Spring Cleaning for Your Phone

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Spring is here! If you don’t believe me just go scrape the yellow off your car. In the spirit of the season, we’re going to talk about spring cleaning today. Specifically, spring cleaning your phone. Most people use their phones constantly and especially now, with the sheltering in place, screen time is up. Because you’re probably spending more time on your phone now it makes sense that you want it to be as functional and useful as possible. Here are some tips for spring cleaning your phone. 

Go Through Your Photos

The first thing you need to do is go through your photos. You probably have several images you can delete. There may be pictures you didn’t mean to take, images you no longer need, or images you’ve already saved onto your computer or hard drive. Delete all the ones you don’t need. If you’re not set up with some sort of auto backup to your cloud, now is the time to do that. There’s no need for your phone to have 8,000 pictures on it. Clean up what you want to clean up. Put into folders what you want to put into folders. Let the rest back up onto the cloud and get rid of it. Don’t bog down your memory with images you can back up and delete.

Remove Old Apps

How many people still have the Christmas version of Angry Birds on their phone? I bet somebody does. Do you have apps your children played with when they were younger that they’ve not been interested in for more than a year? It’s time to get rid of that stuff. If you’ve tried apps only to find out they weren’t right for you, delete them. Don’t let them waste space on your phone. 

Reorganize the Apps You Have

If you are constantly spending time on YouTube it should be on your homepage. Wherever you live and breathe should be on your homepage. If you are constantly on social media, your social media accounts should be on your homepage. It makes the most sense to put the apps you access the most where they are the easiest to get to. 

Also, you should group your apps together. For instance, you can put all of your photo editing apps in the same folder. You can put all your money apps, such as Venmo or PayPal, into the same folder. Group those like apps together to make everything easier to find. 

Review Your Subscriptions

I was recently surprised to find out I’ve been paying for an app I deleted. A quick phone call got it taken care of but I’d have never known if I hadn’t reviewed my subscriptions. $2 here or $3.99 there may not seem like much but those things add up. You don’t want to waste money on things you aren’t even using. 

Make Sure Your Phone is Set to Auto Backup

If your phone isn’t set to auto backup, why not? One of the worst feelings in the world is when your phone is lost or stolen or damaged, and you don’t remember the last time you backed up your phone. That’s the kind of thing that makes your heart sink. So if you haven’t backed up your phone in a while go ahead and do a manual backup and then set it to auto backup. Then, every few days it will back up and you don’t have to worry about it. It will just happen for you. Then, if anything happens to your phone, you have a recent backup and that’s one less thing to worry about. 

Check and Deny Location Tracking

I know everyone is familiar with Life360. Especially if you have kids, it’s how you keep up with them and find out where they are. It’s easier than following them around in your actual car. There are apps specifically made to track your location. There’s one called Self-Employed by Quickbooks that you use to track your mileage. There’s MileageIQ. There’s a bunch of them. There are also several that track your location that have no business knowing your location. Go into your settings and make sure your location is turned off on the apps that don’t need to know where you are. That game your kid plays? They have no need to know where you are. Some of these apps that track your location make absolutely no sense for them to have access to that information. 

Manage App Permissions

You also want to manage your app permissions. There are apps out there that have access to your microphone or camera that don’t that either. Everything doesn’t need your camera or your mic. If I’m posting to Instagram, it needs access to my camera but does my camera need to be accessed for Crossy Road? No. So make sure that it’s turned off.

While we are talking about it, another big security issue is to never log in to one app with another app. I know it’s easy to log in to something with Facebook. Facebook loves that. Do you know why Facebook loves that? Because then they have access to all the information from the site you used them to log in to. If you have any application that says “Log in using Facebook” and you just click and it logs you in, Facebook has access to all the information you share with that app. I find that overwhelming….and oversharing. You absolutely should not give them that much control. Whether it’s Facebook or YouTube or whoever, be careful about how you access. Because I’m overly cautious, I even use a different email to log in to Facebook than I do a lot of my other apps because I don’t want them to cross-reference my email, which they do. Make sure you’re being as careful as you can be on your security. 

Actually Clean Your Phone

There’s a cool thing called Phone Soap that’s available on Amazon. It’s a little box with a UV light that you put your phone in and in 10 minutes, when the light goes off, your phone is clean. Clean clean. Clean like it kills all the germs. It may not get the dirt off but all the germs will be dead. Considering what’s happening right now, killing the germs is a good thing. You can’t dip your phone in Clorox and there are certain areas of your phone that don’t need to be exposed to moisture. Phone Soap will take care of that for you. I love my Phone Soap and make my whole family use it every week. Think about all the places you take your phone. Lots of people take their phones to the bathroom and those aren’t germs you want to carry around with you everywhere, so cleaning your phone is a good idea. 

You can also get your charge port cleaned. If your phone is a little bit older your charge port probably needs cleaning. If you need your port cleaned it may actually be time to get a new phone. You have to weigh the pros and cons of getting it cleaned versus just getting a new phone. If your charging port needs cleaning AND your screen is cracked, you need a new phone. 

Spring Clean Your Phone While You Have the Time

There you have it. These are all the ways to make your phone more functional and useful. If you’re sitting at home getting cabin fever, use this time to be productive and clean up the tech you use most of all.

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