How to clear storage on Xbox One: clearing persistent storage, deleting local saved games and more ways to make space

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As the saying goes: tidy Xbox One, tidy mind. Or, erm, something like that. And, just like clearing out a cluttered cupboard full of old trinkets, giving your favourite console a good old spring clean can free up some precious space.

Even if you're sticking to good old physical media rather than fully downloadable content, you'll still need a fair amount of storage space on your Xbox One’s hard drive for installation files, updates and DLCs – especially for those sprawling, triple-A RPGs.

The storage offered by your Xbox One's internal hard drive is finite – whether it's 500GB or 1TB. So, unless you want to buy an external hard drive, you'll likely get to the point where you'll have to make room for new games. 

Here, we run through some of the options that will allow you to free up space on your Xbox One.

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Delete games and apps

Whether downloaded from the online store or installed from a disc, game files take up space on your hard drive. The bigger the game, the more storage space it’ll take up.

So if your console is clogged up with a bunch of games that you no longer play on a regular basis, getting rid of them could be the easiest way to free up a lot of space quickly. Just follow these simple steps…

  • On the home screen, select the ‘My games & apps’ block.
  • In the sidebar, scroll down to ‘Manage’, then select ‘Storage devices’.
  • Highlight the internal hard drive, then press ‘A’. In the pop-up menu, select ‘Uninstall things’.
  • Check the boxes next to the games/apps you want to remove and then click ‘Remove selected’ on the right of the screen.
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It’s important to remember that removing games from your hard drive won’t get rid of all your hard work. Any saved progress will continue to be stored in the cloud, so if you decide to reinstall the game at any time, you can continue from where you left off. 

READ MORE: How to close all apps and games on Xbox One

Clearing left-over add-ons

Checking your hard drive for add-on game files that are no longer relevant can also help free up space. These could be maps, DLCs or character packs that you’ve previously downloaded for games that you have since removed from your hard drive.

To do this, navigate to the ‘Manage’ section of ‘My games & apps’ as above, then select ‘Free up space’. From here, you can easily uninstall any unwanted leftover add-ons.

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There’s also a ‘Shrinkable games’ option that highlights any games that can be downsized without losing playability – for example, if you’ve downloaded One X-compatible 4K upgrades on your One S.

READ MORE: How to fix an Xbox One controller that won’t sync

Delete local saved games

XGame saves are automatically stored in the cloud, but a copy is also stored ‘locally' (on your hard drive). This is done to speed up loading times, or to store save games temporarily if your console is temporarily offline.

The Xbox One has an option to easily delete all of your local game saves. This will free up storage space and clear any corrupted saves on your console. Don’t worry, these saves will still be stored in the cloud, so the next time you play the game, your save data will resync.

To do this, navigate to the ‘Manage’ menu and select ‘Storage devices’ as above. On the left hand side, there is an option to ‘Clear local saved games’. Click on this – you will be prompted again before the save data deletes.

You can also delete specific game saves by navigating to individual game thumbnails within the ‘My games and apps’ menu and pressing the menu button on your controller (the one with the three horizontal lines). In the pop-up menu, select ‘Manage game and add-ons’, then scroll down to ‘Saved data’. From here, you can delete all of that game’s saves or specific ones.

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Be careful, though – make sure you select ‘Delete from console’ and NOT ‘Delete everywhere’, as you don’t want to accidentally remove your game saves from the cloud, too. 

READ MORE: How to transfer games from an old Xbox One to a new one

Clear persistent data

This is an easy win in terms of freeing up space on your hard drive. The ‘Clear persistent storage' option applies to Blu-ray discs – it’s completely harmless and simply gets rid of leftover junk memory from your system’s cache. To do this, follow the steps below:

  • Press the Xbox button on your controller.
  • In the guide menu, scroll across to ‘System’ then click ‘Settings’.
  • Scroll down to ‘Devices & streaming’, then select ‘Blu-ray’.
  • Select ‘Persistent storage’ and then click ‘Clear’.
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