Do you watch a lot of videos on TikTok, and wonder if they end up getting stored on your phone?
TikTok can start taking up quite a bit of space if you’re not careful, so understanding how videos are saved can be useful for managing your storage.
In this article, I’ll be covering when TikTok saves videos, and how to clear up space that TikTok is using.
Let’s get to it!
Does TikTok Store The Videos You Watch?
Yes and no. Regular TikTok videos that you view on your Following and For You pages are not permanently saved or stored on your phone.
However, they are temporarily downloaded in order for you to view them. This after all is how streaming works – content is temporarily downloaded and stored on your device, then immediately deleted when you’re done watching it.
The way TikTok works is actually quite interesting.
In order to keep videos appearing like they are loading fast, TikTok will actually download the next few video in advance before you actually switch to them.
This way, it’s immediately available to view without you having to wait for it to buffer.
This can be confirmed by turning your phone on airplane mode and disconnecting it from the internet while watching TikTok.
The video that you are currently watching will continue to play, despite the fact that you no longer have an internet connection. Additionally, the next few videos will play as well, despite the fact that you have no internet connection!
In my testing, I was able to load the next 5 videos and watch them all the way through before TikTok was no longer able to show more. This exact number may vary however depending on how long you used TikTok before disconnecting from the internet, the total size of the upcoming videos, and your internet speed.
Long story short, TikTok does not save videos to your phone permanently. However, they will temporarily download videos that are about to appear on your feed, to help speed up loading times.
What Videos Are Saved?
So, we now know that the regular videos you view in your TikTok feeds are not saved. But are there any videos that are saved and stored on your phone permanently?
It turns out, there are! However only two categories of videos are actually stored.
The first is your TikTok drafts. Unlike regular videos you publish on your page, drafts are not actually uploaded to TikTok’s servers.
This means that they instead stay entirely on your phone, and can not be seen by others. It’s also why if you log into TikTok on a different device, your drafts will not be there.
Additionally, this is why deleting the TikTok app also deletes your drafts – since deleting the app also deletes all data tied to the app, your drafts will unfortunately be gone if you delete the app, even if you immediately reinstall it.
The second type of videos that are saved are the ones you specifically choose to download, by pressing on the share button and then selecting ‘Save video.’
These videos are downloaded to your phone’s camera roll or photos app, and will remain there even if you delete TikTok in the future.
What TikTok Videos Are Not Saved?
Before we discuss how to free up space that TikTok is using, let’s cover the exact videos that are NOT saved to your phone:
- Videos that appear on your feed.
- Videos that you receive in messages or DMs.
- LIVE videos.
- Videos you’ve published (including previous drafts, which are removed from your phone after publishing.)
- Videos that are shared with you, or that you’ve shared with others.
- TikTok stories.
- Videos that you’re tagged in.
- Everything else except videos you’ve chosen to save, or drafts.
Because these videos are not saved to your phone, you may wish to manually save them if they are important to you.
After all, the creator could eventually take them down, or they could get deleted in the future!
TikTok does not notify for screen recordings or screenshots, so this option can work even if the ‘Save video’ button is gone.
How To Free Up Space With TikTok
When it comes to deleting the space that TikTok takes up on your phone, you have two options.
The first is to delete drafts you no longer need, or publish them to your page – even privately. As mentioned earlier, drafts are saved entirely on your phone, so they take up a considerable amount of space – especially if you have a lot of them.
The second way to free up space that TikTok is using is to clear TikTok’s cache.
For the most part, videos that you watch on TikTok are not saved to your phone permanently. While they are temporarily downloaded, this is a good thing, as it helps videos load faster as you scroll.
However, your drafts as well as videos you specifically choose to save will take up space on your phone.
I hope that this article has answered all of your questions. If you have any others, please ask them using the comment form below.
Wishing you the best,
– James McAllister