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Spring is almost here — Why it's time to clean up your iPhone

·Technology Editor
·4 min read
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Spring is around the corner, which means it’s the perfect time for spring cleaning. But before you begin pulling apart your long-neglected garage, or that one closet that’s less a closet and more of a cluttered makeshift office these days, let’s start with something straightforward: your iPhone.

And the easiest way to clean out your iPhone? Deleting your old photos, videos, and apps. But before you wipe away all of your favorite snaps and apps, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind to streamline the process.

And if you want to go whole hog, I’ll walk you through how to completely reset your iPhone, so you can get a truly fresh start.

But first, let’s start with your photos and videos.

Deleting old photos and videos

Before you start deleting, you’re going to want to make sure you either back up your photos and videos to the cloud, or save them on your Mac.

Unfortunately, you’re not going to be able to use Apple’s iCloud for this part. That’s because if you delete your photos and videos from your phone and use iCloud photo backup, they’ll automatically be deleted from your iCloud account, as well.

It’s an annoying quirk to iCloud to be sure. It ensures all of your photos are always saved in the cloud, so you can access them from any of your devices — but it also prevents you from deleting them.

To get around this, I recommend downloading Google Photos. Yes, this means you’ll have two photo apps, but it gets around this roadblock. Once you download the app, be sure to allow it to back up your photos to the cloud in “high-quality” mode. This will ensure your photos aren’t saved in super high-resolution, which will take up more space in your Google account.

WASHINGTON, DC -  MAY 09:  Apple retail employees keep hardware clean during a preview of the new Apple Carnegie Library two days before the grand opening May 09, 2019 in Washington, DC. Apple hopes the $30 million rehab of the 116-year-old library will do more than sell iPhones. The space will host events, exhibit local artists and house the D.C. History Center in partnership with the nonprofit Historical Society of Washington. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Clearing out your old photos and videos is a great way to clean up your phone and get it ready for the sunnier seasons. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

If you don’t want to go the cloud backup route, you can simply back up your photos and videos to your Mac.

  • Connect your iPhone to your MacBook or Mac and select “Trust” from the pop up you’ll see on your phone.

  • Open the Photos app on your Mac, and select Import All New Items from the top right corner of the screen.

Your Mac will then begin importing all of the photos on your iPhone that aren’t already saved there. If this is your first time importing your photos to your Mac, that could mean you’ll wait quite a while to back everything up.

Now let’s delete those photos and videos.

  • On your phone open the Photos app and navigate to All Photos.

  • Tap Select in the top right corner of the screen and press and drag your finger from the first picture in your library to the last. Then tap delete.

  • Finally, open the Photos app on your phone, select Albums at the bottom of the screen, and scroll down to Recently Deleted.

  • Tap Select at the top of the screen then Delete All to get rid of your old shots.

Cleaning out your entire phone

But what if you want to factory reset your phone to give it the ultimate scrub down? No problem. The most important thing to remember is that you back up everything to your iCloud account. That includes photos, videos, documents, and apps. To do that:

  • Open the Settings app, tap, Apple ID, iCloud, Media & Purchases at the top of the screen, and select iCloud.

  • Next, make sure iCloud Backup is turned on and then tap Back Up Now. This will start backing up all of your data on your phone to your iCloud account.

  • When the backup is complete, go back to Settings, and select General.

  • Scroll down and choose Reset then Erase all Content and Settings.

  • Continue to follow the onscreen instructions to completely erase all of the content on your iPhone.

The next time your iPhone turns on, it’ll be like you just took it out of the box again. You can then sign into all of your accounts, including iCloud, to ensure that you get all of your content back on your device that you want.


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Got a tip? Email Daniel Howley at dhowley@yahoofinance.com over via encrypted mail at danielphowley@protonmail.com, and follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley.

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