Limit Cache Size or Allow Cache Clearing for Apps

The iPhone and I believe also the Android app cache all your pictures from your observations (in addition to saving the photos on your photo roll). For casual users that’s no big deal but for ‘power users’ the app can quickly swell to several gigabites in size. Currently the only way to clear the cache is to sign out then back in, or delete and re-install the app. This works OK once you know the trick, but causes confusing for new users. Also, if you are in the field and can’t upload first, you can’t do this without losing un-uploaded observations.

I personally don’t have any use for the caching, and would just turn it off if there were an option - the photo is also saved on the photo roll and can be re-downloaded. However, a button to clear the photo cache, or an upper limit beyond which it deletes older photos from the cache, could each solve the problem as well. It should work when not in cell reception, for those cases you unexpectedly exceed your phone’s storage on an extra productive field day.

Agreed! I slowed my phone (Android) to an absolute crawl (plus had issues with it crashing repeatedly) before I figured this out.


I had no idea about the caching. I don’t often use the app for submissions, but we’re about to do a BioBlitz and I was going to do a workshop specifically encouraging people to do that. I will certainly mention clearing out the cache; thanks for the tip!

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A clear cache button on the iPhone would be nice but if it is only for caching photos it can be removed as wel… i upload the photo which can some takes 10 minutes immediately after adding, so a cache has no benefits but only drawbacks because the app starts complaining and after some time stops working.
To be honest i think the cache does not work at all. If i add photos and remove the photo from the filmrole the whole app gets stuck and stopw working.
So i am wondering if there is any benefit… but the app is never bigger thant 1.5GB…often my spare room is less than 700MB beccause another app also has the habit to grow HUGE…and has the big draw back that is does not give back space.

Is there a huge difference between anroid an iphone apps ?

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Strongly support a cache-clearing option. I’m continually bumping into the upper limit of my storage and having iNat take up 2 gigs is not helping.


Does one have to log out and log back in? Can’t the cache be cleared, at least in Android, from the App info section of the system settings? Screenshot_20190412-103852|250x500

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I’ve been having some storage problems on my phone lately, and upon looking into it, iNat is definitely one of the key factors. My photos app is at 11.61 GB (>4000 photos), and iNat is at 8.84GB. My next largest app is Merlin at 483.9 MB, which shows how big iNat is in comparison. A cache clear feature would really help.


in the mean time, upload everything and then log out then back in again. that will solve that problem immediately. (that and downloading from the photos. I wish we could choose the option to not have the photos save on the phone, actually)


Added issues for a cache-clearing function to both iOS and Android.


I figured I should rather post in this topic rather than starting new one.

For Android app the problem is with personal data storage, rather than cache, 'cause app already allows clearing cache. It clogs up quite fast, as can be seen from the first two screenshots, and the only way to deal with this right now is to clear personal data and log into app again.

There’s this neat feature in Telegram IM/social networking app, where both clearing cache and personal data is availiable (3rd screenshot). Clearing personal data allows to clear messages, images or any other downloaded media, which can be re-downloaded again when needed. Woulda been nice to have something like that in iNat app.

S90608-184915 S90608-185117

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The way data gets cached in Android is different than how it works in iOS. In Android, we clear out the app’s local cache of observation photos taken inside the app every time “My Observations” gets loaded and you have an Internet connection, which is pretty frequently. What this means is that we delete the full-size image file the app was holding on to and replace it with a cached version of a smaller version of the image from the website.

That image cache might be filling up, but adding a button to clear it out in the Android would be kind of redundant b/c the operating system already provides a way to clear out an app’s cache. For those of you for whom the Android app is using a ton of space (2+ GB?!), does clearing the app’s cache using that method reduce the disk usage (be careful to clear the cache and not the “storage” or I think it will equivalent to signing out)? If that does drastically reduce the amount of space used, is there really a need to implement a “clear cache” button in the app? IMO, an in-app setting to limit the size of the cache might still be useful, but it’s not clear to me from this thread whether people are asking for / voting for a limit or a “clear cache” option.

Clearing storage does actually sign you out of the app, but currently it’s the only way to free up some memory.

IMO limiting cache is a bit of overthinking/working and clearing cache is already an option.

