How to Clear OneDrive Cache on iOS (and Why Should You)

OneDrive is a blast to use on iOS. It’s well-designed, syncs files easily, and integrates perfectly with the Files app. And for the most part, OneDrive works without any issues thanks to iOS’s excellent app management capabilities. But just like with any other app, there are times when things turn ugly.

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If Microsoft’s cloud storage starts to function abnormally, you don’t have to take drastic action such as removing and reinstalling the app to set things straight. Instead, all you need to do is to clear the OneDrive cache. So let’s see how and when you should go about doing that.

Clearing the Cache

On every platform, OneDrive caches a certain amount of data locally to speed things up — recently used files, placeholder icons, thumbnails, etc. However, redundant data can often cause the app to become sluggish or malfunction (more on that further below), hence the need to clear the cache. 

Thankfully, the OneDrive app for iOS features a built-in option that lets you do that, but it's somewhat hidden from view. Hence, you need to dive briefly into the OneDrive Settings panel whenever you need to use it.

Note: Clearing the cache doesn’t remove any files that you’ve opted to keep offline.

Step 1: On the OneDrive for iOS app, tap the Profile icon to the upper-left corner of the screen.

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Step 2: On the menu that shows up, tap Settings.

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Step 3: Scroll down to the More section, and then tap Advanced.

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Step 4: Tap Clear Cache. You should be greeted with a spinning circle to indicate that the OneDrive is clearing the cache. Once it disappears, you’ve successfully removed the cache.

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Head back, and you should find a much stable and smooth experience with the OneDrive app.

Why You Need to Clear the Cache

Usually, iOS is pretty adept at managing the caches of all installed apps — hence the reason why it doesn’t feature a system-based manual cache-clearing mechanism like on Android. However, that doesn't mean your apps function in top shape all the time. Below are a handful of OneDrive-related issues that a good cache-clearing should resolve.

OneDrive Uses Too Much Space

One of the prime reasons to clear the OneDrive cache occurs when the app starts to use too much space. Provided that you haven’t chosen to keep too many large files offline, OneDrive occupying multiple gigabytes on your iPhone or iPad usually indicates a cache storage that has gone out of control.

You can check how much space OneDrive occupies by opening the iOS Settings app, and then tapping General -> iPhone/iPad Storage -> OneDrive.

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If the Documents & Data section displays a huge figure, then clear the OneDrive cache and things should be back to normal.

Files Don’t Upload

Another reason why you may want to clear the OneDrive cache is when certain files fail to upload correctly, or loops endlessly during the Uploading phase. A clean cache presents a fresh slate that OneDrive can then begin to work with, and any adamant files should upload without issue.

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Images Don’t Sync

OneDrive’s Camera Upload feature presents an alternate way to back up and sync photos, especially if dealing with iCloud confuses you. Like when running into issues during regular file uploads, there comes that time when your photos fail to sync. Clear the OneDrive cache, and you should be good to go.

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OneDrive Crashes Frequently

That should rarely happen, but if OneDrive starts to crash all too often on your iPhone or iPad, then clearing the cache should remove any outdated files and redundant forms of data causing the issue.

Can’t Store Files Offline

If OneDrive fails to honor a request to keep a file offline and gets stuck while downloading, that’s another reason to clear the cache. 

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Also, consider doing it for instances when you cannot open files stored on OneDrive directly from inside another app.

Note: As mentioned earlier, clearing the OneDrive cache won't remove any files stored offline. If you are looking for a way to get rid of them, you need to use the Remove From Offline option after tapping the Ellipsis (three-dot) icon for each downloaded file.

Files App Changes Don't Carry Over

Have you added OneDrive as a storage location to the Files app? If you don't find any changes to files and folders done through the Files app reflected within the OneDrive app, clearing the cache should force the latter to update itself.

Don’t Overdo It

So, that's how you should go about clearing the cache on OneDrive for iOS. But remember — don’t do it just for the sake of it. You are slowing down the app if you resort to tapping that Clear Cache option all the time. 

Let iOS do its magic at managing the OneDrive cache automatically, and take action yourself only when things start to get tricky.

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Dilum Senevirathne has written about tech and finance for over five years. When he isn’t messing around with the latest iOS apps, you can catch him tweaking a collection of IoT gadgets. Dilum is a management accounting student and a prospective charterholder.