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While our personal tastes may vary when it comes to home decor and household gadgets, most domestic settings have at least one object in common  -- and that’s a smartphone. Though these convenient devices have a lot to offer, when they start to slow down we might need to do some digital spring cleaning.

For some guidance to get you going, Andrew Moore-Crispin, director of content at Ting Mobile – a mobile phone service that aims to save consumers money and help them make the most of the cell phone experience – offers some tips on the topic.

First, he says it might be time to say farewell to all those photos. For instance, you can back up your old images and videos to the cloud for free with the Google Photos app. This will offer peace of mind if you lose your phone or plan to buy a new one.

You should also uninstall useless apps that take up data, slow you down and drain your battery. “It seems everything has its own app now over the course of owning a phone,” says Moore-Crispin. “If you’re not actually using an app regularly and it doesn’t make your day better, you should be getting rid of what you don’t need.”

Next, you can organize the apps you want to keep by moving the ones you use most often to the home page or sorting them into smart folders. These can include categories like TV, banking, work and home apps, making them easier to find when grouped together.

When you install future apps, select the permissions you want to grant at the time of installation. For instance, while a service like Uber or Lyft would need to track your location, that wouldn’t be the case for your local coffee shop.

You’ll also want to cut the cache and clear out browser data that can build up to the point where it’s significantly slowing down your phone. “Everything you’re doing on the phone is leaving cache every time,” says Moore-Crispin.  

When all else fails, it might be time to go back to where you started. If the system freezes or some apps refuse to launch, you can back up your data first and then do a factory reset. “This takes your phone back to the same setting it had when it came from the factory. In a last ditch effort, you can remove everything from the phone and start again,” he says.

If you’re in the market for a new smartphone, consider last year’s model to save some money. Another cost-effective strategy is to take a closer look at your phone bill every now and then to see what you’re paying for and to find out if there are better plans or promotions available.

In the meantime, spring cleaning your smartphone can save you time and effort. “Ultimately our phones are supposed to be a utility,” says Moore-Crispin. “You don’t want to live on the phone. You want to do anything you can to make it more useful and less of a lifestyle choice.”

For more information and instructions for these tips, go to ting.com.

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at jeaninematlow@earthlink.net.

 

 

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