Get Your Devices Ready and Secure for 2017

Digital Family, Security & Privacy

The cliché used to be that you can tell a lot about how a person’s mind by looking at her desktop. If that’s true, it’s probably even more true of the desktops of your mobile devices and PCs.

Old bills, receipts and documents stack up and demand attention. But what about all the digital files that have been sorted or sort themselves? Or how about the apps download that may obsess us for days and then never be opened again?

Some device owners learn the hard way that their phones, tablets and PCs don’t like to be filled up. It can result in apps spontaneously quitting, sudden reboots, and general slowness. Keeping your media from accumulated too close to your hard drive capacity is a constant effort if you have an active media diet or a too small drive. Deleting media you don’t need portable and setting podcasts to delete after you listen to them helps.

In Ancient Rome, the first day of the year was dedicated to Janus — the God of Gates and Doors, who was often depicted looking both backward and forward. So if you aren’t planning on getting a new device for the new year, now is a good time to look back at the digital gunk you’ve accumulated and do a little cleaning.

The basic process of rejuvenating your device is pretty simple but how you do it varies slightly for each platform. Here it is in a nutshell:

Remove apps you don’t use and media you don’t need. Back up what you can in a secure cloud — using a strong, uncrackable password for each account. Secure your device with the latest updates and security software.

Here’s a quick look at how this looks on some of the biggest operating systems:

Android
– After you’ve cleared out the stray apps, start with your built-in clean-up tool in the Storage pane. See which apps have the most data in the cache and start deleting. Now if you’re on Wi-Fi go to Settings –> About Phone/Tablet –> System/Software Updates –> Check Now — Restart & install (if necessary).

iOS – Once you’ve eliminated all the apps you don’t usecheck out your Total Storage and consider deleting apps that have accumulated hundreds of megabytes of storage and redownloading them. Also be sure to clean out the caches of your browsers — Safari or Chrome. Now if you’re on Wi-Fi or directly connected to iTunes, go to Settings and see if you have a Software Update waiting for you.

Windows– It’s easier to get in trouble deleting filed on your PC than a mobile device but Windows 10 makes deleting apps more similar to a mobile experience. Do that then review and empty your “Recycle Bin.” Windows 10 also makes it easy to manage your Storage — just  click on Windows Key + I –> System –> Storage — and delete temporary files, neither of which are likely to present further problems while freeing up space. Windows 10 should keep your security updated automatically. To check on this, click Start –> Settings > Update & security –> Windows Update –> Check for updates.

macOS — Start with your Applications folder. Click on the “Size” heading to get a sense of where you’re using most of your storage.  Carefully get rid of the programs you aren’t using. Your Mac OS X actually has several Trash cans that you can clear out. Clear out the can for your main account by control + clicking on it. If you are an iPhoto, iMovie or Mail user, you need to clear out the bins in each of those programs individually. Also, take  a look at your “Downloads” folder to see if you can start doing some deleting there. macOS Sierra contains several new storage tools to clear up disk space that you should check out. Now click on the Apple in the upper left hand corner –> About this Mac –> On the Overview Screen click Software Update. Now you’re in the App store. You can click there directly and click Updates in the upper right to update other apps any time.

Now make sure you’re secure. F-Secure SAFE protects your life on any device — PCs, Macs, Smartphones and Tablets. Make sure you’re protected whether you’re shopping, banking or just swiping through the apps you actually use.

Now that’s looked behind, you’re ready to look forward to 2017.

[Image by Jay Huang via Flickr]

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