Like a 1998 Volkswagen Jetta, your smartphone needs maintenance and care to keep it running at full capacity. Many users don't consider the easy things they can do to optimize their shiny pocket computers — after all, it's not like they'll catch on fire if left alone. But there are always little changes that can be made to revamp your phone's performance, from battery hacks to space-saving fixes that will have it running much faster.
Your phone is among the most important tools you use every day, so why not make sure it's in tip-top shape? Below is a list of simple tricks you can use to get your device running like the day it was born. Best of all, each step will take you less than 30 seconds.
1. Get rid of the crap.
You love to reminisce over 4-year-old conversations with high school acquaintances and the 39 identical photos of fireworks you took last July 4 — we get it. But they're taking up an unnecessary amount of space, and you can back them up on your computer anyway.
Start with your texts. You can set Messages to delete all messages more than 30 days old, which gets those enormous and forgotten photo threads off your phone without having to think about it. Go to Settings, then Messages, and opt to keep messages for just 30 days, not one year or forever.
2. Delete the apps you never use. Everything except Stocks, which will be on your phone forever.
You can't actually delete those stupid default iOS apps, but you probably wish you could. Regardless, you've probably downloaded some useless apps at some point in the last few years, and it's time to ditch them.
Take a Marie Kondo approach to purging your app collection and delete everything that doesn't bring you joy.
Or go all out, like BuzzFeed's Charlie Warzel did, and delete everything; start over by downloading only what you need.
Like extraneous text messages, photos and videos, apps can take up precious space, which translates to a slower phone. Speed it up by deleting the crap you downloaded on a whim at 3 a.m., like iBeer or Panties Detector.
3. ...and clear out the ones that store a lot of stuff.
Here's where to start. Go to Settings, then General, then Usage, then Manage Storage, and you'll find a list of your apps organized by the storage they eat up. Anything over 100 MB could use a second look.
Pro-tip: Free up memory and improve speed by clearing Pocket: Simply wipe your saved stories in the app's settings. Or take your Spotify playlists and uncheck the "offline play" function.
4. Airplane mode is your friend.
Some people swear by charging their phones on airplane mode, claiming that it takes less time because the radio signals are disabled. This, as Engadget's Yoni Heisler reported in 2014, is true — to a point. When airplane mode was engaged, his iPhone 5s charged slightly faster: From 1 percent to 25 percent in 18 minutes versus 21 minutes without airplane mode, and from 1 percent to 95 percent in an hour and 29 minutes versus one hour and 32 minutes.
If your phone is on the verge of dying, however, putting it on airplane mode will extend its life until you can find a charge.
5. Turn off the buzzing.
Vibrate mode has many benefits: It's quiet, subtle and, unlike sound, you can feel it if your phone is in your pocket or anywhere else on your body.
Unfortunately, it also drains the battery life. As PC World explains, "A ringtone only has to make a tiny membrane in your phone's speaker vibrate enough to produce sound. In contrast, the vibration motor swings a small weight around to make your whole phone shake."
6. All of the lights (all of the lights) are draining your battery.
From Steve Jobs himself (well, from Apple): "Dim the screen or turn on Auto-Brightness to extend battery life." It may seem self-evident, but sometimes the allure of a bright phone screen in the midst of the dark abyss that is life can be as tempting as one of those creepy bright monster fish things. Don't give in.
7. Settings are a magical land of space and speed.
If you want to see what's taking up the most space and battery life, venture into the wonderful land of Settings. In addition to the biggest space hogs, you can see what percentage of your battery each app is eating up, as well as what proportion of your memory each app requires.
8. Clear your cache on Safari.
While it's likely not the largest space hog on your phone, Safari's cache is full of data that takes up valuable memory on your beloved phone. Clear it out by going to the Safari tab in Settings.
9. Turn your damn phone off every once in a while.
The world won't end! We promise. iPhones are incredibly easy to leave on 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, but as one Apple employee told CNET, turning it off every once in a while can do wonders for its life. After all, a phone is still a piece of hardware — like anything else, overuse will eventually catch up to it.
One thing you probably don't have to worry about, however...
Otherwise, go forth and conquer your phone's optimal performance capabilities. We know you'll be happier together for it.