4 steps to clean up your apps and accounts

A fantastic year-end job: Take time to assessment all your apps and accounts in your units for simplicity and safety.

Photo of a left hand with an Apple pencil poised over an iPad mini with an on-screen checklist: Review apps, Review browsers, Check subscriptions, Peruse passwords

Photograph: Andy Wolber/TechRepublic

If you happen to use a cellphone, pill or pc you probably have apps on these units that you just now not want. Possibly there is a bookmarked web site you signed into however do not use. That app you downloaded to get a reduction. A distinct segment product that solved a specific drawback you had as soon as. Or, if you happen to’re like many individuals within the tech sector, a slew of apps you examined however that did not develop into instruments you or your crew belief.

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As the tip of the calendar yr approaches, I like to recommend you assessment all your apps and accounts on every of your units. Do not want an app? Uninstall it. Has your utilization modified? Modify your subscription. Not want an account? Cancel or delete it. These actions can cut back app litter and prices. Fewer apps and accounts additionally means fewer locations for potential safety issues.

This course of can take awhile, particularly if you happen to’re lucky sufficient to have a number of units. Begin with the machine you employ most frequently. For most individuals, I counsel the next assessment sequence: smartphone, pill, laptop computer after which desktop. When you will have a little bit of time, choose your machine and use the prompts beneath in your assessment.

1. Evaluation apps on every machine 

Take into account your apps in sequence, from these most to least prominently displayed. Whereas the sequence varies by system, the query you take into account stays the identical: Is that this an app I nonetheless need, use or want? Go away it, uninstall it or take steps to delete your account, as you select. (Keep in mind, uninstalling or deleting an app would not essentially additionally delete your account. The account deletion course of usually requires you to check in and undergo the seller’s specified course of to shut out an account.)

On smartphones and tablets, test every app on each residence display. If you happen to use folders, be sure that to test each app in each folder. Faucet and maintain on an app for choices both to take away it (on iOS) or to entry app data after which uninstall (on Android).

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On a Home windows system, press Home windows key + I then select Apps (and, if wanted, choose Apps & Options from the left menu). Choose an put in app on the checklist, then select Uninstall to take away it, as proven in Determine A. In some circumstances, the uninstall course of might advocate or require a reboot.

On a macOS system, choose Apple Menu | About this Mac | Storage | Handle … then choose Functions from the left menu. This shows your apps, sorted by storage used from largest to smallest. To take away an app, click on on it within the checklist to pick out it, then select the Delete … button.

On a ChromeOS system, choose the Launcher (circle, usually within the decrease left nook) then the ^ icon to show apps. Ensure to scroll down via all out there screens as you assessment your apps. Maintain the alt key down as you click on on an app to show a menu, then select the Uninstall possibility.

Determine A

Screenshot of Windows Apps & features list, with Microsoft Solitaire Collection selected and Uninstall button displayed.

First, assessment all put in apps on every of your units (Home windows system proven). Take away apps you now not want or need.

2. Evaluation bookmarks and extensions

For every browser put in in your system (e.g., Chrome, Safari, Edge, Firefox, and many others.), assessment each your bookmarked websites (e.g., on Chrome, enter chrome://bookmarks within the omnibox) and put in extensions (e.g., on Chrome, enter chrome://extensions, as proven in Determine B). Since some extensions might have entry to each internet web page you go to, take away extensions you now not want or belief.

Every bookmark usually represents a web site (and sometimes, an account) you needed to avoid wasting to make it easy to go to once more. You probably have positioned bookmarks into folders, be sure that to assessment each bookmark in each folder. Take away bookmarks and take into account closing accounts as applicable.

Determine B

Screenshot of extensions on Chrome OS, extensions displayed: Google Docs Offline, Google Input Tools, Keep Awake, Lastpass, Omnibox Twitter, Social visual alt text, Twemex, Twitter account detector, uBlock Origin, and Chrome apps: Calculator, Chromebook Recovery Utility, and Docs.

Subsequent, test bookmarks and extensions (Chrome extensions proven) in each browser you employ. Take away bookmarks and corresponding accounts, as applicable, and uninstall extensions you now not want or belief.

3. Examine subscriptions

I like to recommend you test for subscriptions:

  • On Android units, faucet Play Retailer | your account icon (within the higher proper) | Funds & Subscriptions | Subscriptions. 
  • On iOS and iPadOS units, faucet App Retailer | your account icon (within the higher proper) | Subscriptions, as proven in Determine C.
  • On macOS, choose the Apple Menu | System Preferences | Apple ID | Media & Purchases (left menu) | Handle … to entry your subscriptions.

In any case, this shows a listing of subscriptions together with renewal or expiration dates. Faucet on an app to handle your subscription.

You additionally would possibly assessment your bank card and different fee programs (e.g., PayPal) for recurring expenses. Small month-to-month funds can complete vital quantities over time.

Determine C

Shows 6 apps, with 1 of those set to expire (Dec 3, 2021), and the others, each with a Next billing date in the future (dates vary).

Handle app subscriptions (Apple subscriptions proven on an iPad) to make sure that subscriptions you want renew and that these you do not use are set to run out.

4. Peruse saved passwords

If you happen to save passwords—both in your browser or with a password supervisor—test every of your saved account sign-ins. This may also help you establish accounts you created at one time however might have forgotten about. 

Browser password entry varies:

  • In Chrome on desktop and cell units, go to passwords.google.com. 
  • In Microsoft Edge, go to edge://settings/passwords. 
  • On macOS, choose Apple Menu | System Preferences … | Passwords (as proven in Determine D).
  • On iOS and iPadOS, faucet Settings | Passwords. 

Determine D

Screenshot of macOS System Preferences | Passwords, with 9 accounts displayed, and the author's aadl.org account name (awolber) and obscured password dots displayed, with last modified date of 2/1/18.

Examine the checklist of saved passwords to establish accounts it’s possible you’ll want to shut (macOS Passwords checklist displayed).

What’s your expertise?

In late November 2021, I went via the above course of and deleted a minimum of 20 apps on completely different units and closed about 15 completely different accounts. Among the apps and accounts had been simple to take away (e.g., a easy uninstall or choose of a Delete account button). Different programs required me both to have a stay chat with a customer support consultant or an e mail change.

How usually do you assessment your apps and accounts? If you happen to work in IT, do you encourage folks in your group to undergo the sort of course of? How do you systematically be sure that you solely hold apps and accounts you want energetic in your programs? Let me know the way you assessment your apps and accounts, both with a remark beneath or on Twitter (@awolber).

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