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6 things you can do to give your devices a spring cleaning

It's time to go through your gadgets and get rid of things you don't need. These tips can help clean things out and speed them up.
Written by Jada Jones, Associate Editor
Smiling young woman with smartphone walking on the street
Luis Alvarez/Getty Images

Spring is officially here. Spring cleaning doesn't have to be limited to old clothes, shoes, and thingamabobs lying around your house. As you throw out your old belongings to welcome a new season, it's time to clean out your gadgets and get rid of old tech accessories. 

With a new season typically comes new tech product releases, and you might be tempted to move on from your old devices and acquire some new ones. But before you decide to buy new ones, consider cleaning and revamping your current devices. 

Also: 5 ways to keep your smartphone working like new, for longer

With the help of Catherine Hiley, a mobile expert at Uswitch, ZDNET is helping you welcome the spring season and transform your personal tech devices.

1. Organize your apps

According to Hiley, the most surefire way to declutter your devices is to remove apps you don't use anymore. Apps can take up a wide range of space in your device's internal storage. Some apps, like online games, can take up to 1GB of storage space.

Also: The best external hard drives you can buy

If there's an app you can do without, consider deleting it to free up some space. You can always go back and re-download the app if needed.

2. Clear your cached data

Cached data lives in your device after you open an app or visit a website for the first time. The collected data helps your device gather information about an app or website so it doesn't take as long to load.

"Cached data is information that is stored on your mobile after visiting a website. Developers use cached data to improve your online experience, and the files in your cache are usually small," Hiley says. "But over time, they can impact your device's speed."

According to Hiley, a stockpile of cached data can slow your device's performance. So, every now and then, consider clearing your device's cached data. However, when you open websites and apps after clearing the cache, they'll just be reloaded onto your device. So this solution isn't incredibly useful if you're really low on storage.

Luckily, ZDNET can guide you through how to clear the cache on your iPhone and Android phone or tablet.

3. Review your device settings

There is a multitude of reasons why your device could be running low on storage. Hiley recommends you peruse your device's settings and see what's taking up the most storage. Some device default settings can drain your battery or hog your internal storage.

Also: Is your iPhone charging slower? Turn off this default power setting now

Hiley says by checking your device settings, you can see how much storage you have left and what's taking up the most storage. 

4. Clear out your camera roll

According to Hiley, the most common culprit of hogging storage space is having a plethora of photos and videos on your device. It can be difficult to delete all those cute photos of your dog, but if you're strapped for storage, it could be best to delete the ones you can go without.

"But, with sentimental value often attached to our snapshot memories, it can be difficult to clear them from our camera rolls," she says. "Start by removing old screenshots, duplicated videos, and blurry photos."

But if you just can't let go of some photos but still don't have enough space, consider buying more storage for your Apple and Android devices.

5. Safely clean your device's exterior

Your devices can pick up lots of bacteria, particularly the device's screen and the back of the device, which are high touchpoints. 

"Wipe down your mobile with a dry microfiber cloth or a disinfectant technology wipe, and use a circular motion to prevent scratching," she says.

Also: The best wireless chargers for iPhone and Android phones

Scratches and smudges on your screen protector can make your device look dingy. It could be time to buy a new screen protector to help your screen look brand new. While you're at it, you can buy a new case for your device to give it a fresh look.

6. Check for mobile updates

Hiley says software updates won't necessarily declutter your device, but keeping up with updates can help your device run smoother. 

There are two types of software updates to be aware of: version and security updates." she says. "Version updates are designed to tackle bugs and performance issues, such as poor battery performance. Meanwhile, security updates are necessary to solve security breaches, such as password leaks."

Also: It's time to update all of your Apple devices again. Here's why

Security updates are incredibly important to maintain on your device. If you're behind on security updates, your personal information, like addresses, payment information, and passwords, can be vulnerable to hackers. 

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