Your car needs a service from time to time, and in a similar way, so does your smartphone. Truth be said, Android is much better than it was 5 years ago, so none of what we’ll talk about is mandatory, but it’s always nice to do. Your smartphone may end up performing a bit better as a result, and you may get a piece of mind in the process. We’re here to show you how to ‘spring-clean’ your smartphone, basically, to share some tips on how to do it.
Most of the tips we’ll talk about are software-related, but not all of them. Do note that we’ve prepared 10 tips to share with you, even though there’s probably more you can do in the process, so if you can think of more of them, by all means, add some of your suggestions into the mix.
1. Check for updates
The very first thing that comes to mind is making sure your phone is up to date. It sometimes takes your device a while to let you know if you have updates. Some people may even have that feature turned off (which is still possible on some devices), so you may have to check manually anyway. Head over to your phone’s settings, and locate the update sub-menu. On some devices, it’s in the ‘About Phone’ menu, while some have a separate menu directly in the ‘Settings’, such as ‘System Updates’ or something of the sort. Once you make sure your phone is up to date, you can proceed to other steps.
2. Get rid of unused apps
Not everyone has a hoarding problem when it comes to apps, but quite a few people do. We install many applications on our smartphones these days, and don’t exactly bother to remove them once we don’t need them anymore. The vast majority of you probably have some unused apps on your phones, unless you’re really organized. It may be time to remove some of those apps, and thus take some weight off of your phone’s shoulders. If you haven’t used an app for a long time, and you keep it around just because you may need it someday, it may be time to remove it. You can always install it when you need it, there’s really no point in keeping such apps installed. Even if you’re well-organized, going through your app list may be a good idea, just to make sure you didn’t miss an unused app.
3. Organize your apps
Once you’re done getting rid of your unused apps, it’s time to organize the remaining ones. Each of us have our own way of organizing apps. Figure out what is your preferred way to do it, and go with it. Whether it’s organizing them in folders by use cases, by the company who made them, or something else entirely. Just make sure you don’t have tons of apps on your homescreen for no reason, and the same goes for widgets too. In some launchers, you can even organize apps in your app drawer, you can place them in folders, tabs, or something else entirely. There are a lot of ways you can do this.
4. Organize your photos & videos
People take a lot of photos and videos these days. Such content can start eating away at your storage quite rapidly if you’re not careful. Many people keep all those photos and videos on their phones, and don’t really bother to move them somewhere, or organize them. Now, me personally, I use Google Photos, and organize my photos in albums there, and I often remove those photos from my phone’s storage. There is an option in Google Photos to do so.
You may have a different way of handling things. Perhaps you prefer to keep your photos and videos on an external hard drive, your personal home server, or use some other cloud service. Whatever the case may be, keep your photos and video organized, and preferably delete them from your phone every once in a while. The more often you do that, the better. If you don’t really pay attention for a year or two, a ton of stuff will pile up, and you’ll be in a pinch. So, figure out a way to organize your photos and videos, in the way that suits you, and go for it.
5. Check app permissions
Checking app permissions from time to time may not be a bad idea. While we’re doing everything else on the list, why not do this as well. Navigate to your phone’s settings, and then find the Permissions menu. There you’ll see all the different permissions on your smartphone, and the apps that use them. There are a number of them you can scroll through, and see which apps have access. If you figure that some of the apps shouldn’t have permissions for some things, simply block them. Do note that apps need some permissions to work, depending on the app, so be careful while doing this.
One permission in specific that I wanted to emphasize is the location permission. I have a tendency to allow only a couple of apps to use this permission. There are a couple of reasons for it. The first is privacy, even though that’s also questionable considering how much of our data is out there, but at least I don’t have to allow every app to know where I’m located at all times. I allow only mapping apps to access permissions, as a general rule, plus a couple of added apps. Browsers, file managers, and other different apps really don’t need such access, in my opinion, and in my use case, so I block those.
The other reason why I do it is… well, battery life. Accessing GPS does require extra battery juice, so the less apps have access to it (especially even when they’re not in use), the better battery life. There are a lot of other pieces of the puzzle, of course, but this certainly helps.
6. Clear cache
Clearing cache is another way you can keep your phone fresh. It’s not recommended to do this frequently, though. Cached data can be quite helpful, as it can save mobile data, and provide you with quicker load times. The moment you clear it, and then fire up an app for which you cleared cache, that app will start caching stuff again. So, it’s definitely not recommended to do this frequently, but you can do it once in a while, as part of Spring cleaning, for example.
In previous versions of Android, you were able to clean the cache for all apps at once, which is not available in Android 12, at least when it comes to stock Android. You can’t even clean the system cache easily anymore. So all you can do is to do it one app at a time (or get a cache cleaner app). Try to figure out what apps are the biggest battery hogs, and clean the cache for those.
7. Clean the charging port
The charging port of your smartphone can get quite dirty over time. Lint can get in there, dust, and other dirt. Some people even end up having issues charging their smartphones because of this, as one of my friends did not long ago. So, cleaning your phone’s charging port once in a while may not be a bad idea. If an option for you is to let a professional do it, then, by all means, do that. If not, you can try and do it yourself.
Be very careful if you plan on cleaning your phone’s charging port, though. You can end up damaging it, and thus rendering it useless. Compressed air is one of the ways the professionals do it. Another way you can do this is by using a toothpick, but be careful. You can gently scrape the dirt from inside the charging port. Doing the opposite could damage the charging port, of course.
8. Wipe down the display & camera lenses
This is actually something that many people do on a regular basis, but not everyone. If you’re not amongst the ones that do, then this is the perfect time to do it. Get one of those wipes for cleaning glasses, and gently clean your phone’s display, and then wipe it down with a microfiber cloth, a paper towel, or something of the sort. This is a quick way to clean your phone’s display, and the phone will be grateful. You may also consider using the microfiber cloth to clean your phone’s camera lenses, in case they’re dirty. Doing a quick wipe-down can’t hurt, and it can benefit your pictures and videos.
9. Get a new case, or at least clean it
Many smartphone users find a case that suits them, and they never take it off. Well, you’d be surprised how much dirt can get inside over time. Even if you’re extremely careful, it happens. So, take off the case, and clean it, the same way as you’d clean your phone. If getting a new case is an option, you may even do that. Not only to keep the phone fresh, but for sanitary reasons. Cases are the first line of defense against bacteria if you use them, so changing them after a while may not be a bad idea.
10. Restart your phone
Restarting Android smartphones, in the past, was the best way to improve their performance on the spot. Things have changed in time, though, as smartphones are much more powerful these days, and Android is a much better operating system. Restarts are no longer required, not at all, but you may want to do one from time to time either way. Allow your phone to restart and fire up all engines all over again, you may not see a performance benefit (some of you may), but it can’t hurt.