Videos Are Taking Up Space
You download a lot of videos directly within the TikTok app, which can take up a ton of storage space on your iPhone or Android.
The app makes it so easy to download TikTok videos with just a quick tap, and with such an endless feed of fun videos, it’s no wonder your downloaded video library builds up over time without you even realizing it.
Most people don’t think about how quickly storage gets eaten up by keeping all those HD videos on their phone.
But those downloaded TikTok videos can quickly add up to gigabytes of data being stored right on your device.
So if you notice TikTok taking up a lot of storage, check your “Downloaded videos” section in the app and consider deleting videos you no longer need to free up space.
Maintaining and clearing out that downloaded video cache is an important routine to get into, especially if you’re a frequent TikTok user with limited phone storage.
2. Temporary Files
In addition to downloaded videos, another reason why TikTok can take up a lot of your storage is temporary files that build up over time.
As you scroll through your TikTok feed, the app is constantly caching videos, images, and other data to make the experience quick and seamless.
But that temporary cache of data can grow quite large, even if you don’t download any videos intentionally. TikTok may save portions of videos in temporary folders as you watch them to reduce loading times.
Over days and weeks of using TikTok, these cached temporary files can really accumulate and eat up your device’s storage if not cleared out. So make sure to check your device storage settings and clear out the TikTok temporary data and cache regularly.
Removing those unnecessary temporary TikTok files can potentially free up a lot of storage space without losing anything important.
3. TikTok App Updates
Don’t underestimate how much storage space all the TikTok app updates can slowly eat up over time. As one of the most frequently updated apps, TikTok is regularly releasing new versions and bug fixes.
Each update means the app file size itself grows as new features and code get added in. Over months of use, these updates can really accumulate and result in the TikTok app taking up way more storage space than it did originally.
So even if you diligently clear out downloaded videos and temporary files, the baseline TikTok app continues to grow and occupy more local storage.
Checking how much total storage the core TikTok app takes up and considering clearing data/cache after big updates can help minimize this app “bloat” effect.
Keeping up with TikTok’s release notes can give you a heads up about an upcoming major update that will likely increase the app’s storage needs.
4. High-Quality Videos
The high visual quality of TikTok videos is part of what makes the app so appealing, but it also means each video can take up a lot of storage space on your device. TikTok videos are typically captured in HD quality with resolution up to 1080p.
And the default save settings when you download a video is often high resolution too. Just a few minutes of 1080p TikTok footage can easily be over 100MB. So if you tend to download videos frequently in the highest quality, your storage can fill up incredibly fast.
One way to help reduce TikTok’s storage impact is to lower the video quality settings within the app, only downloading content in a resolution that’s sufficient for your needs.
While you may sacrifice some video fidelity, dropping to 720p or even 480p resolution can dramatically shrink file sizes while still being perfectly watchable on a smartphone screen.
Being selective about which videos are worth saving in full HD can go a long way in optimizing your storage.
5. User-Generated Content
A core aspect of TikTok is the massive amount of user-generated content that gets uploaded and shared through the platform.
This constant influx of new videos and content is a major driver of your storage needs. Not only are you consuming and downloading more videos, you are also creating your own.
Shooting, editing and uploading TikTok videos directly through the app takes up local storage in the process. The impact can build up especially if you’re an active content creator on TikTok who films multiple videos in a session.
All those raw video outtakes and drafts being stored temporarily can contribute significantly to storage creep over time. Regularly clearing your TikTok drafts and camera roll of unused footage can help minimize the storage strain from creating your own content.
Being conscious of how much original content you generate through TikTok and managing that footage is key to balancing your storage.
6. TikTok App Cache
One of the more technical reasons TikTok demands substantial storage space is its use of a data cache. This cache allows the app to temporarily store videos, images, and other media on your device to improve load times and reduce network data usage.
However, if not managed properly, this TikTok cache can grow quite large as more content gets added to it over time. Videos you’ve already watched or scrolled past remain cached locally on your device storage, which can quickly add up with regular TikTok browsing habits.
