The Ultimate Digital Spring Cleaning Guide

We commonly associate the beginning of spring with beautiful things like blooming plants, sunshine, mild temperatures, and spring fever. But also with the annual spring cleaning. Personally, the system of tackling general cleaning in early spring has opened me up as little as good resolutions earlier in the year. However, we like to do these things in the spring and that goes for digital spring cleaning as well, where we wet our smartphones.

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Spring cleaning on smartphone

So if we now turn to our cell phones, there are several points that we can start with that will help us to be able to use our smartphones better again. In this article we provide you with relevant information or link to articles that explain the various options in detail.

Of course, our tips are not explicitly intended for spring only and can/should be carried out more often. Grab a cleaning rag and throw on some old clothes, watch Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix, come on!

Jump directly to the respective section:

Free up space on your smartphone

First motto when it comes to cleaning: Throw away everything that does not pay rent. This creates space for other apps, games, and media, and ideally also ensures that the smartphone is back up and running faster. The DiskUsage analysis app is perfect for showing you where the damn memory hogs are.

A 2D area diagram shows us the directories or files that take up the most space on the hard drive of their respective system. So, you click on the culprit, and in the best case, you can free up a lot of storage space.

disk usage

Maybe I should delete some WhatsApp voice messages? / © NextPit

This analysis often shows that most of the space is used for media (videos, pictures, music), for apps and app data, and for files that are cached. Here it is worth working with different strategies when cleaning depending on the type of file, which we will show you in the article Android memory full? This is how you clean your smartphone! explain in detail.

Get organized with Google Photos

Google Photos has long been my tool of choice when it comes to backing up and classifying my photos. Since I’m neck-deep in the Google cosmos, I let anything that comes in the way of images run there without any pain, regardless of whether it’s the photos I take with my smartphone camera or the memes I get. via WhatsApp Submissions, or screenshots I take for NextPit.

Free disk space

I don’t look at many of the photos a second time, but I keep pinning them to the cloud of Californians. This is very exciting for storage space, among other things, because Google Photos allows me to pull my photos from the smartphone with a touch of the finger using the “Free up storage” function; what remains, of course, is the version of the respective images stored in the cloud. You can find the function by touching “Gallery” and then “Manage”.

You can even have Google calculate how long the storage space is likely to last. But everyone probably knows that things will change at Google starting in June. Until now, you could send slightly compressed images to the cloud indefinitely without counting them in your 15 GB storage volume.

This will no longer be the case in the future because Google is restricting its photos service in such a way that you risk exhausting the free 15 GB at some point. If you want more storage space, you’ll have to go to Google One, where you can get more storage space for a hard coin. But the price is fair, you pay 20 euros once a year for 100 GB or 1.99 euros per month.

archival images

However, spring cleaning is not only about having more space available, but also about having more order in our image collection. It’s a good idea to use the “Archive” feature in Google Photos. The way is the same as for “Free up storage space”, so first tap on the “Gallery” button and then “Manage”, where finally you can select “Move photos to archive”.

There you have the option to hide photos from Google Photos and move them to the archive. In keeping with the motto “out of sight, out of mind”, you can ensure that you only see the images in your gallery that you feel like viewing.

Important: The photos are still in the albums they were added to, and you can also find them in search results and folders on your smartphone. In the archive, you can not only view the corresponding photos, but also restore them if you change your mind.

google photos archive

Google allows you to archive photos to have more order in the gallery. / © NextPit

Check permission for your apps

You may also know this: you are in a hurry or full of anticipation for a new app, and therefore, after downloading it, you agree to all the authorizations that are required for this app in one go. “I’ll deal with that later” – yes, yes, that’s why! That can end badly. How often do you check all the apps on your smartphone and do you know what data the apps have access to?

Sure, with a weather app I hope you want to access my location. That makes sense, how else is it supposed to help me? But why the heck does a flashlight app need access to my microphone? So you see, a good digital spring clean also includes a full review of your apps and the permissions you’ve granted. You can read how to do it here in our additional article:

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of apps and spring cleaning: take a quick look at Google Play under “Subscriptions”; there you can see which apps you have subscribed to for what price and when the next payment is due. Maybe there are apps/subscriptions you don’t need here, so you can cancel them there directly.

Check your contacts in the address book

Now, as part of our spring cleaning, we’re also going through our contacts on our smartphones. At least in the case of the Android group, there is a good chance that the contacts are managed there through the corresponding Google application. If you really want to clean up there, delete exes, or merge duplicate contacts, you can of course do it on your smartphone, but it’s clearer if you choose the Google Contacts web view.

Again, I would like to refer you to one of our articles, which will help you clean up your contacts on Android smartphones in different ways:

If you haven’t had enough of cleaning up your contacts, then maybe take a look at your social media profiles. Here, too, there are some dead files and a pain in the ass that just clutter the respective feed for you. This is a complex topic for which perhaps we should write a separate article. Please let us know if we should make a post about social media hygiene.

Clean your smartphone

Finally, let’s move on to cleaning. If there’s one thing we learned right at the start of the pandemic, it’s how to wash your hands correctly and regularly. This is particularly important for objects that we hold in our hands countless times a day, like a smartphone. Therefore, our mobile is also a grateful buyer of dirt, germs and bacteria of all kinds.

There are different ways to clean a smartphone, but there are also some wrong ones. You can read in this article the best way to proceed and what you absolutely must avoid:

So, we have reached the end and if you have done all that, you should now have a clean and tidy phone with more space than before. However, these tips are not complete. Hence the question to the group: What are your tips for digital spring cleaning? Feel free to share them with us in the comments.

This post was completely rewritten, so the author has changed. We have withheld his previous comments for the sake of completeness and out of respect for his reactions.