Spring is in the air (if you’re in the northern hemisphere) and it’s traditionally a time to clean every nook and cranny and get rid of excess stuff in your house. But it’s also a good time to clean up your digital life. Just like your house, your digital life needs a good cleaning once in a while, but sometimes this can seem like a daunting task, so here’s some tips for you to get started.
First, begin by emptying your trash or recycle bin on your computer and clearing your browser cache of temporary files and cookies, both of which will free up valuable space on your hard drive, then follow these tips for cleaning your digital presence.
- Clean up apps and files. Are some of your apps gathering dust? Do you have files from high school (and it’s been years since you graduated)? If you’re not using these items, think about deleting them. Clearing out old, outdated and unused apps, programs and files leaves more space and memory on devices to fill with things you use.
- Back up your data. Our devices are a treasure trove of family memories like pictures and videos and they also often include key documents like tax forms and other sensitive information. None of us would want to lose any of these items, which is why it’s important to back up your data, and often. Back it up to both a cloud storage service and an external hard drive—just in case
- Review privacy policies. Are your accounts as private as you want them to be? Take the time to review the privacy settings on your accounts and your apps so you understand how they use your data. This is important for your social media accounts so you can choose what you want or don’t want to share online. For a good resource on social media privacy, see this article. This is also critical for your apps as many apps access information they don’t need. In fact, McAfee Labs™ found that 80% of Android apps track you and collect personal info–most of the time without our knowledge.
- Change your passwords. It’s always a good to idea to change your passwords on a regular basis and there’s no better time during a digital spring cleaning. To help you deal with the hassle of managing a multitude of usernames and passwords required to manage your digital life.
So before you consider yourself done with your spring cleaning, make sure you finish this last bit of spring cleaning with these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to cleaning up your digital life.
Robert Siciliano is an Online Safety Expert. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked!