Signing Out Doesn't Clear Storage on Phone: Uninstalling + Reinstalling App Required

iNaturalist was taking up obscene amounts of data (30GB) on my phone and I needed to clear the cache, so, following the instructions here:

I logged out and logged back in. This did not clear the cache, the data usage was still high. I also tried resetting my phone, which did nothing.

I was forced to uninstall the app, after logging out, and then reinstall it. This fixed the problem. Then I was able to log back in. I would consider this a workaround, not a solution, because I had to spend quite a lot of time troubleshooting today, searching for the forum posts, following instructions, then trying multiple things.

I also would strongly prefer not to have to log out, as it’s tedious to log back in because my password is long, and I often have to repeat it because I frequently make an error, and I especially don’t want to have to do it twice because it didn’t clear the cache!

Wouldn’t it be simple to make a menu option available that just forces clearing of the cache? This seems particularly valuable because the amount of storage usage by iNaturalist is so high, it is by far the most space usage of any app and the second highest usage after the main camera storage. It would also save a lot of time, like a lot of people seem to have complained about the high usage on the forums over the past few years.

Also, it might be worth enabling some setting that would allow a rolling clearing of the cache, or perhaps an option (set by default?) to delete image files after they are successfully uploaded? Or perhaps mark them for deletion after some time date like 3 months? I can think of a long list of ways that would address the storage issue proactively, without having to require any input from the user.

Running out of storage on your phone can be very problematic. It’s happened to my partner, who has had some critical use of her phone that she needs in the moment, and then her phone runs out of storage and she has to like, rush to clear it, and if you need to do complex troubleshooting, it creates a stressful situation where you’re having to do it under pressure. Since iNaturalist has a way of accumulating such large amounts of storage usage because of taking all the photos, it seems critically important to have the app, by default, proactively manage this stuff, or it will be inconveniencing the user. I am very glad I caught this usage before the storage filled up completely, but I would strongly prefer that I don’t have to think about this stuff, that it’s handled automatically because it’s just one more thing to be worrying about in our overly-complex world.

I am on Android and am using the most recent version of the app although before I uninstalled it it might have been a few days since I updated it.

Are you referring to cache, storage, or both? Did tapping “clear cache” in your phone settings work?

There’s an existing feature request for adding a “clear cache” option within the app itself, though you should be able to go to settings>Apps>iNaturalist>Storage and cache to clear the cache, storage, or both.

Looking through past posts, there are already measures in place to limit and clear the amount of data being stored on the device, including removing full-size photos.

(As far as your long password, password manager apps/software like KeePass definitely come in handy!)


If you continue to have this issue, you can try sending log files (instructions here).

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You should restart the app, egg. rebooting your phone should clean your Android with a rather recent version of the app.

It did not. I both closed the app, and restarted my phone, while logged out, but it did not clear the cache. I had updated my app just about a week ago so it was a fairly recent version of the app.

Is this a very recent version upgrade that only came out in the past few days? I had updated my app very recently, then updated it again today, so unless this was a super recent addition, this seems odd. Like it was still using 30GB of data this morning.

As a side note, I just searched online for an iNaturalist app version history with dates, and I was unable to find one, which is really frustrating. Wouldn’t it be really easy to make that information easily available through a simple web search? Also why doesn’t the play store show that type of information and make it easy to access? You all probably have more influence over the app store than I do, I’m just a little peon and you all are not only developers, but of a prominent and well-respected app.

But it might be nice for there to be an easy-to-access list of the version history, to help troubleshoot stuff like this.

According to this list, 1.24.0 was released Jan 28th, 2022, so like, really long ago. Yet my app was still using 30GB of storage space.

I don’t think I can send log files because I uninstalled the app today, so presumably it purged everything.

Next time you should send the logs with information if the occupied space is userdata or cache. The improvements were released in october 2021, a year a go, not recently.

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