Many people like to avoid tidying up.
This also applies to digital.
I, too, am better at filling my smartphone with new content than at sorting out which apps, photos or videos I really need in the long run.
But: From time to time, of course, I can't avoid creating a little order on my smartphone and computer.
Because nothing is more annoying than getting a message about a lack of free storage space or even a suspicious login into an account in stressful situations.
To kick off the new year, here are five beginner's tips for what could be part of a digital New Year's cleanup, with a focus on cell phones.
1. Goodbye unused apps and old downloads
Probably the simplest way to free up storage space on your smartphone is to delete unnecessary apps and content.
On Android, for example, the "Unused apps" function helps.
It can be found via Settings/Apps and shows which downloaded programs were last opened several months ago - and can be easily deleted again with two taps via this overview.
On the iPhone, under Settings/General/iPhone storage, you can also display which app requires how much storage space and when it was last used.
The programs can also be deleted directly from there or "outsourced", which also saves storage space, since the app is deleted and only a small amount of data, such as memory statuses, remains on the smartphone, which can be used again during the next installation.
When I last checked my smartphone, I noticed that I had saved a few films and series offline in streaming apps like Netflix so that I could watch them on the train at some point.
It just turned out: everything really exciting I had long since seen on other devices, the rest I found months later no longer exciting.
Here, too, storage space could be quickly freed up via the download overview within the app.
2. Make up for the pushed updates
What should also motivate you to clean up: Every installed app, every installed computer program is potentially a security risk.
It is therefore important to keep individual apps and the operating system up to date at all times.
Because many updates, for example from Android or iOS, not only bring new functions, but also close critical software vulnerabilities.
The fastest way to update Android apps is via the Play Store app.
In it you click on the picture that belongs to your Google account and then on “Manage apps and device”.
Any pending updates are now listed under »Update available«.
They can be uploaded collectively using the "Update all" button.
On the iPhone, you can tap the user symbol in the top right corner of the App Store and scroll down in the following account menu.
All pending updates should be listed there.
By default, apps downloaded from the official stores are automatically updated on smartphones, but this doesn't always happen immediately.
The automatic can also be deactivated.
Here you can find more information about app updates under Android and under iOS.
Read here and here how you can update the operating system as such under Android and iOS.
3. Finally get rid of the account corpses
Sometimes simply deleting unused apps is not enough when it comes to data hygiene.
For example, if an app was part of an online shop that was used once or a forum, this offer still has your account data - regardless of whether you still have the app on your cell phone.
For services that you really want to get rid of, it can therefore be advisable to actually have your account deleted via the user interface in the app or in the browser.
With serious offers, this is usually somewhere in the menu of the service itself.
Why you should do this: Again and again, providers have data breaches or database thefts or even a criminal who manages to log into the accounts of existing users.
It can then happen that your own address, your own telephone number or perhaps even payment data end up in the hands of third parties.
If your own account is deleted, this does not always mean that all data has really disappeared - but it definitely reduces the risk that someone can trick their way into the existing account.
4. Time for a password check — and second factors
Of course, you can also endanger your data yourself, for example with a weak password that, in the worst case, you use on several websites at the same time.
The result: If it falls into the wrong hands somewhere, third parties can immediately get into several accounts with it.
Therefore, the following applies: Ideally, each service has its own strong password.
Back in August, my colleague Torsten Kleinz summarized what advice on passwords is currently current and what is considered outdated.
So-called password managers such as KeePass or 1Password are still a great help when creating and storing passwords, although a hacker attack on the equally popular provider LastPass may have spoiled the holiday mood at least for its customers recently.
You can read more about the problems with LastPass here, and you can find tips from Stiftung Warentest on password managers from various providers here.
Another mechanism that many people still underestimate is essential for securing really important accounts: the so-called two-factor authentication.
It ensures that a stolen password alone when logging in is not enough.
In practice, this means, for example, that you can only get into a certain account if you enter the correct password
type in a code that is sent to the rightful account holder's cell phone during the login attempt.
A detailed explanatory text on the subject of two-factor authentication can be found here.
5. Bring the photo collection into shape
And finally, we come back to the topic of storage space.
At least for me, superfluous photos and videos take up a lot of space on my cell phone, partly because in many situations I prefer to press the shutter button two or three times than just once.
At some point, however, there always comes a day when I have to save my photos on another medium because the space on my smartphone is running out.
In case you are familiar with such situations or generally just want to bring order to your digital photos, I recommend a current text from our author Markus Linden: He published a long article on Monday, which can be found here, on how to, Quote: » with a few tricks and a little discipline« creates order in his photo chaos.
I'll be honest with you: sorting photos is still a big to-do for me too.
But thanks to Markus' tips, I'm optimistic that I won't cause myself a lot of work unnecessarily by proceeding inefficiently.
Our current Netzwelt reading tips for SPIEGEL.de
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I wish you a good year 2023