With New Year’s resolutions on our minds we have 6 tips to take hold of your digital life in 2020.

Here’s our Top 6 Tips for 2020 Digital Check-Up

  • Manage Your Passwords
  • Clean up your Inbox
  • Manage Subscriptions
  • Scan and/Or Organize Photos
  • Clean Up Your Smartphone
  • Clean Up Your Desktop

Okay, let’s go! 

Manage Your Passwords

Hackers just need one password to break in and steal your digital data. Using the same password over and over literally opens the door to trouble. 

Your goal: use one unique password for every secure website you frequent. This password should contain a combination of lowercase and uppercase letters as well as numbers and symbols. Some experts recommend really long words like ineedapasword4mycats as a variant. It can be easier to remember.

If you’re like most people you have way too many passwords. What is the best method to keep track of them? You can keep an analog record (little black book) or use a password manager.

Google has a Password Manager for chrome and android. Apple has Keychain and Keeper. Consumers Advocate ranked their 10 Best Password Managers for 2020 Here. PC Magazine posted their list Here.

Why change your passwords? Ring Video Doorbell hacks are a great example. The video doorbell hackers use your WiFi password as a door or access point to any other device on that network. This could be your laptop from work, your child’s tablet for school, the thermostat, baby monitor, other cameras. Your car and health devices are next as more move to the internet.

Clean Up Your Inbox

This is a whole project on its own depending on how up to date you keep your inbox. According to a study published in 2015 the average person gets 94 business email every day. No wonder it seems that they pile up. At a high level: 

  • Delete emails that are not essential and more than 30 days old
  • A trick we have used is to check your inbox daily and respond to anything that will take 5 minutes or less
  • Unsubscribe to inbox clutter like newsletters, promotional and marketing emails if they no linger meet your needs
  • Clean up digital clutter like downloads, documents and photos. These can be digitally filed or deleted. Duplicate  files contribute to version control problems, take up storage and slow things down.

Manage Subscriptions

We talked about subscriptions filling up your inbox. They also impact your finances. Are you using all of your video streaming services, dating apps, music services, audiobooks, meal plans, workout plans, shopping services? And more!

The beauty of subscriptions is that you can cancel anytime. The negative is that they ding your credit card, whether we use them or not. The 2nd negative is that they don’t make it easy to find the unsubscribe. First step make a list and pare it down. Second step is unsubscribe and save on these reoccurring fees.

Scan and/or Organize photos

Physical damage, loss of your phone or natural disaster are all risks to your photos and videos. This is a good time to preserve, organize and share!

Physical photos can be scanned, organized digitally and stored.

Digital photos on your phone or digital device need to be backed up.

There are several companies that offer scanning as a service. FedEx stores often have a scanner on site. We have found that the printer scanners are an affordable option. This way you can work at your pace, sort as you go and not risk shipping and losing what you are trying to preserve.  

To back up your digital files you have several options.

Google Photos is a free service, that offers unlimited backup for photos and videos. However, Google lowers the resolution, just not as drastically as Facebook. For photos and data, many look to online cloud backup from Google Drive, Apple iCloud, Microsoft OneDrive and Dropbox. These services charge monthly, annually or based on storage volume. 

Offline or external drive storage is always an option.The costs may be more affordable but management is still up to you.

Clean Up Your Smartphone 

Your phone has tools onboard to help identify storage culprits; apps, music, video and downloads. A few steps to get you started:

  1. Delete and organize apps. Settings on your phone will show a breakdown of storage, when each app was last used and how much space it takes up.
  2. Clear out cache on individual apps. Facebook, Instagram and games temporary files or cache can take up quite a bit of space. 
  3. Manage photos and music. Upload to the cloud but also delete what you don’t want to save. We had several quick snaps or failed selfies that were best deleted.
  4. Clean out your downloads folder, another storage hog. This includes deleting unused downloaded data such as podcasts and videos. Services like Spotify, YouTube and maps also contribute to this storage. Settings on your iPhone allow you to automatically delete Safari downloads after 1 day or when used. You can manage downloads in the App Store.
  5. Clean up Contacts. We took the approach of scanning a letter a day and editing where it made sense. Delete contacts you can’t remember, temporary contacts and duplicates. 

Clean Up Your Desktop

There are so many options for the tablet or desktop used when not on your phone.

These steps should look familiar

  • Clear out cache
  • Uninstall apps you are not using
  • Remove mail attachments
  • Remove large files
  • Review and empty downloads folder
  • Clean up icons, screenshots and files on the desktop by deleting and/or placing in folders
  • Empty Trash.

Happy Cleaning!