A recent study by global cybersecurity leader Kaspersky Lab reveals what might be one of the greatest threats to you enjoying your phone’s full potential – digital clutter. While phone manufacturers continue on adapting to their users’ ever-growing need for more storage, it’s important to understand that optimal performance ultimately comes down to proper care & management of our mobile devices.

We have all been guilty of downloading applications we do not actually use and then fail to uninstall them, not until a tangible need arises. Looking at the numbers, Kaspersky’s report even shows that Android users typically install a staggering amount of 12 applications a month. Out of this, 10 are deleted while 2 remain like sitting ducks on your phone’s memory. In this kind of system, the need for maintenance is more called for than others. However, only 55% of users are found to regularly refresh and revise the contents of their device and delete unused files and apps.

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This reckless habit among consumers opens new risks for their mobile phones in the form of malicious software. The solution, of course, is consistent app cleansing and updating, a task 28% of users only do when they are forced to and 10% fail to do at all. This equates to more unprotected applications which means more vulnerabilities which means more holes in your defenses. Add to that are the dangers apps themselves bring in to the table. Technical findings from Kaspersky Lab show that of 100 Android apps users can manage (i.e. install and delete), 83 have access to sensitive user data, such as contacts, messages, and data, and even make calls and send SMS, some of which can operate without user permission. Here’s an infographic illustrating the secret life of apps.

To deal with this, here are some tips to combat the clutter and protect your personal data:

  • Understand what’s stored where – work out what information is stored on which apps and files on your device;
  • ‘Spring clean’ your device – regularly clear out and refresh information;
  • App & software updates – updates should be undertaken as soon as new versions are released;
  • Use dedicated software – software cleaners like those integrated into Kaspersky Lab’s flagship security solutions can be used to scan apps with potential risks or those rarely used.

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