Spring cleaning your digital life
Deep cleaning the kitchen cabinets or reorganizing the bookshelf is what probably comes to mind when you think of spring cleaning. Truth is, cleaning your phone and laptop, as well, in your annual spring clean has serious benefits! Not only can you free up disk space, but also improve your data security by updating passwords, too.
Just like a clean home gives you a clear mind, an uncluttered digital life gives you peace of mind and a sense of security.
Let’s get cleaning.
How to spring clean your laptop and phone
1. Clean up apps and files
Are some of your apps gathering dust? Deleting outdated and unused apps, programs and files leaves more space and memory for things you actually use. Over time, our emails, drives and downloads folder become cluttered with disorganized files. Now is the time to purge your digital clutter, as you would declutter your home. You will feel a sense of relief when getting rid of files and apps you don’t need from your phone and computer.
2. Clear out your web browser
Cookies sound delicious, but they can be annoying. A lot of (personal) information is saved whenever you visit sites on your web browser. And while they make your browsing experience smoother, they can slow things down and pose security risks. Clearing your cookies and cache once in a while can fix issues like loading or formatting problems on websites, and it also improves security. Check your browser's support site for instructions.
3. File your photos
If the photos on your phone are in the thousands, this will take some time. But by deleting duplicate photos, unneeded videos and those memes sent, you will free up a lot of space on your phone, which can help it run faster. You can speed up the process by downloading a photo managing app. It does all the hard work for you.
4. Straighten out your social presence
Our social profiles are a big part of who we are, but our online life can get just as cluttered as our real one. Update your profile and picture, and remove unnecessary info. Delete social media accounts that you don't want (do you really need that mummified social account?). Update notifications settings—or remove them altogether. It’s also good practice to go through and unfriend/unfollow those on social media who don’t bring you joy or you maybe don’t even remember meeting.
5. Update passwords
With so much sensitive data online, you should be updating passwords regularly and closing accounts you don’t need. Like that account you made to do some online shopping and never used again. Always forgetting your passwords or have them stored in code somewhere on your phone? You are not alone. The average person has about 70–80 passwords! Phew. To best protect yourself and your data, use two-step authentication where possible, set up a password manager and check your accounts regularly for suspicious activity.
6. Back up important data
Better safe than sorry! Back up your most important data on an external hard drive or to the cloud. That way, if the system fails or your device breaks down, you won't lose precious photos and files.
7. Update software
If you have been hitting the ‘try again tomorrow’ button on software update suggestions for a while, now is the time to do it. Up-to-date software and operating systems improve cybersecurity. In updating software and apps, you repair security holes and fix computer bugs.
8. Clean the dust and dirt from your device!
Don’t forget the physical spring cleaning! Get screens clean by wiping them with a microfiber cloth, which removes dust and oils. Use a cleaner intended for electronic devices and screens. Clean the keyboard the same way, with a slightly damp microfiber cloth. For a more thorough clean, use a computer cleaning air duster. It sprays compressed air between the keys to clean the crevices.
Tip: Turn off your device before cleaning and disconnect it from the charger.
Add these tips to your spring-cleaning routine and you’ll be well on your way to feel lighter and more secure about it, too. Win-win.