Best Tricks to Declutter Your Smartphone Without A Factory Reset

5 Min Read

The days are long gone of people regularly upgrading their phones each year or two. In 2013, Americans changed smartphones about once every two years, but by 2023 some sources suggest that number had climbed to 3.6 years.

By decluttering, we don’t mean using those misleading cache-cleaning apps that tell you they’ve magically freed up a gigabyte of space every time you press the button.

We’re talking about dusting away the “cobwebs” that hog your phone’s storage, slowing it down, and leaving it feeling congested. The nuclear option a factory reset would be the most effective way to get a new phone experience, but if you’d rather not deal with that hassle, here are 10 easy ways to declutter your device.

Best Tricks to Declutter Your Smartphone

1. Delete your old downloaded media

One of many tricks to make your Android phone run faster is, surprisingly, freeing up its storage — the same is true for iPhones, too. The closer you get to filling up your drive, the worse the device performance becomes.

Google says your phone can “start having issues when less than 10% of storage is free.” Apple recommends always keeping at least a gigabyte of space free, though users often experience issues before that point. Removing old downloaded media is the easiest way to trim down bloat — you’d be surprised how quickly it can pile up.

2. Delete old messages and app data

Your messaging apps can quickly become bloated with messages, photos, and videos that remain in the app’s sandbox — not in your camera roll or elsewhere in internal storage.

There’s a good chance you can free up several gigabytes just by deleting years of old conversations, voice messages, and sent media. Using Whatsapp, as one example, you can easily decide what to remove in Chats > Storage and data > Manage storage.

It will give you the option to sort chat media from newest to oldest, or largest to smallest — perfect for eliminating old convos or that one long TikTok video your friend sent you years ago.

Best Tricks to Declutter Your Smartphone

3. Check for duplicate photos and files

Both Android and iPhone offer easy ways to remove unintentional copies of photos and files congesting your device. Google Photos on Android detects duplicates automatically and removes them in the background; duplicates in your photo album are likely just nearly identical shots from the same photoshoot.

Some photos may creep into your local storage, though, such as if you saved a photo to your Downloads folder to upload to a website. In that case, Files by Google can, in a few taps, remove any duplicate files it identifies. Files is an excellent app for decluttering, in general, so open it every couple of months to trim all the excess.

4. Organize your photos

Before you leave your digital albums to go onto the next step organize and delete what you can. Setting aside 30 minutes each month, you can easily trash dozens of images wasting storage space: copies of receipts, old screenshots, or that one time you snapped a picture of your car to remember your parking spot.

Be on the lookout for RAW photos or less useful photo formats like iPhone’s Live Photos, which you can probably delete without much hesitation. Use Android and iPhone’s built-in album organization tools to sort your library into images from work, events, vacations, and so on.

Best Tricks to Declutter Your Smartphone

5. Clear app caches

The cache is where your apps store needed files temporarily so they don’t have to redownload them, which speeds up your phone. Unfortunately, app caches often get bloated over time and accumulate corrupted files and sensitive, vulnerable user data.

Cache cleaning apps can’t help here, because the ability to access another app’s cache was removed as of Android 6 way back in 2015. So instead, clear app caches manually a couple of times per year. If you’re on Android, head to Settings > Apps, then select an app and choose “Clear cache.” Avoid “Storage and cache” unless you’re having issues with an app since this removes all user data.

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By Neelam
Content writer and coffee enthusiast Crafting words that make an impact Lover of books, storytelling, and all things creative!
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