Software

Five apps for getting rid of smartphone clutter

If your phone is starting to seem like an overstuffed closet, clean it up with one of these apps.

Like PCs, smartphones can accumulate a lot of clutter in the form of duplicate pictures, temporary files, and unused applications. All this clutter can rob your phone of performance and decrease available storage space. Fortunately, a number of utilities can help you to cut through some of the mess.

Note: This article is also available as an image gallery and a video hosted by TechRepublic columnist Tom Merritt.

1: Memory & Disk Scanner Pro

Memory & Disk Scanner Pro (Figure A) is a utility for determining how system resources are being consumed on an iOS device. It offers a dashboard display of the current memory and disk usage. Memory stats shown on this screen include active, wired, free, system, and total. It also shows you the free, used, and total disk space. A one-click function identifies the amount of space being consumed by junk files. If you want more comprehensive information, you can drill down into additional system specs and view detailed information about the individual processes that are currently running. Once the junk has been identified and you have had a chance to review it, you can remove junk with a single tap.

Figure A

Figure A

A free trial version of Memory & Disk Scanner Pro is available, but you'll need to upgrade to the Pro version to continue using the app beyond the trial period.

2: Clean Master

Clean Master (Figure B) is an Android app that is designed to help you to detect and remove junk from your phone. The Clean Master dashboard screen shows the amount of storage and memory currently being consumed on the device. This screen also details the amount of space being consumed by junk files. You can drill down into the list of junk files to see files categorized by type.

Figure B

Figure B

Clean Master is free for Android.

3: Mobile Assistant

Mobile Assistant (Figure C) is a free tool designed to help you to manage your phone's resources. While not strictly a tool for freeing up additional storage, Mobile Assistant includes a rather nice cache cleaner. It examines the cache and clears out things like browser files, downloads, music, videos, ring tones, and wallpapers.

Figure C

Figure C

Mobile Assistant also includes a variety of other utilities, including a sound recorder, battery monitor, camera app, QR code reader, and flashlight. The utility also provides shortcuts to commonly used settings such as Wi-Fi, Location, Airplane Mode, and Power Saver.

Mobile Assistant is available for Windows Phone.

4: Cache Cleaner Pro

Cache Cleaner Pro (Figure D) is a simple but effective app for Windows Phone. It determines how much storage exists on your phone and how much of that storage is still available. It then allows you to reclaim some storage space by emptying the phone's cache. The cache cleaning process can be completed with a single tap. A History screen keeps track of your cache cleaning operations and the amount of space reclaimed by each.

Figure D

Figure D

Cache Cleaner Pro is free for Windows Phone.

5: Storage Cleaner

Storage Cleaner (Figure E) is an app for cleaning temporary files off your Windows Phone. It shows the space available prior to cleaning, the current status, and the space consumed by temporary files. Storage Cleaner is easy to use. Just tap Begin to start analyzing the phone's contents and then tap Delete to get rid of temporary files.

Figure E

Figure E

However, the discovery process is a little strange. During this phase, the temporary file count steadily increases and the space that is currently available steadily decreases until it hits 0. It appears as though the app consumes every bit of space on your phone. But in actuality, the app really does free up space consumed by temporary files. In my tests I was able to recover about 20 MB of space even though I had just cleaned the phone using Cache Cleaner.

Storage Cleaner is free for Windows Phone.

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