Digital Hygiene Series: Tidying Up Your Mobile Devices
Digital hygiene doesn’t just apply to your computer. It’s also important for your mobile devices. In this fourth article of our Digital Hygiene series, we share 5 strategies for tidying up your laptops, cell phones, and tablets. Applying these strategies will go a long way in helping you get the most from your mobile devices and help you be more efficient on the go.
1. Delete Unused Apps
Just as it is best to keep unused applications off your computer, it follows that you should do the same with your mobile device. It is common to install apps to solve a short-term problem, and if left unchecked, apps like this can be forgotten, taking up storage and maybe even processing power on your phone. As soon as you know you will no longer need a particular app, uninstall it and remove all associated data if you will never need it again. You can also regularly audit your installed apps and remove any that you don’t need. Most mobile devices have an automated process you can enable to identify and even uninstall applications you no longer use.
2. Organize Home Screen
Your home screen should be set up deliberately to give you quick access to all your most frequent functions, and should be organized in a simplistic layout so it is easy to navigate. You can arrange apps into categories and use app folders to contain related apps. Ideally, you want to create enough different categories so that your apps are distributed across them, but not so many categories that you end up with categories containing only one or two apps. This is subjective, but generally you know when your app folders are serving you well and when they aren’t. Another great tool for an organized home screen is widgets. A widget is a bite-sized components of your apps you can put directly on your home screen. Examples include a preview of your calendar or today’s forecast from your favorite weather app. If you have found a home screen organization that works well for you, do your best to always keep it that way by putting apps into the proper folders, placing your most common functions close to the home screen, and making good use of widgets.
3. Storage Consumption
Eliminating unused apps is a good start at managing your storage, but that is just a small piece among more important kinds of data, such as multimedia and old messages. In the storage settings of your mobile device, you can view your used storage and a breakdown of what kinds of data comprises that used storage. You should be aware of how much data your device can store and how much you are currently using so you don’t run into issues from your device filling up. Photos, videos, and music commonly take up the most space, so it is important to learn about the streaming options you have available in your photos and music apps. When set up properly, these features manage the amount of storage you are using on your local device by moving most of your data to the cloud. You should audit your storage often to make sure you stay ahead of issues before they happen.
4. Enable Cloud Backup
Offloading your multimedia as I just discussed is one form of backup, but it is also important that you are running system backups so you don’t lose other kinds of data like contacts, text messages, stored files, and apps. You can set up your backup preferences in your device’s settings to ensure they are happening frequently and reliably. These backups should be running to a cloud service so that if you lose, damage, or otherwise replace your device, you can pick up right where you left off on the new device. Keep in mind, like the data itself, backups take up storage. While it is not a common issue, it is important to avoid running out of capacity in your cloud service to store system backups.
5. Be Intentional About Contact/Calendar Sync
Ever since we have been able to set up multiple different email accounts on our mobile devices, the ability to sync contacts and calendars has been a huge benefit but can also be a huge risk if it is not done properly. I have seen many people with a mess on their hands from a contact list that has taken years or decades to amass and has suddenly become inundated with extraneous or duplicate records, or else has been completely overwritten or cleared. With the proper backups in place, these issues are typically reversible, but not without a painful crash course in the ins and outs of calendar and contact sync. You can choose to keep separate contacts and calendars in your separate accounts, and you can certainly combine them and work off only one list. Whichever method you choose, be sure that the proper default account is selected (in your device’s settings) so that new records you create will go to the right place. The confusion here typically happens when concepts like separate accounts and default account are not well understood, so educate yourself on where your contacts and calendars live, and don’t be afraid to consult an expert if you need help.
As more and more work is done remotely, following these strategies will enable your mobile devices to perform better and help you stay more organized. Keep in mind that if you or your employees are using your personal mobile devices to conduct work, there are crucial security practices that need to be implemented to keep your business and personal data secure. To learn more about this and our Managed IT and Security Services, please get in touch with us to schedule a conversation. We would welcome the opportunity to learn more about your business and how we can help.