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How to clean your phone, both inside and out

How to clean your phone inside and out

When we say we’re going to show you how to clean your phone, you may think we’re just going to tell you the best way to get rid of those fingerprint smudges and the other gunk and grime that builds up over time. And while this is a key part of the process, it’s far from the full job.

In fact, when it comes to cleaning your device, most of the decluttering is done internally. So we’re going to talk you through how to clean your phone both inside and out, to maximize performance and give you the best user experience that your handset has to offer.

1. Get rid of those old photos

The “storage full” message goes from alarming information to an annoying fact of life pretty quickly.

'iPhone Storage Full' alert.

When this warning pops up, we quickly start deleting pictures, videos and anything that we deem unwanted in that particular moment. 

The simplest approach and may solve the problem in the short-term. However, it’s all too easy to accidentally delete the wrong video and just like that, a cherished memory has vanished for good. So, while you have the time, take a moment to sort your storage.

  • If you’re on iOS, you can head to Settings > General > iPhone Storage. 
  • On Android, it varies. 
  • If you have Pixel, just go into Settings > Storage and you’ll be able to see everything there.
  • On a Samsung, you’ll find it if you head to Settings > Device Care > Storage.

With the other Android models, it varies, but a quick hunt in your settings should reveal the storage menu. Failing that, a quick Google search of your phone model + storage settings will do the trick.

From here, you should be able to see where your valuable storage space is being squandered. 

If it is indeed photos and videos that are taking up the majority of your storage, then we recommend downloading the Google Photos app, available on both Android and iOS, and backing up all your photos in high-quality to the cloud for free. 

 Ensure you’re backing up over Wi-Fi as opposed to using mobile data.

From there, you’re free to delete anything that you feel you don’t need on your phone, without the fear of losing it forever. 

2. Remove unwanted apps

Apps are also a common culprit for sapping storage. Take a look down your list, identify the space suckers and make a decision as to whether you actually need them. You obviously don’t want to delete the important ones, like the Ting App, but you can probably get rid of that stargazing app that you used once and then completely forgot about.

If you’re not sure how to get rid of an app, it’s super easy.

  • On iPhone, tap and hold the app in question and a menu should appear including Delete App. Just hit that and you’re done.
  • On Android, tap and hold the app, then drag it to the top of the screen where it says Uninstall and drop it there.

By following these simple steps, chances are that you’ll have freed up a heap of space and will no longer be plagued by persistent pop ups.

A Pixel 3 homescreen with an alert reading "Facebook. Do you want to uninstall this app?"

3. Organize, organize, organize 

If you have more than two pages on your home screen, you’re doing it wrong. Heck, even two might be one too many.

Now you’ve deleted all those apps you don’t use, it’ll be a lot easier to find the apps that you rely on. But why not make it even more straightforward and make yourself some folders?

To create a folder, just grab an app and drop it on top of another. Then, simply tap on the folder’s title to rename it (e.g. Work, Social, Food, etc).

This simple step makes smartphone life a darn sight easier. 

But there’s no need to stop with apps! Delve into your contacts, delete old ones and rename your current ones to something that’s actually useful. 

Sure, it’s great when “Matt” texts you, but is this Matt from work? Matt from the gym? Or is it Matt from the bar that one time when you were over in Kansas City? We don’t know, but it’s probably worth finding out.

4. Clear your cache

Cached data can be really helpful and allow you to save on mobile data as you’re not constantly pulling the same resources down.

It can, however, build to the point where it’s significantly affecting your phone’s speed. So, why not take this opportunity to clear it. 

  • On a Pixel phone, you want to go to Settings > Storage and find the app whose cache you’re looking to clear. From there just tap the app and hit Clear Cache.
  • On a Samsung, you’ll find it if you head to Settings > Device Care > Storage. From there, just follow the same steps.
  • On an iPhone, you can easily clear Safari browser data; open Settings > Safari and tap Clear History and Website Data

If it’s an app that’s giving you problems, you have to delete and reinstall the app to clear the cache and (hopefully) clear up those problems.

5. Physically clean it 

Finally, we come to how to clean your phone, externally, without damaging it.

When was the last time that you actually sat down and cleaned your phone? We’re guessing it wasn’t that recently.

Aside from looking a bit grubby, cell phones are covered in germs and so it’s a good idea to give them a thorough cleaning once in a while.

Most major phone manufacturers warn against using chemicals, hand gels and abrasive wipes to clean your device. Instead, use a microfiber cloth and a gentle disinfectant. There are plenty of disinfectants made specifically for this purpose, that won’t leave streaks or damage your device.

If you don’t own any of these, and don’t want to wait for them to ship, you can even clean your phone using just a microfiber cloth, household soap and water. Just be sure not to get moisture in any of the openings.

After we’ve given our phones a good old clean, we like to set ourselves up with a new background. It can make your tired smartphone feel as good as new!

Do you have any other suggestions on how to clean your phone?

So there you have it, five ways to clean up your phone, both inside and out.

It may take a little bit of time, and may not be the most fun that you’ve ever had (although you never know!) but in the long run, it will definitely be worth it. These small changes can vastly improve your experience on your phone.

Do you have any further suggestions on how to clean your phone, either internally or externally? We’d love to hear from you!