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2020 has been hard on everyone. Even your smartphone. A year of texting, snapping, browsing and listening takes a toll on devices and slows them down.

You can give your phone a quick re-fresh by addressing a data hog that takes up too much space.

The keyword is “Other” and you’ve seen it if you’ve ever looked to see what’s taking up room on your iPhone. Go to General Settings and iPhone Storage. That shows which files and content are taking up space.

And a good bit of that space is labeled as “Other”. It’s simply data and documents. Leftovers from apps, messages, photos, and even social media posts you’ve liked.

Facebook’s a good example. On my phone, the app is just over 200 megabytes. But it’s storing another 240 megabytes. That’s Other. Camera apps are even worse.

Go through your list. Delete the apps you don’t use. Offloading them doesn’t free up any of that data. So how do you get rid of it? One way is to delete the app and re-install it. You won’t lose anything and you’ll gain back that storage space. It can add up to quite a bit.

Another option is to make your phone new by resetting it to factory settings. Back up the phone to a computer or the iCloud. Do not skip that step. Then, in general settings, re-set the phone and choose to erase all content and settings. Scary I know, but if you’ve backed up the phone, you’ll be fine.

Your phone will be like it just came from the store. When prompted, restore the phone from where you backed it up, the iCloud, or from the computer. When I did it, my phone went from using over 48 GB, to just a little over 31. That’s a lot of space.

This will fix any sluggishness and other issues. It takes about a half-hour for everything. Make sure you have a good internet connection, you’ll need to be on WiFi to restore from the iCloud.

You won’t lose important photos, contacts, messages, or anything else you’ve backed up to the cloud. Like having a brand new phone.

STEPS TO BACKUP, RE-SET, AND RESTORE YOUR IPHONE

1. Backup your phone. This is THE most important step. Connect the phone to your PC or Mac or back up to the iCloud. You’ll see this option in settings
2. Reset your phone by going to Settings > General, then scroll to the bottom and tap on “Reset”. You’ll see several options here, choose “Erase all Content and Settings”
3. You’ll be asked if you’d like to update your iCloud Backup before erasing. If you skipped step 1, choose “backup then erase”.
4. Your phone will be returned to factory settings. This will probably take 15 minutes or less and your phone will display the Apple logo after shutting down and restarting
5. At the prompt to set up as a new iPhone or restore from backup, choose ‘restore from backup’
6. Select the location of your last backup. If you backed up to a computer you’ll need to connect to the computer. If you choose iCloud, you’ll need to be on a WiFi network

Once you follow these steps your content will be loaded onto your phone like new. Note that it’ll take a few minutes to re-install the apps.