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Spring clean your mobile phone

18 Sep 2014
Mark Headshot


amaysim's digital stuffologist

Just like you would do to your computer every once in a while, cleaning out your mobile is a sure way of keeping everything in order. Here’s how you can spring clean your mobile.

Winter’s finally come to an end and thankfully we can all start thawing out. And with the change of season comes the annual spring clean – whether you’re tackling the office or the house, it’s definitely a step in the right direction for a new season.

But what about spring cleaning your mobile phone? Unused (or underused) apps can eat away your data and take up valuable storage space on your phone – so can photos and videos which would be better stored in some other place like a computer or a Cloud service.

Clear out all unused apps

It’s common practice during spring cleaning season to toss out all the clothes that you haven’t worn in the past year. Well, you should do the same with all the apps on your mobile. If you can’t remember the last time you used an app on your phone, consider deleting it. The same goes for those apps that you’re not that keen on or that you could do without.

And if you’re a bit anxious about deleting paid apps, don’t be – since you’ve paid for them you can download them again without having to fork out any extra cash (just remember that you’ll lose all your saved data in the apps).

If you’ve got an iPhone, just press down on the app you want to delete then tap the cross. For those with an Android smartphone, go to Settings, More and then Application manager. Click on the app and select Uninstall. And if you’ve got a Windows 8 phone, head to App List and tap the apps you want to delete.

Back up photos and videos to make way for more

Photos and videos can take up a heck of a lot of space on your phone. Video files in particular are huge, especially if they’re shot in HD mode, so the best thing to do is to back them up (either to a Cloud service or to your computer) and save the space on your smartphone for new photos.

Photography apps like Instagram will also start making folders in your gallery of all the content you’ve created and uploaded using the app. Those photos and videos in particular you won’t need on your mobile, so make sure you back those up as well then delete them off your phone.

Before you start the back-up process I suggest going through all your photos and videos and deleting the ones that you don’t want. So, if you’ve taken five photos of the same thing only to have picked the best one to upload to Facebook or put through a filter on Instagram, just keep that one and delete the other four – your phone won’t miss them and neither will you.

Deleting your unwanted photos before backing up also means that you’ll use the storage space in your Cloud service or computer wisely. You don’t want to clean up your smartphone only to clutter up something else.

Check out our blog on backing up your mobile for a crash course in, well, backing up your mobile – your phone’s internal storage will thank you.

Use folders for efficiency

The trick with folders is to use them sparingly – creating lots of folders that barely hold anything in them will only take up more storage space and make your phone seem more cluttered than it actually is.

The best thing to do to use folders to organise your apps; keeping similar items together will mean that you can easily find what you’re looking for. For example, if you’re a big Instagrammer and you use third party apps alongside Instagram to edit your photos, it would be good to create a photography folder so that they’re all in one place.

Also, think of other ways to organise your apps in a way that makes sense to you – if you’ve got an Android or Windows phone, you can pin your favourite apps and widgets to the Home screen for easy access. With Windows phones, you can even go a step further and resize your apps’ tiles to make your favourite or most important ones stand out. Anything goes – except more clutter.

Get your phone in tip-top condition with these quick tricks

Here are some extra tips for you to have up your sleeves during the spring cleaning season:

  • Make all updates and upgrades as they become available – that’s for your phone’s operating system as well as all your apps. You lose a lot of your phone’s functionality by not updating it when you can. And besides, who wants to be stuck with out-of-date software on their mobile?
  • Clear your cache on your phone’s web browser just like you would do on your desktop; over time this can take up a fair bit of storage space, so it’s best to clear it every once in a while.
  • Delete old messages you don’t need, call logs and emails – this won’t free up a whole lot of space, but every bit counts. I personally wouldn’t delete any contacts because you never know who you’ll need to get in touch with again.
  • Once you’ve cleared the clutter from your mobile, learn to be selective about the new apps you download – only pick ones that you’ll actually get use out of or that you’re hoping will help you in your everyday life. You don’t want to end up right back at square one with a huge load of unused apps that’ll be deleted come next spring.

Do you have any tips of your own when it comes to spring cleaning your mobile? Is your phone cluttered with apps, messages and photos, or do you keep it in top condition all year long? Comment below and let me know.