Start the year fresh with a device reset

If you use a tablet or a smartphone and have been using it for 6-12 months or more, chances are it is not feeling as fast as it used to. This can happen for several reasons. Maybe the device is running low on space or many apps are running in the background. The conspiracy theorist in me thinks that smartphone manufacturers design them to slow down over time, so people will want to replace their devices while they still have useful life left.

This is why, at the beginning of each year, I do my annual device reset on all my devices.

  1. Make sure all pictures and other files are backed up on your computer. Windows Phone will automatically back up your photos with Skydrive, IOS will back them up with PhotoStream/iCloud, and Android will automatically back up photos to Google Drive, so if you use these services, you don’t have anything to worry about. Any apps can be downloaded again.
  2. Store contacts on a service like Gmail or so they can be easily restored. Don’t just store them on your device
  3. Any videos you have downloaded from Google Play, Amazon Instant Video, Xbox Video, or Itunes can be re-downloaded. Store your music in Amazon Cloud Player or Google Music so you can re-download it.
  4. Reset your device to factory settings

For IOS:

For Android:

For Windows Phone:

Important: your device will give you the option to reset and restore from a backup. For my annual device reset, I don’t do this—I wipe it out and start new. If my device is cluttered up with a bunch of junk, resetting and restoring from a backup will put the junk back. I reset to default, not restore from a backup.

Once the device is reset, I add the basics back. Email, Twitter, Facebook, and my password manager 1Password.  Only add other apps and services when you need to use them.

The result will be like you got a brand new device for Christmas. You will be surprised to find how many of the apps and services that you had installed on your device before the reset that you really can live without, and your phone or tablet will feel as fast as the day you got it.

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