It’s a fact: your devices work better when they’re running lean. An excess of useless apps and files eats up storage space and slows down everything from opening programs to browsing the web.
When’s the last time you gave your PC a good going-over? You probably have stuff on that hard drive you completely forgot about or never use. Then there are the dead files that sit there when your programs are updated with new ones. There can even be malware hibernating in there, doing nothing more than taking up a percentage of your memory. Tap or click here for tips on resetting your PC to like-new spec.
Your phone is a small computer itself and carries many of the same problems as your PC or Mac when it comes to bloatware, pre-installed apps and more. We’ll give you tips on finding and trimming the fat from your phone.
No choice in the matter
Your phone comes with many apps from the factory with various degrees of necessity and usefulness. While there are apps you can’t or shouldn’t remove, why keep the ones that do nothing for you? These are known as bloatware and are often included as an extra source of income for manufacturers and distributors. You can’t get a phone without them, but you can do something about it.
Apple used to have restrictions on what you can delete, with many of its apps being off-limits. iOS 10 allowed users to remove built-in apps from the Home screen. iOS 12 introduced the ability to actually delete these apps. Note that some apps are baked into the phone and OS that you can’t delete.
Apple now lets you review many of its pre-installed iPhone apps. Tap or click here for details.
Android OS has historically given users more power when deleting apps, but as with Apple phones, some can’t be deleted. You can, however, disable some apps on your Android phone that are unremovable.
A slow phone is no fun
When was the last time you played Flappy Bird? How about Pokémon Go or Candy Crush? If you haven’t opened a game in a few months, you’re probably not coming back to it.
Games take up space and store data such as profiles that save on your device. Get rid of them and make room for other stuff, like better games.
Drop free AV apps that don’t do anything
Have you downloaded antivirus software simply because it was free or had promising features? There are many AV apps out there, and their degree of protection and performance can wildly vary.
Beyond protecting your phone from viruses and malware, a good AV app helps you delete junk files, adware and spyware from your phone. And it’s a good rule to live by to stay away from free AV software. That’s because they could compromise your privacy and security. Tap or click here to find out what using free AV could cost you.
Apps that don’t get updates often need to go
When an app hasn’t been updated in a long time, say a year or more, it tells you something. The developers may have given up on it or are busy with other projects. A game may reach its limit at some point, but other more utilitarian apps will get left behind as their competitors get new features.
More importantly, an app that hasn’t seen an update in some time will lack security patches and other important updates, leaving your phone exposed to hacks, spyware, ransomware, malware and more.
If an app hasn’t been updated in at least a year, you should consider getting rid of it.
Get rid of unused apps
Many apps contain your personal information. That’s why it’s crucial to get rid of apps you are not using. This will help protect your data.
Log into each app and find the page or menu where you can deactivate or delete your account. You may need to log in from a desktop browser in some cases or even reach out to the company. Just be sure to delete your account if you don’t plan on using the app again in the future.
How to remove apps from your iPhone
- Touch and hold the app you want to remove, then select Remove App > Delete App > Delete.
- You can also use the App Library, introduced in iOS 14, to get a curated list of apps grouped by category. Swipe past the last page of your Home screen to access it. Tap and hold the app, then select Delete App > Delete.
How to remove apps from your Android phone
- Long-press an app, then tap App Info > Uninstall.
- Or go to Settings > Apps & Notifications to see a list of your apps and delete them the same way.
- You can also open the Google Play Store app and navigate to Menu > My apps & games. Tap on the app and hit Uninstall.
- Note: Samsung and OnePlus phones have an Uninstall option under the app shortcuts menu.
- If you can’t delete the app, you may see the option to Disable it. This will at least stop it from running on your phone.
Bonus: One app you want to have on your device
We mentioned free antivirus software earlier that could do more harm to your device than good. But that doesn’t mean you should be without antivirus protection. It’s essential to protect your device. You just need software that you can trust.
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