It’s a fact: your devices work better when running lean. An excess of useless apps and files consumes storage space and slows everything from opening programs to browsing the web.
When was the last time you gave your computer a good going-over? You probably have stuff on that hard drive you completely forgot about or never use. One of the simplest ways to boost a PC or Mac is by clearing out some space and removing the files you don’t need to store locally. Tap or click here to speed up your computer in three steps.
Your phone is a small computer 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 and making it run like new. We’ve also included detailed instructions on deleting or disabling apps.
You don’t need all those pre-installed apps
Your phone comes loaded with apps from the factory with various degrees of necessity. 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 heavy restrictions on what you could delete, with many of its apps being off-limits. iOS updates loosened these restrictions, allowing you to delete these stubborn apps from the Home screen. Note that some apps are baked into the phone and OS that you can’t delete.
Android OS has historically given users more power when deleting apps, but as with Apple phones, some can’t be deleted. However, you can disable some unremovable apps on your Android phone.
Scroll through your apps and note which ones you rarely use or don’t use. Do you have two or three apps that perform the same function? How about the one you downloaded to get a free trial membership years ago?
Aside from picking out apps you don’t use, highlight the ones you use daily. When you wake up, what are the first ones you open? In your head or on paper, make a list of apps you would like to keep and those that can be removed.
Your iPhone can help if you’re not sure where to start. To get a detailed view of your app activity and what you use most, go to Settings > Screen Time and select See All Activity.
To see how much data your apps use, go to Settings > Cellular. To see which apps are seriously mooching off your battery, go to Settings > Battery.
If you’re on an Android, tap Settings > Digital Wellbeing & parental controls > Dashboard to view screen times for each app. To view data usage, go to Settings > Network & internet > Data usage. Check out the battery usage by going to Settings > Battery.
If it’s not fun anymore, get rid of it
When was the last time you played “Candy Crush”? How about “Fruit Ninja”? If you haven’t opened a game in a few months, you will probably not return 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 more useful stuff or new 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 stay away from free AV software. That’s because they could compromise your privacy and security. Tap or click here to find out what 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.
Delete your accounts before moving on to the apps
Many apps contain your personal information. That’s why getting rid of apps you are not using is crucial. 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.
There are ways to make your disappearing act easier. Justdelete.me has links to the pages you need to remove yourself from a site or app. Tap or click here for steps on how to use this handy resource.
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 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.
Cyberattacks are on the rise, and the more we rely on our devices for work, school and our personal lives, the more we have to lose. Whether it’s bank accounts, personal data, photos or conversations, there’s just so much to preserve and protect. That’s why we recommend our sponsor, TotalAV.
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