Spring Cleaning Time for Your Smartphone

Smartphones are able to handle a variety of tasks. We use smartphones for research, GPS navigation, communication and entertainment. Because of their portability, we use smartphones almost anywhere, and they are powered up all the time. While smartphones are designed to be able to handle many tasks, there comes a point when there is too much data being stored or too many programs running at the same time. This will cause the phone to become sluggish and it will not perform as it did when it was first taken out of the box. The good news is that most of the time these devices do not need to be replaced, they just need a good cleaning. Here are some tips for cleaning up your smartphone so that it will run like new again.

Do a backup

A spring cleanup will get rid of files and applications that have been on the device for a while, but not used much. Before doing anything, it is important to have copies stored elsewhere so that nothing is lost forever. For iOS devices, it is easy to backup important data to iCloud when connected to Wi-Fi, or a backup can be done on a computer through iTunes. Android devices have a similar cloud backup to a Google account, or most files can be backed up physically by plugging the device into a PC. It’s a good idea to write down important contact information or find a program which will allow an Android device to backup contacts, call history and text messages.

Check for updates

Another reason smartphones can become slow is from not keeping the device or its applications up to date. System updates will make sure the device is secure and will patch any exploits so that programs cannot escape with sensitive data. As far as applications are concerned, developers will provide updates when bugs are found that may cause the program to run poorly or take up too much space when not being used. It’s always best to do a spring cleaning on an up to date system so that everything is running correctly and has the proper digital footprint.

Get rid of old files

Once everything is backed up and up to date, get rid of old files that aren’t being used. Photos, videos, music, sound recordings, books, memos and other files take up space and make it difficult for smartphones to do new tasks. Anything that has not been used in a few months can be removed once they have been backed up to a computer or other storage device. Smartphones don’t have much memory to begin with, so cleaning out old or junk files is a good way to be sure that the device will be able to continue storing new media as time goes on.

Remove unused applications

Lots of times we will find programs that have been installed on our smartphones which are not used very often or haven’t been used in a long time. These programs could be running in the background without knowing and steal resources or drain the battery. Uninstalling programs will not only free up space on the device, but will allow the smartphone to operate more smoothly and preserve battery life. If an application is not used too often, it can be a good idea to download and install it only when needed, then remove the application once it is done being used.

Clean up the web browser

Web browsers have a habit of remembering every page visited, what we type into searches and forms and carry cookies which can let websites know where we’ve been to provide a personal experience. If left untouched, cache files for the Internet browser will slow down the browser and cause it to crash. Check the settings in the phone’s browser and clear browsing history, cache, cookies, form data, saved passwords and anything else that the browser will let you remove. This will speed up the browser and clear up room on the device itself.

Adjust system settings

Minor adjustments to system settings can make a big difference in how well the phone functions overall and can help in preserving battery life. Wireless transmissions use the most amount of power, and leaving them enabled will cause the device to constantly search for connections or data. Turning off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and the GPS locator when they are not being used will help with battery life. We can usually get a little more juice by adjusting display settings such as brightness and screen timeout. Going through system settings will give you a good idea about how the device is functioning and let you know what can be tweaked to get better performance from the device.

If all else fails and these adjustments don’t seem to help, the best way to get a phone to run like new again is to run a factory reset. A factory reset will remove all histories, files, contacts and programs which were not installed when the device was brand new. As long as the device has not been damaged, a factory reset will be the most extreme method of getting the device’s performance back. It is important to make sure that all data is backed up since a reset will wipe everything. If a factory reset does not make the device operate as desired, then it is time to start looking for a new smartphone.

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