Declutter your mobile devices for the New Year

Jeremy Taylor.jpg

Jeremy Taylor


Business Columnist

Monday, December 31, 2018

It's almost the New Year — a time of personal and professional resolutions when many people tend to clean up, declutter and organize all areas of their lives.

In addition to resolving to clean up our homes, our work environment could use that same attention as well, including our electronic devices.

Device performance can be optimized by removing unused apps, stored data and photos from the past year’s projects. Decluttering mobile devices is a smart and easy way to get organized and prepared for a successful year ahead, and U.S. Cellular offers tips on how to accomplish this.

The New Year is the perfect time to refresh and revitalize, so why not start with something you always have with you? Your mobile device.

Smartphones such as the iPhone XS and Samsung Galaxy S9 can do so much to enhance our professional lives and we recommend keeping devices clean and orderly to get the most out of them. De-cluttering devices makes them work more efficiently, so it’s a good idea to delete seldom-used apps, documents and data and other information to free up space.

For devices that may look more like junk drawers, U.S. Cellular offers the following tips:

■ Clear out clutter: Unused data takes up valuable space and battery life, so it’s wise to delete rarely-used apps, outdated contacts, old texts and voicemails, as well as unused music, games, photos and videos. Emails and their attachments can also take up a lot of space on devices. Use Unroll.me, a free service that provides an instant list of all of the subscription emails coming to a device. Unsubscribe from unwanted emails and use the “Rollup” feature to combine all remaining emails into one daily summary.

■ Determine what’s important: Many of us have several apps on our devices that are only used once or twice — if at all. Figure out what apps are most useful and delete the rest by tapping and holding an unwanted app, then hitting the “x” for an iOS device or choosing the remove option on Android devices. All purchased apps are linked to the device through an Apple ID, Gmail, Windows or similar account, so you can always reinstall an app later.

■ Group into categories: It can be helpful to group apps into categories, such as sales, marketing, team assignments, industry news and personal. You can also consider organizing apps and folders by usage, storing frequently used apps on the home screen and rarely used apps on another screen. This can make it easier and faster to find what you need, and eliminating the hassle of scrolling through tons of apps.

■ Hide apps that are used infrequently: Declutter your home screen by temporarily hiding infrequently used apps on your device. Install Apex Launcher, which stores apps in “drawers,” or create your own app folders and move infrequently-used items off of the main screen.

■ Get a photo storing app: According to a recent U.S. Cellular survey, 82 percent of smartphone owners use their phone as their primary camera1. Since photos eat up storage, consider an app such as Google Photos that stores and organizes photos in the cloud. Photos are instantly accessible and can be organized by categories, such as person, place or date while freeing up valuable phone space.

■ Leverage the cloud: Consolidate files with free services such as Dropbox or Google Drive, which store documents, photos and videos in one centralized location. Read, share, save and edit documents, photos and even emails with these cloud-based systems. Once important information is safely and securely placed on the cloud, it can be deleted from the device to make more room available.

Jeremy Taylor is director of sales for U.S. Cellular in Eastern North Carolina.