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6 smart steps to get your Android phone in tip-top shape for 2021

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Happy New Year! I don’t know about you, but I find the start of a fresh voyage around this shiny ol’ sun of ours to be a fine time for tidying up, optimizing, and getting good and organized for the months ahead. And while I’d love to pretend I’m the type of person who has one of those disgustingly pristine, clutter-free desks you see on the internet, let me be brutally honest: The physical space around me tends to resemble a half-abandoned hog parlor.

But my Android phone? My Android phone is as orderly as can be, gosh darn it. And if you ask me, that makes far more of a difference than the state of the physical space around me.

Our mobile devices are where we do so much of our actual work and contemplation these days, after all — and yet it’s all too easy to overlook the importance of maintaining an optimal arrangement for both productivity and security within ’em. So now, as we gaze ahead at the promise-filled 2021 calendar, join me in taking 10 minutes to get your own trusty Android phone fine-tuned and fully ready for the coming year.

We’ll start with the simplest step of all.

Android maintenance step #1: The New Year’s app cleanse

Installing interesting and potentially useful new apps is easy — but y’know what’s considerably more difficult to do? Assessing which apps you actually use with any regularity and then uninstalling the stuff that’s sitting on your phone and collecting virtual dust bunnies (adorable as those may be).

Lest you think this is busywork for the sake of busywork, let me remind you: An occasional app cleanse is actually valuable on a few different levels. First and foremost, it clears up clutter — both in terms of the actual space an app takes up on your limited local storage and in terms of the visual space it requires on your home screen or app drawer, where its presence makes it less speedy and efficient for you to find the things you genuinely use and seek out regularly.

Beyond that, though, having unused apps on your phone can slow your system down or wear your battery down, as lots of apps run in the background at least some of the time and needlessly use up your phone’s precious resources. That’s fine if they’re serving some legitimate purpose for you, of course, but when they aren’t, it’s an easily avoidable waste.

And finally, having apps you don’t need on your device can sometimes expose you to prickly privacy and security issues, as the apps were probably granted some manner of access to your data back when you first installed ’em. Why keep such a door open if it’s no longer providing any meaningful benefit?

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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