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Kim's column

Simple tricks to speed up your smartphone

Think back to your first cellphone. Beyond making calls and playing Snake, there wasn’t much to do. Today, you carry a full-fledged computer everywhere you go.

Of course, now we’re all on our phones more than ever. Hackers know that and pump out fake apps and clever scams in hopes of infecting your phone. Tap or click for a list of fake apps that mimic real ones. They’re super convincing.

New tech means a lot more storage space, too. I’d be surprised if much of yours isn’t taken up with photos. You can’t replace those precious pictures if your phone bites the dust unexpectedly. Tap or click for the best ways to get them off your phone and into safer storage.

If your storage is full or close to it, you can expect a marked slowdown. Here’s how to remedy the problem.

Freeing up space on iPhone

If you have a newer iPhone, it comes with ample storage space. Still, you could eventually get that annoying message that you are approaching the limit — especially if you don’t pay for extra storage.

What’s eating up all your space? Certain apps may be to blame.

SECURITY TIP: 6 apps you need to delete from your smartphone now

The Messages app, for example, keeps copies of attachments like photos, videos or content shared with you. If you have a long text thread or group chat full of memes and videos, that’s a lot of space gone.

To see what is using the most storage space on your iOS device, tap Settings > General. Scroll down and tap on iPhone Storage. A bar will show you the content on your device that’s taking up space. You will also see a list of apps that take up space. The list will be displayed in descending order from most storage used to least.

One trick you might not know about is the simple act of deleting and reinstalling an app.

For example, the Facebook app stores tons of information. All you need to do to free up that space is delete Facebook from your device. Then, reinstall it and sign into the app. It will look and function just like before, but all that clutter in the background will be gone. Voila!

Next, you can clear those bulky attachments from Messages. Open the app and tap on a conversation. Tap on the contact icon and select Info. Scroll down to see the attachments the contact has sent you. Tap See All and select the ones you want to delete. When you’re done, tap Delete.

Quick privacy fix: Stop iPhone apps from tracking you 

Cleaning out attachments on Android

This problem isn’t limited to iPhones, and depending on how much storage your phone has, you might be dealing with the “storage full” message more than you like. Even if not, cleaning things up will give you a nice performance boost.

First, get rid of any apps you’re not using. Start by going to your Settings. Select Apps or Apps and notifications, then tap on an app that you want to delete. Just tap Uninstall. (Note: The specific steps may vary depending on what brand of phone you use.)

Next, you can tackle all the extra junk files eating up space. There’s a super simple way to do that using the Files app. You may not realize it’s on your phone. This Google app is a file manager that makes it easy to wipe out, find and share files.

To get rid of attachments:

  • Open the Files app, then hit Browse.
  • Scroll down and tap Images or Videos.
  • There is a bar across the top with different sources. Scroll to the left to find the Messages folder. Tap it.
  • From there, tap on any images that you want to delete and hit the trash icon. You’ll be asked to confirm your selection by tapping Delete.

You can also clean up temporary app files, old screenshots, messaging service media and large files through Files. Here’s how:

  • Open the Files app, then hit Clean at the bottom.
  • Scroll through the options here to remove junk files, screenshots, downloads and more.
  • Tap a category and you can delete individual files or select All items.
  • Make your selection, then confirm to delete.

Use Google Photos? If you’re worried about storage space, go in and clean out the junk there, too. Tap or click for the steps you need to take.

NEED A HAND WITH A SLOW PC, SMARTPHONE ISSUES OR A SOFTWARE PROBLEM YOU CAN’T CRACK? Post your tech questions for concrete answers from me and other tech pros. Visit my Q&A Forum and get tech help now.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television, or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

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