There’s no better time to bring out the virtual feather duster and give your phone a good clean up. It’ll speed up your phone and give it a new lease of life, ready to take on 2017.

The silly season may be behind us, but the evidence is all over our phones. After playing all the best games and face-swapping the night away with family, friends and various household items, you might find your phone storage has taken a serious hit.

Here’s where to start your investigation into where you data has been eaten away.

1. Identify the key suspects

If you’ve got apps that are strictly Christmas holiday use only, these can be the first to go. Just delete as normal and you’re already on your way to a bit more breathing space. This is also a great time to see if there are any additional apps you can live without.

How to: Access the Settings app on your phone.

iPhone: Settings > General > Storage and iCloud Usage > Manage Storage > Manage Storage (under Storage, not iCloud)

Android: Settings > Storage and USB

This will give you a list of all the apps on your phone and how much storage each is using. Be brutal and delete all apps you rarely use that are taking up more than 300MB. You can always re-download them if you miss any too much!

2. Media could be the worst offender

Media (like songs, photos, videos) are often the main culprit when it comes to phone storage. It’s so easy to snap away and end up with hundreds of images that look very similar or aren’t great quality. It may take a while, but going through your media files and keeping only the best pics and vids can free up a lot of storage.

If you’re still in need of precious megabytes, consider moving media to the cloud. Apps like Google Drive, Dropbox, One Drive and Flickr can be used to automatically upload images, saving much needed space.

TIP: If you’re a movie director in the making and have videos galore taking up phone storage real estate, consider transferring them to your computer or uploading to YouTube.

3. Cross-examine files and folders

When you’ve dealt with the bulk of the data hoarders, it’s time to turn your attention to files and folders within everyday apps. For iPhone, under Settings again, tap each app to see how much space is being used by files stored within the app. For Android users, a third party app like DiskUsage is an easy way to view and delete files that are chewing away at your storage capacity.

You may find that hundreds of text messages and emails are all backed up and stored on your phone, so deleting these will free up a significant amount of storage. Podcast subscriptions are also a key offender when it comes to the storage black hole. Now might be a good time to unsubscribe from all your Bachelor recap podcasts and replace them with some of this podcast gold!

4. Still short on bytes? Bring in a key defendant

If you have an Android phone, checking to see if you can simply pop in a micro SD with a larger capacity saves time and is relatively inexpensive.

If you’re always short on space, it sounds obvious, but buying a phone with a larger storage capacity may be worth the upfront cost next time you upgrade.

5. Break out another app

If you’re struggling with ploughing through phone files and apps, you can download another app to help. One example is iMyPhone Umate that scans your phone and tells you how much space you could claw back by clearing junk, backing up, deleting and compressing.

There are lots of small ways to make a difference to your available phone storage. The basic tricks above will help to speed up your phone and help get you organised – tidy phone, tidy mind! For the final piece of the puzzle, make sure you have a great SIM-only mobile plan with heaps of data so you’re ready for all the great features and apps to come in 2017.

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