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Givers 5min read

Spring Cleaning For Your Smartphone

The perfect photo-op is right there in front of you: your child is taking their first steps, your dog is barking at Animal Planet on TV, or the recipient of a surprise birthday party is coming into the room.

You pull out your smartphone, open the camera app, and boom. You get the dreaded “There is not enough storage on your device” pop-up.

Spring cleaning isn’t just for all that junk you’ve accumulated in your garage, attic, or basement. It’s also a great time to make sure your iPhone or Android is fresh and clean in preparation for summer vacations, baseball games and such. Here are some helpful tips for making sure you’ve always got room to spare.

Sync Those Photos and Videos

Some of us remember when we kept shoeboxes full of photos dating back to our childhoods. Still others of us remember keeping slides and home movie reels. Now that shoebox is your phone, containing many of our precious visual memories.

But just like those old Polaroids, digital photos and videos take up space. Fortunately there are automated solutions to take care of your photos for you and free up space on your phone.

Google Photos (iOS and Android) and iCloud Photo Library both work pretty much the same way. Which service you use comes down to a matter of preference, although Google Photos requires a standalone app.

With each, you can set your photos to automatically sync to the cloud and delete images and videos from your phone once they’re uploaded. You can also choose to delete images manually. Either way, your visual memories are accessible on all your devices, and you’ll free up space to…take even more photos and videos.

Stream That Music

Long, long ago in the early 2000s if you wanted to take your music with you, you had to download songs to your iPod. Once it was full and you wanted different tunes, you had to manage what playlists to keep and which to get rid of.

Nowadays we’re pretty much always in WiFi range, and mobile carrier data limits have increased such that we’re always connected. Take advantage of that connectivity by streaming your music via Spotify, Pandora, Google Play Music, or Apple Music.

Keep in mind not every artist or song is available on every streaming service, so you may have to dig around to find out which is right for you. But no matter what your preference, you’ll have plenty of jams on the go that won’t hog storage space.

Delete Those Old Texts

You may not know that your text messages are all stored locally on your phone. Tiny as they may be, they can add up quickly, robbing your apps of vital storage room.

Both iPhone and Android have options under Settings for how long texts will be stored on your device. For example on iPhone you can keep texts forever, for 30 days, or one year, and automatically delete older messages. You can also manually delete entire text threads by swiping left and tapping Delete.

Clear That Browser Cache

If you browse the web on your phone, it might surprise you to learn how much of that internet content is stored (cached) locally. This speeds up web page loading times, and helps deliver content when your network connection isn’t that great.

To clear out all that data you don’t really need, go to your Settings menu, find your browser (Safari, Chrome, etc.), and look for a setting that will read something like “Clear History and Website Data.” You’ll reclaim a sizable amount of storage, and you probably won’t notice any difference in speed while browsing.

Prune Those Apps

About one-quarter (25%) of apps are downloaded and only used once. It’s only natural: we hear about a hot new app to solve all our problems, we check it out, and realize it doesn’t do what we hoped. In a short time we’ve filled up our storage space and can’t take a single photo.

They’re easy to overlook, hiding on the ninth screen full of apps we rarely look at. But there they are, taking up room you could be using for other things. It’s a good idea to swipe through your screens and folders occasionally to take stock of what apps you do and don’t use.

That Candy Crush look-alike you downloaded and forgot about may have been fun for a few minutes, but it’s taking up valuable real estate.

Update That OS

iOS and Android are constantly being updated and improved. Some of these updates are for speed and performance, including how they manage storage on your phone.

Either set your phone to automatically download and install updates when they become available, or tap Update when prompted. You might not notice a huge difference, but it’s important to keep your OS updated so your phone operates at its best.

P.S. A universal mobile giving app like Givelify can help with all your church and charitable donations, all from one single place.

About the Author

Matt is dedicated to making the world a better place. He works passionately to help charitable causes use mobile technology to raise the funds they need. In addition to his role at Givelify, he volunteers with the Southside Animal Shelter and Kentuckiana Pug Rescue.

Matt Chandler