What the Tech? Phone spring cleaning

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The calendar hasn’t officially changed to Spring but that doesn’t mean you have to wait to get started on spring cleaning.

Around the house, that means cleaning windows, tossing things into a donation pile, and sprucing up the outside. It’s also a good time to clean where you spend hours every day; your smartphone. Sure you can wipe down the screen and case but cleaning out what’s “under the hood” can give a fresh start to any smartphone or tablet. They’ve gotten as cluttered as a closet in the past year.

Cleaning out storage can make the battery last longer each day and protect your data. Here are a few things you can do to free up some of the storage space on your phone to make room for new photos and videos and speed up things as well.

● How many things on your phone are taking up valuable space? Take a look at your text messages. Texts, photos, and videos can take up a large part of the storage space on your phone and over time it can reach several gigabytes in size. Got an email from 2018 where someone sent you a video clip from a ballgame or birthday party? That is probably using around 10 MB of space or more. On a phone with 32 GB or 64gbs, that space is better reserved for new photos and videos. To check on how many texts you have on your iPhone, go to settings and storage. On an Android phone, you’ll find it listed in settings and device management. Go to your text or iMessage app and delete any text messages you no longer need to save. You’ll have to do this one text message at a time or tap “select” to batch delete.

● What apps are taking up the most space? You can find out in the same settings. Some apps are relatively small but contain a huge amount of data and documents. Delete any apps you haven’t used in the last year. If an app like Facebook or Instagram has a large amount of data and documents, you should delete the app and re-install it. You won’t lose anything since it’s stored on Facebook or Instagram so when you re-install the app you’ll still see the photos and videos from the cloud.

● It’s also a good time to see what apps and websites you’ve given permission to access your Facebook profile and information. These are websites and apps you’ve signed up for using your Facebook login. These programs and companies have access to your profile, public posts, friends’ list, likes, and many other things they don’t need to see. On the Facebook website go to settings then search for “apps and websites”, then find the listings for “signed in with Facebook”. You’ll most likely see some apps and websites you don’t use or even remember signing in to use. Delete those. If you’re not regularly using the apps with Facebook, they don’t need access to your Facebook profile.

● It’s also a good time to offload photos from your phone. We all have photos we don’t want to delete but they’re taking up a large amount of space. Use a cloud service such as Google Photos or Apple’s iCloud to save them. There are also USB memory sticks designed to connect with an iPhone’s lightning jack or USB-C. Once you’ve downloaded them to the USB stick you can import them to your computer hard drive.

● Spring is also a great time to change your passwords. Make sure you’re not using the same password for multiple accounts. Before making any changes to your phone’s storage space, make sure you back up your phone to a computer or the cloud. After you finish with your spring cleaning, reset the phone to factory settings using the backup you just created. Re-install any apps you deleted and then back up the phone once again.