How to do a digital spring clean

Clean up that mobile and make it run like new. Or treat yourself to some new tech...

30 Apr 2020

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You’ve probably heard about a regular spring clean, sorting out the clutter in your home. But have you heard of a digital spring clean? Now’s as good a time as any (if not better) to hoover up any annoying digital dirt.

Here are some tips on where to start:

 

1. Take a look at your Downloads folder

When we download something from a website, it automatically gets saved to the Downloads folder.

This can be a graveyard for stuff we really don’t need and can take up a lot of space. So clearing it out might even speed up your laptop!

Go through and delete anything you don’t need anymore. If you find something you do need, save it in a new folder somewhere safer, with a clear label.

Then, for good measure, empty your computer’s recycling or trash bin folder.

 

2. Sort through your old photos

You’ll probably have loads of photos saved in your phone’s album- maybe screenshots you don’t need any more or 100s of photos of your pet.

Delete any photos you don’t care about and then back the rest up. Either with an external hard drive like this Seagate one or on a cloud service like Google Drive or OneDrive. Bonus points if you create a filing system for specific events like holidays!

 

3. Get a password manager

It’s tempting to use the same password for everything. But it’s really not safe. If a hacker gets hold of that password, they can get into any of your accounts.

Fix the problem by getting a password manager. Your browser might come with one, or you can use something like LastPass. They’re secure services that hold all your passwords, so you can use strong unique passwords for every account you have without needing to memorize them.

 

4. Check if your old passwords are safe

Time to put your new password manager to use! Have I Been Pwned is a helpful, free site that lets you type in your email address to see if you’ve been involved in any data breaches.

If you see you have, be sure to change your password for that site or any you know have the same one.

5. Hit unsubscribe

Inbox heaving with marketing emails and no way to keep up? Take some time out to go through your emails. For every marketing email you see that you’re no longer interested in: go into the email, scroll down until you see the unsubscribe button at the bottom of the email and press it.

It might take some time to go through them all, but you’ll see the difference to your inbox almost immediately.

 

6. Slim down your friends list

Remember that guy you met that one time at uni at that thing? Yeah, we didn’t think so. Our social profiles contain a lot of info on us, so it’s a good idea to have a rethink about who you really want looking.

Delete anyone you don’t really know from your friends list – you might be safe online, but what if they’re not and get hacked?

 

7. Clean up your phone screen

We all pick up a few random apps over time. Go through your phone home screen. If you see an app you don’t use – don’t just delete it. Go in and close the associated account (to stop them keeping your data) and then delete it from your phone.

 

8. Quiet down those notifications

Leave your phone for an hour and come back to thirty notifications? There might be some that survived your earlier purge but you don’t need to hear from every day.

Go into the notifications settings on your phone and change the permissions for any you don’t want flashing up.

 

9. Ditch the old tech

Old laptops and phones can become a nuisance when they start to pile up. If it’s something you haven’t got round to, back up anything you need from them now.

Then put them in a box, ready to trade-in when lockdown finishes. You can trade-in with us or Carphone Warehouse - we’ll wipe all your data for you, then recycle your tech responsibly. And you might even get a gift card out of it.

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