The ultimate guide to digital spring cleaning

Spring is usually associated with beautiful things like blooming flowers, the warmth of the sun, mild temperatures, and generally a feeling of hope that the worst winter is over. It is also often accompanied by a spring cleaning for many people. The whole idea of ​​doing a thorough cleanse early in spring was floating around in my head as part of my New Year’s resolutions. However, the physical spring cleaning should also be accompanied by a digital spring cleaning. Let’s see how we can disappoint our smartphones.

Spring cleaning of your smartphone

If we’re doing a smartphone audit right now, there are several areas we can look around to make the whole experience smoother. This guide contains relevant information or links you to articles that explain the various options in more detail.

Of course, our tips are not specifically intended to be implemented only in spring. They should be done far more frequently throughout the year if you want to keep your smartphone in top-notch operating condition. Are you ready to go Who knows, you might even be interested in doing more after watching “Clean Up With Marie Kondo” on Netflix!


Clean up your smartphone’s memory

The first rule of smartphone storage: delete everything you don’t use. Not only does this make room for other apps, games, and media that you use frequently, but it also ensures that the smartphone runs faster. The DiskUsage analytics app is perfect for showing you which particular apps are consuming all of your storage.

A 2D area chart shows the directories or files that take up the most space in your smartphone’s permanent memory. All you have to do from there is remove the malfunctioning apps by uninstalling them, and you’re good to go – assuming you’re not using the apps mentioned above.

Disk usage

Should I keep my WhatsApp voice notes? / © NextPit

This analysis often shows that most of the available storage space is used for media (videos, pictures, music), app, app data and temporary files that are stored in the cache. Well worth going through this tedious step as there are some large files that you may want to keep for sentimental reasons or just for work. If your Android storage is constantly full, here’s how to maximize your smartphone’s RAM.

Get organized with Google Photos

Google Photos has long been my tool of choice when it comes to backing up and sorting my photos. Since I’m up to my neck in the Google ecosystem, I let everything I can think of, be done with ease, whether it’s photos I take with my smartphone camera, memes I received via WhatsApp, or screenshots that I take for NextPit.

Free up more space

I don’t look at a lot of my saved images, but keep hiding them in the cloud thanks to the Palo Alto tech giant. Google has shaken up the storage space for photo clouds with Google Photos because you can simply stow everything there from your smartphone and delete it by deleting the “Free up storage space” function. It can be accessed by launching Gallery and then selecting Manage.

You can even let Google calculate the approximate duration of your existing storage space based on your current usage pattern. But you probably know by now that things are going to change on Google from June onwards. Up until now, you could store an infinite number of lightly compressed images in the cloud without these being counted towards your 15 GB total storage space.

This won’t be the case in the future as Google restricts its photo service so at some point you run the risk of using up the free 15GB. If you need additional storage, you’ll need to resort to Google One – a paid storage service. Fortunately, the starting price remains affordable (for now) with an annual subscription fee of € 20 for 100 GB or € 1.99 for a monthly subscription.

Archive images

Spring cleaning isn’t just about freeing up space, it’s also about getting better organized. To achieve this, it can be accessed using the “Archive” function in Google Photos. Access to it is the same as “Free up space”. So choose the Gallery button and then Manage, where you can finally select Move Photos to Archive.

From there you have the option to hide photos from Google Photos and move them to the archive. Following the motto “out of sight, out of mind”, you can then display images in your gallery that you actually fancy.

It is important to note that the photos will still remain in the albums they were previously added to, and you can also find them in the search results and folders on your smartphone. In addition to viewing the photos in the archive, you can restore them if you change your mind.

Google Photos Archive

You can use Google to archive photos for a more organized photo gallery / © NextPit

Check the app permissions

You may be familiar with this situation: You are in a hurry or looking forward to a new app. So after downloading and installing it, you accept all permissions required for this application in one fell swoop. “I’ll change it later,” you tell yourself. How many times has this happened and did it end well? How often do you actually check all of your apps and know what permissions those apps have?

Sure, I expect a weather app to access my location. That makes sense, how else is it supposed to keep me updated? But why the hell does a flashlight app have to have access to my microphone too? You see, a thorough digital spring cleaning session also includes a full review of your apps and their permissions. You can read about it in our in-depth article below.

Oh, and while we get into apps and spring cleaning, check out “Subscriptions” on Google Play. From there, you can check which apps you’ve subscribed to for a fee, how much they cost, and when your next payment is due. There may also be apps / subscriptions that you no longer need or use. So you can just as easily take advantage of the situation and terminate it.

Reorganize your contact list

As part of our spring cleaning, it is also strongly recommended that you go through the contact list on your smartphone. With Android there is a good chance that the contacts there will be managed via the corresponding Google app. Of course, if you want to dive really deep, delete ex-boyfriends, or even merge duplicate contacts, you can all do it from your smartphone. However, it’s far easier if you do it from your desktop through Google Contacts.

I would like to take the opportunity to refer to one of our articles that would come in handy in cleaning up your contact list on your Android smartphone.

If you still have the intestinal strength to work with your contacts, you may be able to follow up those efforts by doing the same with your social media profiles. It’s practically a jungle out there to deal with if you’ve been on social media for many years, and it’s definitely a complex topic that we should dig deep into in a future article. Just let us know if you’d like to learn more about cleaning up your own social media profiles.

Clean your smartphone

Finally, let’s get to the literal cleansing part. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the start of the pandemic, it’s to disinfect your hands regularly. This is especially important for objects that we hold in our hands countless times every day – like a smartphone. This is why our smartphone is also a frequent contact point for dirt, germs, bacteria and viruses of all kinds.

There are different ways to clean a smartphone, but there are also some wrong ones. For best practice, see the following article:

We have come to the end of this manual. If you’ve done all of that, you should now be the proud owner of a clean, streamlined smartphone with more space to work than before. We are always open to suggestions. So share with us some of your favorite tips for doing a digital spring cleaning. Please let us know in the comments.

This post has been completely rewritten, so the name of the author has also changed. We have kept your old comments for reasons of heritage, context, and out of respect for your reactions.

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