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Bored with your iPhone? Give it new life with a quick overhaul

If you decided not to get the iPhone 13, you shake things up on your current iPhone or iPad with these tips.

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Your old iPhone can feel like new after a few tweaks. 

CNET

The buzz around the iPhone 13 might be causing some "fear of missing out," particularly if your older model is functioning just fine and you have no reason (or plan) to upgrade it just yet. How about if you could breathe new life into your old iPhone or iPad without spending a dime and, more importantly, not contribute to the wasteful phone upgrade cycle? With a little bit of time and a few tweaks, your older iPhone or iPad will feel brand-new again.

I'm not talking about cleaning the outside of your device. I'm talking about giving the software a bit of a tune-up to ensure that you have storage and that your device is running as smooth as possible. Subtle tweaks like moving app icons and changing your wallpaper can make an impact on the feel of your phone or tablet. You can also clear your cache and empty your "other" storage to free up space and make your iPhone speedy again. If you decide to go with a new model entirely, here's how to factory reset your iPhone before selling or trading in.

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Reset your home screen's app layout for a fresh start

Personally, I know I grow bored of my home screen layout and constantly find myself moving an app, folder or widget around just to change things up a little bit. But there are times when I want to start all over, so I reset my home screen layout completely. 

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You can find this setting by going to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone > Reset > Reset Home Screen Layout. Once you use this option, the built-in apps will go back to their default position and you'll have the chance to rearrange or organize your phone. 

I've found that doing this often reminds me about old apps I never use anymore, which I can then delete instead of leaving them on my home screen hidden in some folder I created a while back to, well, hide apps I no longer use. This brings me to my next tip: Delete unused apps.

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How many apps that are installed on your iPhone or iPad do you actually use? 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Get rid of those single-use apps

Not only do old apps take up precious storage space on our devices, but they clutter up your home screen and, depending on your privacy selections when you first installed the app, can potentially check your location or monitor your contacts or calendars. Instead of letting an app you no longer use take up space or have access to your data, take a few minutes to delete any and all apps you no longer use. 

With the release of iOS 14 last year, Apple changed how you delete apps on the iPhone. But instead of the default method, I'm going to show you another way. Open the Settings app, then go to General> iPhone/iPad Storage and wait for the list to load.

Read more: Here's everything to know about iOS 15, and what to look forward to in iOS 15.1 and iOS 15.2.

Scroll through the list of apps installed on your phone or tablet. When you find one you want to get rid of, tap it, then select Delete App

When I'm removing a lot of apps, I prefer to use this method because it's easy to see everything installed in a list instead of having to go folder to folder. 

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New wallpapers every day? Go on, I'm listening. 

Angela Lang/CNET

Get a new wallpaper every day

After your Home Screen is free of unnecessary apps and reorganized, here's another easy way to keep it looking fresh every day. Apple's Shortcut app is a powerful tool for all sorts of uses, but one thing I use it for daily is to set a random image from Unsplash as my iPhone and iPad's wallpaper. 

Open this link on your phone or tablet, then add the Shortcut. Once it's added, you'll need to create a personal automation in the Shortcuts app via the automation tab at the bottom. Pick a day and time you want it to run, then select Run Shortcut and pick the Unsplash Wallpaper shortcut. 

Now the shortcut will run at your set time (I have mine run every morning at 6 a.m.) and your wallpaper will be new and fresh every day. 

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Check which apps or services you're subscribed to. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Triage your current subscriptions

More and more apps are moving to the subscription model and it's easy to forget what you've signed up for. Take a quick glance at your App Store subscriptions by opening the Settings app. Tap on your iCloud name at the top of the screen, followed by Subscriptions

A list of everything your Apple ID is signed up for, complete with cost and renewal date, will show up after a few seconds. Tap on anything you want to cancel, which should still allow you to use the app or service until your renewal date.

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A few minutes of work now can make all the difference. 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Really want to get crazy? Do this

Resetting your device settings will give you a clean slate without deleting any apps or accounts stored on your phone or tablet. This is an extreme option and one that requires extra thought. But it's all too easy to enable or disable a setting and forget you did that, then grow annoyed with how your device works. Resetting all of your device's settings gives you a fresh start. 

Go to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone > ResetReset All Settings. You'll need to enter your passcode and confirm your decision. 

Warning! Be sure to tap Reset All Settings and not Erase All Content and Settings. That option will factory-reset your iPhone or iPad, removing all apps, documents and accounts on your device, and you'll truly have to start all over. 

After giving your iPhone or iPad a spring-cleaning treatment, take a few minutes to learn more about iOS 15's most useful features. We also found some hidden iOS 15 features you'll want to know about. Of course, you should also clean the outside of your phone or tablet.