Your iPhone wants a fresh start in 2022, too

Start 2022 strong by giving your same-old iPhone a tune-up in time for the new year.

Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
4 min read

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


It's the end of the calendar year, which means it's time to get your life together. And by "life," we mean, at least in part, your phone. That's right, your iPhone could use a fresh start in 2022 as well. Maybe it's slowed down lately, maybe it's bloated with extra apps or maybe it needs a new aesthetic. Whatever the case may be, 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 smoothly 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.

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. 

Watch this: iOS 15: How to manually update your iPhone right now

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.


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 15.2.

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. 


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. 

Read more: Best iPhone 13 accessories to supercharge your videos and photos


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.

Read more: Best MagSafe chargers for iPhones


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. Plus, here are the best iPhone 13 cases.