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Seven Tech Tips for Spring Cleaning

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to upgrade your phone every two years. My 5-year-old phone works beautifully, but it takes a little TLC to keep it happy. Here are some maintenance strategies just in time for spring cleaning. 

Say Good-bye to Full Storage 

We have all been there! It’s your child’s recital. She has prepared for months for this moment, and ugh – storage is full! Download Google Photos to your Android or iPhone to automatically back up your photos and videos to the cloud. Once the photos are securely backed up, remove the photos from your device. You can save an unlimited number of high-resolution photos and videos for free, but paid options allow you to save in original sizes. Plus, Google’s Artificial Intelligence Engine will scan and index your photos and videos. Once indexed, you can find photos and videos of people, locations, events, and by date! Two clicks later, you can have a digital photo album you can share with friends and family. 

Delete Unused Apps

Leaving unused apps on your devices not only consumes valuable storage, but also may consume battery and processing power. For Apple users, Apple has created algorithms to offload unused apps. When you offload the app, the icon and user data stay, but the app itself is removed. To enable the offloading of apps to happen automatically, go to settings, and then iTunes & App Store and switch it to “offload unused apps.” If you want a little more control, leave it off and go to settings and then storage to offload individual apps.

For Android users, go to the Google Play app and sort the installed apps by date last used to find apps you can delete. Once you have deleted apps, move your favorites to the home screen or task bar to save time.

Free More Space

Most apps keep user content on the device. My Amazon Music app uses significant storage because I have downloaded songs to my phone and do not use data or Wi-Fi to stream them. My Overdrive app is cluttered with expired books I should delete, but I like seeing my digital bookshelf even though those books take up space. If you browse the web often on your device, delete the history and data cache to free up more space.

Secure Your Device

Take a few minutes to update your device to the latest operating system. Once it is fully updated, review your privacy settings to make sure none have reset. While reviewing my privacy settings, I discovered that the Starbucks app was tracking my location constantly. If you do not want your device to send you targeted ads, turn off or limit ad tracking. Also, some service providers have apps you can install to help watch privacy settings.

Clean Up Contacts

Scrub your contacts! Spend some time updating addresses and phone numbers. I now can tell my phone to not only call contacts but also find directions. This is life-changing!

Email Overload

Piled-up emails not only consume storage, but also may consume battery and processing power. I configure the mail settings on my phone to sync only the past three days of emails.

Fresh Start

For the bravest of the brave, factory reset your device. The risk in a factory reset is that you will lose all your data, but you already used Google Photo to back up all of your photos and videos! For notes and files, back up to iCloud or Google Drive. Avoid a reset if you are worried about losing progress on games (some may sync to the cloud) or other data.

Shahwar Qureshi is the director of technology at The Steward School where she spends her days enhancing education through the use of technology. When she is not at work, she is searching for adventures of the unconnected variety with her husband and two children. 
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