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Three easy ways to clear out the junk on your phone

TechnologyThree easy ways to clear out the junk on your phone

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It used to be that you bought a new phone and got a fresh start. Now we just copy over all the junk from the old model onto the new one. 

Sure, it’s faster and shinier, but it’s packed with files you don’t need, contacts you haven’t talked to in years and photos you don’t remember taking — or want to see again.

It doesn’t take much effort to clear things out if you know what to do. I’ve got your back. Set aside a few minutes. You’ll thank yourself (and me) later.

A SWAT TEAM STORMED MY HOUSE

I’m giving away a $1,000 computer. Enter now for your chance to get a Mac or Windows, your choice! Hurry, entries close soon.

Use your phone’s built-in tools

The iPhone has a handy hidden folder most people don’t know about: Duplicates. The Photos app identifies when you have multiple versions of a picture or video so you can clear all but the highest-quality version.

phone screen with social media apps

(Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • In the Photos app, tap Albums > Duplicates. Duplicate photos and videos will appear next to each other.
  • Tap Merge to combine the duplicates, then tap Merge [number] Items.

Anything you merge will go to your Recently Deleted folder in case you want to get it back. Just hurry.

On Android, the Files app from Google does something similar. 

SIGNS YOU NEED A NEW PHONE, LIKE, NOW

  • Open Files. At the bottom, you’ll see Clean. Tap that to see a list of junk clogging up your phone — old screenshots, downloaded files and lots more.
  • Choose a category, then hit Select files.
  • Tap All items, then Delete. Click Confirm to finish the job.

Want to dive deeper into your photos? These apps do the hard work of clearing out the junk for you.

Clear the inbox you forget about

Nope, not your old Yahoo account. I’m talking about texts. All those messages — and the photos and videos you’ve sent and received — take up space and make it hard to find whom you really want to talk to.

Email on a mobile phone

Email on a person’s phone (Cyberguy.com)

Just swipe on a chat to bring up the option to delete. You can also hold down on the chat to bring up options. 

  • On iPhone, long-press a texting thread and a menu will appear. Select Delete > Delete.
  • On Android, hold down on a thread, then hit the trash can icon.

Be sure to clear marketing texts, spam, one-time codes and anything else that’s just taking up space.

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Pro tip: You can pin a conversation at the top of your text inbox so it’s always right there at the top. 

  • On an iPhone or Android, it works the same way. Open your text messages, then tap and hold a conversation thread. You should see the option to Pin or a pushpin icon. Tap one and you’re good to go.

The nuclear option

No kidding, one IT genius at Komando HQ wipes his phone once a year. It seems like a pain (and it is a bit), but it can keep yours running fast and smooth. Think about it — there’s so much less junk piled up if you clear it all out regularly.

Be sure to back your phone up first, and then a factory reset makes it easy to on-board all your important info.

On iPhone:

  • Open Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone > Reset.
  • Select Erase All Content and Settings.
iPhone Apple

Person holds an iPhone (Fox News Digital)

On Samsung:

  • Open Settings > General management.
  • Swipe to and tap Reset, then Factory data reset > Reset.
  • Follow the on-screen prompts to confirm, then tap Delete all.

On Google Pixel:

  • Open Settings > System > Reset options > Erase all data (factory reset).
  • To erase all data from your phone’s internal storage, tap Erase all data.

Keep your tech-know going 

My popular podcast is called “Kim Komando Today.” It’s a solid 30 minutes of tech news, tips, and callers with tech questions like you from all over the country. Search for it wherever you get your podcasts. For your convenience, hit the link below for a recent episode.

PODCAST PICK: The SWAT team raided Kim’s house

Plus, Madeline Smith has caught over 1,000 cheaters online. She shares her insights on spotting an unfaithful spouse. Kim and Andrew also talk about NASA’s Mars simulator and demystify baffling Gen Z slang.

Check out my podcast “Kim Komando Today” on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcast player.

Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando.”

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