NEW YORK — Just how much old information is sitting in your smartphone? In a few months, it will be time for spring cleaning, and while that used to solely refer to household cleansing, many Americans would be wise to spend some time cleaning out their digital devices as well.
A survey of 2,000 Americans revealed that 52% have never deleted any files, apps, or anything else from any of their devices. Another 33% said they have files on their phones or other devices that are ten or more years old!
The survey, commissioned by Western Digital, analyzed the digital storage habits of respondents, finding that, for whatever reason, 41% actively avoid deleting pictures and videos from their digital devices. Meanwhile, many (78%) transfer their files from one device to another. Of those who transfer data between devices, 10% don’t delete old files during this process.
All that digital hoarding means that one-quarter of participants’ data storage is made up of old, unnecessary files. Talk about a waste of space. It’s especially puzzling why so many people hold on to all their files considering 24% said they would be embarrassed if someone went through their digital devices. Overall, about 60% said they have considered going through and deleting old files, but they haven’t found the time.
The survey also asked respondents why they never delete old files. The top excuse given was a nagging feeling that they might need those files sometime in the future.
“Over the past decade, there’s been a significant increase in the desire to capture and share every moment,” says Western Digital vice president David Ellis in a statement. “With the staggering volume of photos, videos and documents created every second, there are challenges with storing and managing all these digital files, which we refer to as a state of ‘digital chaos.’ There are also growing concerns about privacy.”
Many other respondents said they consider their old files memories that they don’t want to lose (35%). Another 32% said they consider clearing out old files to be a boring chore, and 26% feel too guilty about deleting their old files.
However, 24% also said they often feel stressed by the amount of old data sitting on their phones, and 21% believe all that hoarding has a negative impact on their overall wellbeing.
Over half of those surveyed said they like using cloud technology to store their files, adding that they find the cloud more convenient than using a physical device. However, many respondents have reservations about cloud technology; 28% said they don’t think their files are safe from deletion or spying in the cloud.
The survey was conducted by OnePoll.