Spring cleaning is a tradition that makes a lot of sense to follow. During winter, you hibernate and close your house up to avoid the icy wind. In spring, the weather gets warmer and you finally have a chance to throw open your windows, air out your place and get rid of all that clutter.
But just because the tradition has its roots in ancient religious practices doesn’t mean you can’t bring it into the digital age by using the season as an excuse to lighten your digital load.
Here are our tips for spring cleaning your smartphone.
Cull your apps
Have a look at your phone screen. Is it littered with apps you’ve never gotten around to using?
Just like sometimes you should donate those shoes you’ve never worn to goodwill, uninstalling unused apps is a great idea. The best way to ensure you only have the apps you need is to organise them into folders. On most phones all that’s needed to create folders is to hold and drag apps together. Then you can rename and edit the folders.
You can have folders for things like ‘travel’, ‘shopping’, ‘life admin’, ‘entertainment’, ‘work’ and ‘games’. If an app doesn’t fit into one of your main categories, you probably don’t need it.
Remember, you can always download it again.
File away those photos
Without even realising it, you can have a lot of files saved on your phone that are taking up valuable space. Large media files are the first place to look if you’d like more space on your device.
Back in the day, you wouldn’t have left piles of your Polaroids on the coffee table because they belonged in an album. Rationalising the photos stored on your phone is a good idea.
Scrolling through your images and deleting all but the best photos will free up so much space. A good place to check first is your file of screenshots. You’re unlikely to need that reference number for a concert ticket booking from 2016 again. Also – do you need 17 photos of your yummy brunch from last year, or just one?
Once you’ve done a high-level check for the photos it’s a good idea to back up what’s left. That way, if you end up needing to delete more at a later date, you know you have them somewhere safe.
If you have an iPhone, here’s how you do it: connect your device to a Wi-Fi network > go to Settings > [your name] and tap iCloud >tap iCloud Backup > tap Back Up Now.
If you have an Android, open the Google Photos app > sign in to your Google Account > at the top, tap Menu > select Settings > Back up and sync.
If you need more help with backing up your device, check out our device guides.
Location, location, location.
Some apps need to know where you are to function. Taxi services, food delivery – apps like this need to know where to pick you up, or where to drop off your food, so allowing them to locate you is fine.
But this is not true of all apps, and location services uses a lot of battery, not to mention it makes sense to only give apps access to the data they really need.
Optimise which apps can use your location on an iPhone by granting permission or denying apps access to your location. Head to your settings > tap privacy > location settings (here you can toggle your location settings on or off completely) > scroll down until you find the application you’re looking for > tap the app > you’ll see two options under the header, “allow location access” > select never or chose to allow location access only while the app is being used.
On an Android it varies but try opening the Settings app and then looking at the Apps section.
What do you do to clean out your phone and keep it running smoothly?
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