Clearing out the TikTok cache in your device settings or within the app itself forces this temporary content to be deleted and can potentially free up a significant amount of storage.
Getting into the habit of periodically wiping the TikTok cache helps prevent it from endlessly building up and consuming your phone’s storage capacity in the background.
7. High-Resolution Thumbnails
In addition to full videos, even the thumbnails in your TikTok feed can accumulate and take up noticeable storage over time.
While each individual thumbnail image is small, the resolution of TikTok’s thumbnail previews is optimized for crisp viewing on high-definition smartphone screens.
This means each thumbnail file is much larger than you would expect from a tiny image preview. With hundreds or even thousands of TikTok videos being scrolled through, those hi-res thumbnails really add up byte-by-byte.
Much of the thumbnail cache gets stored temporarily by TikTok to speed up load times. But that can still inflate the app’s storage footprint considerably.
Reducing thumbnail image quality in the app settings can help constrain their individual file sizes. Those measures can effectively minimize the gradual storage creep from TikTok’s reliance on visually appealing thumbnails.
8. Editing Tools
TikTok has a robust built-in editing suite that allows users to customize videos with effects, filters, text overlays, soundtracks and more.
However, all of those editing options also take up additional storage space. When applying edits and effects within TikTok, the app is creating additional copies of your videos with the overlays and filters baked in.
Over time, keeping all of those edited clips and alternate versions can inflate the storage footprint considerably. The same goes for draft videos that accumulate various unfinished edits before posting the final cut.
As a TikTok content creator, regularly clearing your editing timeline and unused alternative versions is important.
Also, consider carefully when to apply edits within TikTok versus using more storage-friendly external editing apps in some cases. Taking full advantage of TikTok’s onboard editing tools has a cost when it comes to maximizing your device storage.
9. User Data
Beyond just media content, the user data that TikTok collects and stores also adds to its storage demands. This includes information like your viewed/liked videos, account details, contacts, analytics data and more.
Over time as you engage with more content and build up your presence on TikTok, the amount of accumulated user data being stored locally can grow substantially.
Much of this data is cached for quicker loading and performance. While necessary for smooth operation, that user data cache eventually needs to be cleared out to free up storage capacity.
Make sure to occasionally check on the TikTok app size related to data and documents, and clear it out if it seems bloated. Also minimizing connected services like contacts and linking social media accounts can reduce the amount of user data TikTok pulls in and retains.
Being proactive about minimizing unneeded user data can help reduceTikTok’s storage space on your phone.
10. Your Watch History
Your TikTok watch history can take up more and more local storage in the app over time as well.
As you scroll through your For You feed and watch videos, TikTok logs information about the content you view in order to personalize recommendations and track analytics.
This growing repository of watch history data being passively stored in the background can gradually inflate the app’s storage footprint. Make sure to periodically clear your TikTok watch history to wipe this tracked data and free up space.
You can do this within your account settings or by clearing the app cache and data. Also, tailoring your watch experience to minimize content that doesn’t interest you can help reduce unimportant watch history from being logged and stored indefinitely.
It’s interesting that one of the most effective ways to reduce your TikTok storage space is to clear your watch history.
11. TikTok App Size
At its core, the baseline size of the TikTok app itself is a major storage factor. As one of the most frequently updated apps with new features added regularly, the TikTok app file size is continuously increasing with each update.
What starts out as an app taking up a hundred megabytes or so of storage can easily grow to over a gigabyte after months of updates. Even if you diligently manage your TikTok media, downloads, and data, that underlying app size still gradually balloons up.
Checking how much total storage the TikTok app occupies after major updates and clearing the cache can help minimize this app bloat.
Also disabling auto-update and selectively upgrading TikTok only when needed prevents each and every update from accumulating. Being aware of the baseline TikTok app size and managing it is key to optimizing storage efficiency long-term.
Another effective solution here is to install TikTok Lite, the lightweight version of TikTok.