A Guide To Simplifying Your Digital Life

We clean our rooms; we clean our drawers and we throw away stuff we don’t need, but digitally we don’t seem to bother.

If our digital life was a room, the room would be filled with 10000+ unread emails, old social media accounts we don’t use anymore and apps that we haven’t used in months but we keep it “just in case”.

So, here’s a little guide I put together to help you clean this mess up! 🤓

Your Apps

Scroll through your phone and find apps that you don’t use and delete them, then find apps that you don’t feel like give you any value or wastes your time and delete them.

On Android, there are apps that can help you do this (arguably, you could say this is a “Just In Case” app). My preferred one is Unused App Remover, I like this app because it has no-thrills and it just gets the job done.

Any apps that you can’t delete, try and disable or hide them from your phone.

Your Photos

For this, I’d recommend you’d upload all your photos onto cloud storage so you’d be able to access them anywhere.

If you’re not a huge privacy geek like me and you really like the Google Eco-system, then I’d recommend Google Photos. It has unlimited photo storage (albeit, kinda compressed but you really can’t see the difference) and it has useful features such as facial recognition which will automatically group photos according to who is in the photo.

(Not my image)

Other alternatives are uploading all your photos to a traditional cloud storage platform such as Dropbox or just using Apple iCloud, which is already quite integrated with iOS.

Now, scroll through your photos and delete duplicate images, weird screenshots you don’t need or random accidental selfies you’ve taken.

Your Notifications

I never really paid attention to notifications before. I used to just let them build up, but what I’ve found out is that, not only unnecessary notifications look really untidy, but they make you become less productive. Let’s fix that!

On Android

This may vary between devices due to Android versions and Android skins.

  1. Go into Settings
  2. Click Apps and Notifications
  3. Click “Notifications”
  4. Click “See all from last 7 days”
  5. Disable the ones you don’t click on or need

ON ios (iphones)

This may vary between each iOS

  1. Go into Settings
  2. Click “Notifications”
  3. Click on the apps you get unnecessary notifications from
  4. Hide them into the notification center or disable them completely

Your Computer Files

My computer files are the most messiest dump of ’digital waste‘ you will probably ever see. Full of images, .exe files and a lot of After Effects project files. You’ll probably be able to relate to an extent.

One step would be to put all your computer files on Cloud Storage, and using a sync client to integrate it with your File Explorer/Finder. The most popular Cloud Storage providers, such as Google Drive, Dropbox and iCloud (integrated into MacOS) should already have a sync client that you can use.

After doing this, you should re-evaluate all the files you have on your computer and think about whether or not you should move them onto cloud storage or delete them.

I’d then sort it all into folders that would act as little categories for all your files.

To do this I used MEGA, a privacy-first and encrypted Cloud Storage provider based in New Zealand that has plans that don’t break the bank and can be used on all devices.

This should remove all the clutter from your computer and should make it easier to navigate, not just on your computer but also on your mobile device.

Social Media

This is probably by far the most embarrassing one, I’m saying that from experience. 😂


Take a trip back into memory lane and scroll through your Twitter feed and delete the tweets you don’t want anyone to see.

If you don’t wanna go through all of that, there are tools like TweetDelete that are able to delete all tweets or certain tweets from a time period.


On Facebook, there’s a tool called ‘Limit Past Posts’ which will hide your current and past timeline posts. To find this, it’s in Settings > Privacy > Limit Past Posts. There are also Chrome extensions you can get like Social Book Post Manager, which can delete years worth of posts and images.

On Instagram, there are apps like Cleaner for Instagram which let you select how many photos you want deleted. If you want to keep your images, there is an archive button in the Instagram app.

Your Emails

This is the worst one.

My emails are mostly full of old email subscriptions I have never opened and loads of spam emails from companies that wanna give me ‘FREE SAMPLES’. Let’s solve that!

Do anyone still believe these?

The most manual way of doing this is to just scroll through your emails and then delete/unsubscribe the emails that you don’t really open or bring value to you.

To do that, it would be really labor intensive and it would take a long time as I have so many unread emails. Fortunately, there are apps like Cleanfox that can let you do that!

The app allows you to unsubscribe to mailing lists quickly. Swipe left to delete these emails or swipe right to unsubscribe from them, There is a keep button in the center in case you want to keep that mailing list and that email.

It also shows information on the amount of CO2 you have saved by unsubscribing to these emails and the amount of times you’ve opened emails from an individual mailing list.

