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10 tech spring cleaning tips for the quarantine era

For tens of millions of us, quarantine has meant staying at home, indoors, often with nothing to do. Well, maybe not “nothing.” Tap or click here for the 10 best sites for watching free movies.

These weeks of isolation coincide with spring. During World War II, fresh foods and produce were rationed throughout the U.S. To help citizens, the wartime government promoted Victory Gardens to encourage people to grow food and keep up morale. Tap or click here for my research and top videos that show you how to create your own Victory Garden.

This is also a great time to make your home cleaner and more organized, which includes the technology in your life.

1. Repurpose your old phone or tablet as a security camera

If your home doesn’t have a security cam, it’s easy to repurpose an old smartphone or tablet into one with help from a simple app.

Android users can download a free app like IP Webcam that only requires a Wi-Fi connection. For iPhones, download Manything, which uses cloud storage to save your recordings and features options like motion detection and push notifications.

2. Digitize your old photos, slides and videos

Organizing old photos, slides and VHS tapes takes time and now you have it. Once you have them all together, you can bring them into 2020.

Online services let you select a plan and mail your physical media to the companies to scan and upload. When the process is complete, you’ll get your originals back in the mail along with digital files you can download. There are several services that do this.

I used and wow, I had forgotten how little my now teenage son once was. But the real thrill was seeing my mother grin from ear to ear reliving so many precious moments. 

Related: Coronavirus freebies: Companies giving out free stuff right now, and how to get it.

3. Download your Facebook photos

Incredibly, you can download your Facebook photos, along with all your other personal data, anytime you want.

Open your Facebook settings and choose Your Facebook Information and then Download Your Information. Check the box that says Photos and Videos and click Create File. You’ll get a notification when it’s completed along with a link to download the file. 

By the way, you can join me at

4. Update and streamline your LinkedIn account

Whether you’ve been furloughed or not, there’s no better time to update your LinkedIn account.

Review your LinkedIn profile and fill in any missing information that can help you stand out to potential employers, including a professional photo. The file should be a 200-pixel by 200-pixel headshot. No bathroom selfies.

5. Google your name and see what you find

If you’re prepping for transitions after quarantine, you need to make sure the information people see about you online won’t harm future job prospects.

When you Google your name, you’ll usually see your social media profiles at the top, as well as any blogs, websites or content attached to your name. Check your social media profiles to make sure they’re set to private and delete any information you don’t want publicly visible.

Google Alerts notify you automatically when your name appears on the internet. Tap or click here to learn how to set it up for your name, as well as coronavirus alerts for your community.

6. Remove yourself from people search websites

In addition to social media profiles, you’ll also see genealogy and people search websites like FamilyTreeNow. These platforms collect publicly available information about everybody and will sell that data to businesses, advertisers and private investigators.

Most of these sites don’t make it particularly easy to remove your info, either. You will likely have to submit a request, usually by visiting the “Contact Us” page and sending an email.

Tap or click here for my research and steps on how to delete yourself from 10 popular people search sites.

7. Get a free credit report 

Cybercrime is reaching staggering rates right now, including scams, ransomware and identity theft.

To stay safe, keep a close eye on your credit score by using free credit monitoring tools like Credit Karma or This way, you can keep an eye out for discrepancies like accounts you didn’t open, fraudulent loans and fraudulent charges as they happen.

8. Check the permission settings for your apps

Sometimes, apps ask for more information than they need. That’s why checking your app permissions frequently is good practice. This gives you more control over your privacy and allows you to stop apps from spying or running down your battery in the background.

To see what apps have what permissions on Android devices, open Settings and tap the Advanced tab. Select Privacy and go through each app to adjust its permissions.

If you own an iPhone, open the Settings app and scroll down to Privacy. You can adjust the permissions for each app by topics like Location Services, Microphone, and Camera.

9. Turn your tablet into a second monitor

Working from home means more time on the computer. To extend your view, all you need is a spare tablet and an app like Duet Display that makes it work with your Mac or Windows PC.

Once the downloads are complete and the software is fully installed, connect your tablet to its charging cable and connect the cable to the USB port of your computer, then fire up the software. 

10. Speed up that slow computer

Routine maintenance, such as cleaning out your computer with a can of compressed air, is a good way to unclog fans and clear circuit boards. You should also free up space by deleting unnecessary programs and files from your desktop and downloads folder.

There are many more steps to make your computer work faster. Tap or click here for detailed instructions on speeding up a computer.

Most importantly, update your computer’s software. If you have a Windows 10 device, click the Windows icon in the lower-left corner of your screen and click the Settings icon. Select Update & Security, then install the next available patch or update that appears.

Mac users just have to open the App Store app and tap Updates on the left sidebar. Choose an update to download and wait for it to install.

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