It’s time for a seasonal tech cleanse.

By Maggie Seaver
Updated May 06, 2019
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While you’re tackling that spring cleaning to-do list like a boss, there’s one more thing you don’t want to forget to clean this season: your phone. If you find yourself complaining about a slow device, or that you can't find what you need thanks to dozens of disorganized apps, this task should be at the top of your spring cleaning list. In short, your smartphone works hard for you—why not show it a little love in return? When you’re done rotating your mattress and dusting the air vents, here are the best and easiest ways to spring clean your phone ’til it’s squeaky clean, inside and out.

Literally Clean It

Think about it, you touch your smartphone constantly every day; it rolls around in your bag and sits on germy surfaces for hours at a time; and if you’re making phonecalls without headphones (give those a quick wipe down, too, by the way), that means it's coming in contact with your ears, mouth, and nose—enough said.

But don’t use any old household cleaning products—especially liquid ones. The best way to give your phone a (dry) bath is to wipe it down gently with a microfiber cloth once every week or so. If you want to go the extra mile, buy a cleaning kit for smartphones and tablets, which can help zap more bacteria than a microfiber cloth alone. Don’t forget to clean your phone case, earbuds, and any other phone accessories.

Back It Up and Update It

To make sure everything on your phone stays safe, secure, and up to date, back it up regularly—and try not to ignore suggested software updates. Haven’t backed up your phone in a while? Spring cleaning season is the perfect time to get to it.

Delete Photos and Videos

Do you really need 87 photos of that margarita you had on vacation a year ago? Probably not, especially if you already posted it on Instagram. Scroll through your camera roll and delete superfluous photos and videos taking up storage space and weighing it down (don’t forget images and videos sent in text messages). If you’ve backed up your phone, all your favorite files will be available on the cloud, so don’t worry about losing them forever.

Remove Apps and Clear Your Cache

Unused apps are likely slowing down your phone and taking up space. You may have old games you don’t even realize are on there, or an internet browser cache that needs clearing. If you haven’t opened an app in past six months—and don’t see yourself doing so for another six months—nix it.

Consolidate Apps

When you've narrowed down your apps to the most important ones, go a step further by organizing them into folders. Prioritize them by category or by how often you use them; for example, file all news and entertainment apps in one folder, social media apps in another, restaurant and food delivery services in another, and so on. You’ll be surprised how satisfying it is to free up your screen.