Congratulations! You’ve successfully ‘cleaned your room’. You should receive less spam emails, less notifications and less burden to your online footprint, vital in a time where technology is becoming a bigger bigger part of our lives.

De-Googling my Android

“Everytime you create a new account, whenever you accept those dialogs that are asking for cookies, whenever you make a search online. You are being watched and companies from big to small are trying to build a big picture about who you are, your interests, your age and so much more.”

That was a quote from my GCSE English Speaking Language talk, It was about Digital Privacy and how big tech giants harnest our data to understand who we are; I talked about Cambridge Analytica, their affiliations with the Donald Trump campaign and why we should have more regulation on how tech companies use data and secure it. The outcome went well, I got a distinction and my teacher thinks I should get a job in cybersecurity.

And then I looked at my phone, the same phone I carry around everywhere, the same phone that I check my school timetable with, the same phone that sees all my text messages and the same phone that I take embarrasing photos of me and my friends and family with.

So from then on, I decided to break up with Big Tech.

App Store

F-Droid App Store

F-Droid is a repository of FOSS (Free and Open Source) software. It’s probably the most needed app if you’re going to start dropping Google Services. Through F-Droid you can find alternatives to apps you currently use; Most of them aren’t connected to a company and are created by developers.

Inside F-Droid, there’s another App Store called the Yalp Store which allows you to download Google Play Store apk’s in case you need anything that isn’t already there.

Google Drive/Google Calendar/Google Keep

Raspberry Pi 4

My sister’s boyfriend and the host of this site, Matt Burman, gave me a Raspberry Pi 4 for my birthday. After a bit of tinkering, I started using it as a NextCloud server and I managed to sync all my files, calendar, contacts and notes inside of it.

I use DAVx⁵ to sync it all onto my phone and so far I haven’t had any problems, however my instance is still locally hosted so if I’m away from my house I’ll not be able to upload and sync – I’m currently in the process of making it avaliable through a domain so I can use it.

NextCloud and NextCloud Notes have it’s own official applications but for my calendar; I use Etar, it’s open source and it has a really nice material UI.

This is better than using Google Services as there is no direct monthly fee and I can expand it without having to pay more in monthly costs, as well, it’s all open source and it has a whole range of plugins that can make it a joy to use.


Kiwi Browser Logo

Kiwi Browser is my go to browser. It’s a modified version and open source version of Chromium that supports Chrome Extensions and is really fast. It’s developed by Arnaud Granal and has a huge community behind it.

It also has a dark mode and an AMOLED mode, as well as a in-built ad blocker.

The browser was named Kiwi because Arnaud met a bird which caused him to drop his phone, he bought a cheap Android phone as a replacement and it was so slow, he couldn’t browse the web on it, this was his solution.

If you prefer something that’s on F-Droid, Fennec F-Droid is a another great choice. It’s a version of Firefox stripped of some of it’s proprietary code; Like the official Firefox app, you can use add-ons and sync it to your Firefox Account.


K-9!?! 😲

To replace the Gmail app on my phone, I started using K-9 Mail. It’s a no-thrills email app that supports IMAP, a dark theme, signatures and mostly everything you’d really need.

K-9 doesn’t have many alternatives that are going for it; Other clients I’ve used are either clunky or have missing features. That’s why I stick with it’s pre-lollipop outdated interface, It just works!

For my email hosting provider, I replaced G-Suite with Zoho Mail. It has enterprise quality security, it encrypts emails and it’s cheaper.

Other Apps

  • To replace Google News; I started using Feeder. It’s an open source RSS feed reader that has features like categories and exporting feeds
  • To replace Google Maps; I use OsmAnd. It’s a Open Street Maps viewer with turn by turn directions, I still use Google Maps as I’m still not quite sure about it’s reliablity.
  • To replace the YouTube app; I use NewPipe. It’s a open source YouTube client that has history, playlists, pop out video and background play. It’s a bit weird to get used to at first but it works really well and it consumes less battery.


Completely De-Googling is impossible at the moment. I still use Google Photos for my photos, I still use Google Pay to pay for my lunch, I still use Android Messages because of RCS, I still use Google Duo with my family and my sister gave me a Google Home so there’s no way I’d be able to let go overnight.

I will one day completely strap free from Google’s shackles, downloading all my data and letting go the accounts I ‘sign in with Google’ in, but until then, Google will still keep my information in their servers for them to experiment with and sell like a lab rat.