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Six things you can do right now to spring clean your smartphone

Spring clean your smartphone - Cut the junk and make your phone run faster

Spring clean your phone

Your once shiny, spiffy smartphone has become sluggish. It doesn’t feel like it did when you first pulled it out of the box. It’s not your imagination: Smartphone slowdown is real. While you may never quite recapture the feeling you had on day one, we can help combat smartphone slowdown with a few spring cleaning tips. Cut the clutter and put a spring back in your smartphone’s step.

Phones tend to accumulate a lot of junk, such as downloads, apps, pictures, videos, music, etc. These six ideas will help you shed what you don’t need and may give your old phone a new lease on life.

Google Photos

1. Farewell to photos

You want to hang on to your old photos and videos for safe keeping. You don’t need to keep them on your phone, though. Grab the Google Photos app (Android | iOS) and backup all your stuff to the cloud for free. Take a look at our Google Photos review to see how this handy (not to mention free) app works.

With your photos and videos safely backed up, Google Photos can even intelligently remove photos that have been backed up from your phone, potentially freeing up a ton of space.


2. Survival of the hippest: Uninstall useless apps

There’s no shame in downloading useless apps. We’ve all done it. The shame is in keeping them. Like a bad roommate, useless apps will take up data, slow you down and eat your battery life. You don’t want a roommate like that. Have a look at the apps you have installed. Any apps you don’t recognize on sight are obvious candidates for removal.

On Android, tap and hold an app then drag up to the top of the screen where it says Uninstall and drop it.

On iPhone, tap and hold on the offending app on the home screen. Your apps will start to wiggle. Tap the X in the corner on any apps you want to get rid of.


3. Screen saver: Organize your remaining apps

The cumulative amount of time you spend looking for the app you need is probably greater than it needs to be. Save yourself some aggravation and put whatever you use most on the home page.If your home screens are stretching out ad infinitum (and you can’t bring yourself to uninstall any more apps), organize them into smart folders.

Homescreen for spring cleaning

To create a folder, just grab an app and drop it on top of another. Just tap on the folder’s name to retitle it (e.g Home, Work, Social, Games, whatever).


4. Perpetual permissions

Location tracking puts a drain on your phone’s battery. Apps like Lyft need to have access your location so they know where to pick you up. That makes sense. Other apps? Maybe not so much. On Android, you get to choose which permissions you’ll grant to a given app as you install it. If you want to add or take away permissions, do so in Settings > Apps. Tap an app, tap Permissions then turn the options on or off accordingly.

On an iPhone, just go to Settings > Privacy > Location and then choose the apps that you want to allow location access.


5. Cut the cache

Cached data is helpful and can save on mobile data because you’re not constantly pulling the same resources down. Still, it can build up to the point where it’s significantly slowing down your phone. For Android phones, go to Settings > Storage and tap on Cached data.

cached dataOn an iPhone, you can easily clear Safari browser data; open the Settings app > Safari and tap Clear History and Data. If you have an app that’s presenting problems, you have to delete and reinstall the app to clear the cache and (hopefully) clear up those problems.


6. Where it all began…

If your phone feels hopelessly bogged down and you need to take (or maybe you just prefer) drastic measures, you can always reset the phone back to its initial state. If the system freezes for no apparent reason or some apps refuse to launch, it may be time for a factory reset.

It’s easy to do, but you’ll want to do a complete backup of all your data first because everything on your phone will be deleted. That’s kind of the whole point.

On Android, go to Settings > Backup & reset and then choose Factory data reset. On iPhone, go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase all Content and Settings. This will give you the real feeling of cleaning house.


If you’ve just had enough and you feel like there’s a new phone in your future, check out Ting’s spring collection of phones in the Ting Shop. #shameless