New Year’s Tech Cleanup

By Patrick Baker ~

New Year’s resolutions come and go, are sometimes started and quickly forgotten, or for persistent individuals, they become new behaviors and choices that evolve into habits. There are facets of your digital life you can resolve to clear up in the new year, too. How are you managing your passwords? Are your major online accounts secure? How can you clean up your emails, texts, files, and photos? How can you manage all of this without spending a lot of time?

Get Organized

Start by getting organized. Make a list of your digital assets. Digital assets are anything you use or create with your smartphone, tablet, or computer. List the apps on your devices you use regularly. Do you have a record of your user ID and password for apps and online accounts? Add these to the list for each app and online account. 

Use a Password Manager

Do you reuse the same password for multiple accounts? Is your password management system a notebook or an unprotected document on your phone, tablet, or computer? Anyone with multiple passwords needs a password manager. If you have an iPhone, iPad, or Mac you can use Apple’s Keychain password manager. If you use Android devices, the Google Password Manager is available on phones, tablets, Chromebooks, and any devices with the Chrome browser installed.

If you have a hybrid set of devices, such as an Android phone, iPad, and a Windows PC, or some other combination, you can use a third-party password manager like Bitwarden or 1Password.

Secure Major Accounts

Secure your major online accounts against hackers and unwanted intruders by utilizing account recovery methods, multifactor authentication, and creating greater fraud and scam awareness.

Make sure your account is using a strong password (preferably generated by a password manager) that is 12-14 characters long and has at least one uppercase letter, a number, and a symbol like an exclamation point or dollar sign.

Ensure you have a recovery phone number and email address specified for your accounts if you need to reset your password. 

Don’t respond to or interact with text messages and emails claiming to be from an online service provider you use without first verifying the authenticity of the message and sender.

Emails, Texts, Files, and Photos

Utilize tools within the apps and services you use to organize your emails, texts, files, and photos. Are you using a cloud service like iCloud, Google, or something else to back up your pictures, texts, and emails? If you have everything backed up you can free up space on your devices.

You can utilize tools within your email, text, and file apps to archive and delete old emails and texts. Search for emails with large attachments, download and save the attachments if you still need them, and delete the emails. Save photos from text messages onto your device and delete the texts.

Delete files from your Downloads folder that you no longer need. Move files from your Desktop to other folders to clear up the clutter.

Utilize space-saving options for Apple and Google Photos apps to better conserve your cloud space while backing up your pictures.

Start Small, But Be Consistent

You don’t have to tackle it all in one day. It’s better to limit the amount of time you spend each day organizing your digital assets. That way you don’t get overwhelmed or burned out doing it. Set a timer for 20 minutes, work on one thing, and then reward yourself when the timer goes off. Take a five-minute break between tasks to enjoy your reward.

Keep after it and do these tasks on a regular schedule, and they will become good habits.

Patrick Baker is an IT consultant and founder of Prime of Life Tech. Learn more about his services at PrimeOfLifeTech.com, email info@PrimeOfLifeTech.com, or call (720) 319-7145.

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