Now that you’ve explained the way Android cache works, i think i figured where’s the root of the problem i’m experiencing lies. I do not take pictures within app - this way is really slow for me, since i tend to capture large volumes of visual information at once while i’m in the field. Instead i upload all that i’ve got from the phone gallery later on at home - and that clogs up not the cache, but app storage.

I’m guessing fellow iNatters who are in this thread do the same? Uploading photos later and not using in-app picture taking.

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Well, there are several reasons the ‘log out’ workaround doesn’t work well.

-you can’t do it without uploading everything. If you encounter a cache issue in the field with lots of observations on your phone, you can’t log out without uploading them which may be undesirable or impossible.

-it deletes all your cached info on projects, etc as well. I don’t want to clear that out, just the photos.

-It generates constant questions from new users since it isn’t intuitive.


Yes, I do this on Android (choose from gallery later, since it gives me more control and time for reflection). I see the unwanted ballooning size effect over time.

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I do understand all your points and i’m all for some work-around. But the problem is not in the cache, or should i rather say the problem is in the way data is cached/stored.

In my first post I’ve suggested the option of clearing database (not erasing it completely) as it is done in Telegram. I’m no programmer/coder, so i’m not even sure if that’s possible.

PS/ i mentioned log-out thing just 'cause it’s currently fine with me and i did not intend to ask to leave it as-is. but currently problem with android is not in the cache ot it’s limits, as far as i can tell.

Seems like there’s a bit of confusion here. I asked

By “that method” I meant tapping the “Clear cache” button on this screen:

Clicking “Clear cache” zeroes out the “Cache” line on that screen for me. It does not sign me out, make it impossible to choose projects while offline, or remove any photos I haven’t uploaded yet (clicking “Clear storage” should do those things, though).

So my question remains: does clicking “Clear cache” solve this problem for you folks? I’m particularly interested in answers from people for whom the app is taking up huge (500+ MB) amounts of space. I want to know whether that storage usage is coming from the “User data” line (app’s database, un-synced photos, etc.) or the “Cache” line (web image cache, etc.). How / if we address these issues depends on us understanding where the bloat is coming from.

kastani, whether you take pictures in the app or import them later doesn’t really matter here. In both situations the app is holding on to a copy of the image file until it can upload it, and in both situations you’re also creating a copy that lives in whatever photo gallery app your camera writes to. To me, your situations sounds more like your camera / gallery apps eating up storage rather than the iNat app. Maybe you don’t have cloud backup turned on?

Space used before and after (in parentheses) clicking “Clear cache”, between brackets after a logout

Username App Version App Data Cache Total # Unuploaded Obs
@bouteloua 1 Android 1.11.24 53 MB
(53 MB)
366 MB
(305 MB)
61 MB
(0 MB)
480 MB
(357 MB)
@bouteloua 2 Android 1.11.24 53 MB
(53 MB)
302 MB
(208 MB)
22 MB
(0 MB)
377 MB
(333 MB)
@jwidness Android 1.11.24 46.57 MB
(46.55 MB)
8.2 MB
(8.19 MB)
330 MB
(0 MB)
384 MB
(54.3 MB)
@clockwood Android 1.11.27 50.05 MB
(50.02 MB)
1.47 GB
(1.47 GB)
409 MB
(0 MB)
1.9 GB
(1.52 GB)
@clay_s The extra line is after logging out. Android 1.12.4 51.45 MB
(51.45 MB)
(51.45 MB)
1.20 GB
(1.20 GB)
(572 MB)
338 MB
(0 MB)
(54.04 MB)
1.59 GB
(1.25 GB)
(678 MB)
@optilete Android 1.12.4 (363) 54.03 MB
( 54.03 MB)
1.95 GB
( 1.95 GB)
269 MB
(0 MB)
2.28 GB
( 2.01 GB)
@optilete Android 1.18.3 (409) 49,89 MB
(49,89 MB)
[49,89 MB]
0,704 GB
( 0,704 GB)
[0,507 GB]
122 MB
(0 MB)
[8,05 MB]
0,869 GB
( 0,754 GB)
( 0,567 GB)

This specific post is a wiki, so anyone can add to it.

Seems it’s not the cache that’s the problem for me :\


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Mine looks about the same, with cache clearing making a relatively small dent, on Android Samsung Galaxy S7.

I have a Moto X4, uses Android One. If you go into “files” there are several option for clearing various cache.