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The ultimate guide to digital spring cleaning

The ultimate guide to digital spring cleaning

The concept of spring cleaning is a familiar one, I’m sure, but how many times have you applied this practice to your digital life? This week, we’re giving you our tips for digital spring cleaning so that you can get your online worlds organized.

How to de-clutter the cloud

Cloud storage can save vital space on your smartphone, tablet or computer, but the automatic syncing of files can often lead to clutter. This is especially true of photos. Not everything is worth saving, and you’ll likely take hundreds of images and screenshots that were only ever intended for single-use but have been backup up to the cloud. Fortunately, Google Photos has a really useful tool to help you declutter your library, and it is built right in.

On the Google Photos app on your smartphone, go to the For you tab at the bottom. This is the area where Google’s AI can help you manage your photos. Find the Manage your library card and tap Try it now. Google Photos will identify photos that can be archived, and you can review its suggestions before you make anything permanent. As you can see in the images below, mine is always full of screenshots I’ve captured for AndroidPIT articles that I no longer need cluttering up my library.

google photos clean up
Google Photos can help you clean up your photo library. / © AndroidPIT

Audit permissions on your mobile apps

We’ve all done it, you download a new app in a hurry and just want to start using it so frantically accept all of the permissions it requests without even reading what they are. But how often do you conduct a proper audit of all of the apps on your phone and what they have access to?

You’d be amazed at how brazen some apps can be. A weather app wanting access to your location makes sense, but don’t expect permission requests to be as logical as that on your smartphone. A flashlight app that wants access to your microphone? You know it’s out there. As part of any good digital spring clean, a full audit of all of your apps and what permissions you have given them is essential. You can read how to do this in our dedicated article right here:

Julia: Use Clean my Mac X

After almost four years, my old iMac started to mutter last year. Even though many of my Windows-using friends here can only smile tiredly, lame processes, dwindling fans, and ever-longer boot-ups bothered me. Re-installing the hard drive or cleaning it out didn't really help, and when I was not only able to make a coffee while the good stuff was booting up, but also could have drunk it with pleasure, I knew: there must be a better solution.

After some research I found one very quickly in the form of the cleanup tool Clean My Mac X. I've been using this tool for several months now and am completely satisfied. Mac users pay around €35 for a year's subscription - discount codes can be found on the net from time to time. The Lifetime version costs €89, so you will have to wait a little more than two years to be in profit But the price is worth it in my opinion. Clean My Mac X does not only wipe once with a damp cloth. The whole house is, so to speak, thoroughly cleaned once and made fit for spring. The program requires deep access to your system and full disk access, which you must actively grant in the settings after installation. As soon as the tool is allowed to work in the furthest corners of your Mac, you can start.

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Clean My Mac X is not free, but the cost is well worth it! / © AndroidPIT

In the "Cleanup" sector you can make old system remnants such as image files, document versions and image files, but also faulty objects visible with one click and remove them from the system just as quickly. Mail attachments and a deep cleaning of the wastebasket are also part of Clean My Mac's cleaning plan. Another area of the tool scans for malware removed on the Mac in the privacy section, chat data and browser history and AutoFill forms. 

As you can see, the tool does a lot of getting rid of old junk. But does it also noticeably make your Mac smoother again? I think so. I can't prove this with facts and figures, but only judge it subjectively by feeling. The activity indicator shows a lower workload, and the feature of being able to release memory with a click feels great. Clean My Mac is also available for Windows - if you're up for it. Then the tool is called Clean My PC. Happy cleaning!

Eric: It's all about DiskUsage

No matter which of my technical devices I'm using, if I want to know why the memory is full, I always use the same tool. This means a slightly different for each operating system, but it always does the same thing. On Windows it's called WinDirStat, on Android, DiskUsage and on Linux my favorite variant is called baobab. They all create a 2D Area Chart and show the directories or files that occupy the most space in the fixed memory of your particular system. This way you can click your way to the culprit and possibly free up a lot of disk space.

diskusage app
This is the DiskUsage app running on Android. / © AndroidPIT

Eric: You should change your passwords or use LastPass

I used to use the same password on all websites. This is not wise, because if even a single website does not protect my password, it can fall into the wrong hands. And if the crook also uses my password on Amazon, PayPal, eBay or any other online shop, it will quickly become really expensive.

To kill two birds with one stone, I registered with LastPass. The online service stores all my passwords on a secure server. After logging in, it starts a so-called security challenge. LastPass offers you to change your password automatically for many well-known websites. You can have different and super-secure passwords on Facebook, Google, Twitter, eBay, Amazon and Co. after one keystroke. Thanks to LastPass, you only have to remember the password of LastPass; the online service will automatically type in the rest of the passwords for you.

lastpass autofill android oreo
LastPass can make remembering secure passwords easier. / © AndroidPIT

What are your tips for a digital spring clean? Share them in the comments below.

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  • marco sarli
    • Admin
    2 weeks ago Link to comment

    To control the apps permissions is crucial. Done it several times and had some real big surprises. It may not save space but it is extremely important in deciding what apps to keep and what to eliminate or substitute with less invasive ones