It’s May—flowers are blooming, trees are budding, and the stagnation of Winter is finally dissipating. It’s a great time to clean and declutter our lives, including our digital lives. Time to remove all those old junk files, recover storage space, and empty the cache. Not only will we feel good but our iDevices will thank us in functioning efficiently and running faster than ever (just in time for Summer fun).
So let’s get rid of all those memory hogs, unwanted cache clogs, and delete those junk files that iOS accumulates over time and slows our iDevices down. In the spirit of Spring, let’s renew.
Our Spring Cleaning will not only get rid of all those unwanted files, it will improve us. How? An iOS Spring Cleaning facilitates taking a closer look at our environment—are we really using all those apps or are they just vestiges of times passed? Let’s take this Spring Cleaning as an opportunity to focus on what we use and what we no longer (or never) use.
Take some time to look closely at your iDevice’s apps. If you no longer use an app, haven’t used it in 3+ months, or never used it, remove it! Let’s get your device to its optimal state for YOU—how you use it and make it work best for you.
The good news is that this Spring Cleaning works for both older and newer models—in fact the older models should see a lot of improvement in performance because like us humans, time brings clutter. A good cleaning reaps rewards for all generations, young and old, so we can all run at optimal speed and efficiency.
So let’s get to it!
How to clean out your iPhone/iPad’s memory by deleting the browser cache
First, let’s clean out the Safari caches on our iPhones/iPads. Please remember that this may log you out of any websites you’re signed into so make sure you take note of all your user IDs and passwords before performing the following steps (you will need to log in again). Follow these steps to clear out the Safari cache:
- Tap Settings > Safari.
- Scroll down and tap Clear History and Website Data.
- Tap Clear History and Data.
If you have another browser installed like Chrome or Firefox, perform the same actions as Safari by clearing out the cache of each browser. Remember that this action may result in clearing out of all user names and passwords so make sure you take note of all those IDs and passwords in advance.
- Open the Chrome App
- Tap the Options Box on the top right of the screen
- Tap Settings
- Tap Privacy
- Tap Clear Cache to clean just the cache
- Tap Clear Browsing History to clear just your history
- Tap Clear All to wipe everything (cache, browsing history, cookies)
- Open Firefox App
- Tap Tab Button on Upper Right
- Tap the Settings CogWheel on Upper Left
- Tap Clear Private Data
- Select which Data you want to clear (Browsing History, Cache, Cookies, Offline Website Date)
- Tap Clear Private Data
That’s a good start and should free up some memory. Let’s focus next on removing old, unwanted, and no longer or never used apps.
How to delete unused or unwanted apps from your iPhone/iPads’s
The simple method to delete apps on your iPhone/iPad:
- Tap and Hold the unwanted app’s icon on your home screen until all your iDevice’s app icons begin to jiggle.
- Tap the small “x” on the upper corner of the app. A prompt will appear with an option to delete the app and its data. It warns you “deleting this app will also delete its data.”
- Select the Delete button in the prompt.
The sophisticated method to delete apps on your iPhone/iPad:
- Tap Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage
- Tap Storage>Manage Storage
- Select an app from the list of your device’s apps
- Tap Delete App. A Prompt will appear letting you know “Deleting will also delete all of its documents & data”
- Select Delete App
Sometimes though, this doesn’t get rid of the unwanted app for good. If you connect your iPhone/iPad to your computer to sync with iTunes, oftentimes the app mysteriously reappears on your iDevice.
To get rid of the app FOR GOOD, do the following:
- Open iTunes on your computer BEFORE you connect your iDevice
- Select Apps from iTunes menu (upper left corner icons)
- Find the app you want to delete and select it
- Once selected, press the delete key or use the delete function from the Edit menu
- You will get a prompt asking “are you sure you want to delete the selected app from your iTunes library?”
- Press Delete App button (should be highlighted)
- You will get another prompt asking “Do you want to move the selected app to the Trash, or keep it in the Mobile Applications folder?”
- Press the Move to Trash button
Following these steps will ensure that the app doesn’t find its way back to your iPhone/iPad the next time you sync your device with your computer.
How to remove app data from your iPhone/iPads’s memory
Data is stored by apps in each app’s Documents and Data. Apple has not made cleaning this data very easy so we still need to clean this type of data app by app. I hope in future releases that Apple lets us do this through the Storage and iCloud Usage option in Settings. For now though, we have to do this “by hand.” Follow these steps to clean out unwanted data from your iOS apps:
- Open the app you want to clear (I’m going to use Facebook as an example)
- Find the Settings Button
- Tap Settings
- Tap Browser
- Tap Clear Data
Sometimes, it’s easier to uninstall and reinstall your app to conserve memory. It doesn’t feel like the best option I know, but at times, it’s the only option we have. If you have IDs and passwords associated with that app, make sure you note these before uninstalling and reinstalling, they will not migrate.
Follow the same steps as deleting an app (from above) and then reinstall that same app through the app store. We tested this method by uninstalling and then reinstalling HuffPost, showing a decrease from 228 MB to 312 KB—big difference!
How to get more memory space out of your iPhone/iPad
Apple iOS manages your memory quite effectively. Apps that run in the background should ideally NOT take up memory. But as in life, reality is not often the ideal. To help our iPhones/iPads get more towards that ideal, your best bet is to restart the device. Restarting an iPhone/iPad clears all the memory and ensures that the apps we need right now have enough memory to run smoothly.
To restart your iPhone/iPad:
- Hold down the Sleep/Wake button until “slide to power off” appears.
- Slide the power off switch and turn off the iPhone/iPad.
- Wait until it has fully powered down then press the Sleep/Wake button to turn the iPhone/iPad back on.
Restarting your iPhone/iPad on a regular basis ensures that your idevice is working on the apps you want it to. My suggestion is to power down your iDevice when you power down for your daily sleep. Then, when you wake up, you also wake up your iDevices. That’s what I do and it’s easy to remember!
Springtime is a great time to clean your digital house. Take a moment and reflect on the apps that really matter to you, that you consistently use. What are the apps you love and cannot live without. Use those as your guide—these are the apps that stay. All others should go away via deletion. Your iPhone or iPad will love you for it by performing better, and you will love yourself for decluttering your digital world and simplifying. Purging feels soooo good. So let’s get cleaning!