When Is It Time To Clean Up Your Phone?

A cluttered phone can make your life more miserable than cluttered closets at home. Jam packed closets will leave you at a loss to find anything to wear, while phones that are out of space will run waaaaay too slow and make you crazy. Take just a few minutes to lose apps you never use and throw out ancient message threads. Lightening the load will bring your phone back to new vim and vigor.

Delete apps you don’t use

Getting rid of apps you haven’t opened in months will give you a fast, clean sweep of your phone. Knock off those neglected apps easily by organizing a list of the ones you seldom if ever use. Here’s how to find them.

On Apple’s iPhone, start at Settings, General, iPhone Storage. On Google’s Android, open the Play Store and tap the menu in the top left corner to look for My Apps & Games, Installed, Alphabetical. Change the list to Last Used. The obvious first ones to go are those listed as Never Used. If you see apps you haven’t opened in months, ask yourself if you really need them taking up precious space on your phone.

Message Threads Can Be Loaded Down

Practically unlimited storage makes amassing junk way too easy and slowing your phone to a sluggish crawl a fact of life. If you’re like most people, your message threads are loaded with photos and videos, GIFs and memes. Those bouncing cartoon characters are adorable but they’re eating up huge amounts of phone space. Show them the door to speed up your phone.

Clean Up Is Different for iOS and Android

An iOS user can tell a phone to delete those old messages and clean up threads automatically after a period determined by the user. This tech cleaning is a little different for the Android owners.

The iOS owner can start at Settings and look for Messages and then Keep Messages. Set a length of time to keep messages before their destruction. If it’s the attachments you want to ditch while keeping the messages, go instead to Settings General to start. Look for iPhone Storage, scroll down to Messages and then tap Review large Attachments. You will be able to see all the big files.

An Android owner may find different settings in their Messages app. While they can archive old threads by swiping left or right on a message thread, some Messages apps have the option to automatically delete the oldest messages after hitting a certain number of texts—for example, 1,000 text messages or 100 multimedia messages.

Third-party apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger also give users ways to ditch old messages.

Photos and Videos Gobble Space

Back up photos and videos to an online cloud service so you can delete them from your phone and free up a ton of space. Or, you can download them onto your computer and then onto a hard drive that you can keep in a safe place. You can access photos and videos remotely through backup services such as Apple iCloud, Google Photos or Amazon’s Prime Photos.

If You’re Way Past the Point of Organizing Folders

If organizing your apps into folders would consume too much time, try launching apps from the search menu. An iPhone user can open the search bar by pulling down on the home screen and starting to insert an app name. After typing the first few letters of the name, the app will pop up. Tap the app and you’re on your way. An Android user can pull up the app drawer by swiping up from the bottom of the screen and starting to type.

Once you have had practice launching apps this way, you will find it’s an easy practice to put the apps you use most on your home screen and slowly start to delete the apps on the back pages that you don’t use.

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