I Don’t Transfer Any Data When I Get a New Phone or Computer

If you know me, then you probably know that I have what some might call a bit of a “technology problem.” I currently have four different MacBook Pro’s (three that I own and one for work). I have owned the last 4 generations of the iPhone(iPhone 5, iPhone 6, iPhone 7+, and iPhone X) and still have the last three generations. I think I still have every iPod and cellphone that I’ve ever owned stored away in boxes somewhere. I have five to seven different portable batteries of varying sizes. I have a different carry-on suitcase that’s only purpose is to allow me to travel with camera gear or other technology.

Okay, so maybe I do actually have a problem…but that’s not the point. The point is that I’ve used a lot of different computers and cellphones throughout the years. But with each of these new devices, I always start from scratch. The only thing I transfer over is my contacts because I know I need my contacts and those are automatically synced through Google.

This may seem like an odd thing to do, but there are a few very specific reasons why I choose to do it.

It automatically creates what I might consider modern day photo albums in the form of old phones

I don’t transfer any of the pictures from one phone to the another(unless there becomes a reason I need to have that picture again on the new phone). This naturally creates basically modern day photo albums for your life.

I can turn on all of my old phones and immediately jump into a different stage of my life. Each phone has all of the pictures that I had saved on that phone, instantly available for me to look through.

I also create backups of all of my pictures on a hard drive, but when I backup my phone’s pictures, I still group them by the phone they were saved on. By grouping them by the phone, even if I don’t turn on the actual phone, I still have naturally grouped selections of pictures from different times of my life.

This is something I really enjoy doing and I have already had times where I turned on an old phone just to go through the pictures and re-live those memories. I really enjoy the feeling of jumping back in time and being able to look at all of my pictures from that time of my life.

It forces you to only download the apps that you actually think you’re going to use on a new phone

With each new phone, also comes an app purge to remove the clutter and nonessential phone apps. When I get a new phone, I don’t just automatically download all of the apps that I had on the last phone. I manually go through and download the apps that I think I use on a regular basis.

Although I want to improve this even more(to truly only have the apps that I actively use) I think that starting fresh with each phone is a great start to decluttering my phone.

Some of the ways that I’m thinking about doing this better in the future are:

  • When I first get a phone, don’t download any apps to it, but only download an app once I want to actually use it.
  • Every few months do an app purge where I delete all of the apps that I’m no longer using.

You get to start from scratch with files on your computer too

I don’t transfer over the files on my computer until I actually need them. Obviously I have backups of everything, hard drives with files I use on a regular basis saved, and I transfer over any files I end up needing to have on the new computer, but I don’t do this by default.

I think there are so many things that we have saved on our computer that we don’t actually need. I think that by not transferring my files with each new device, then I will only have the files I need to currently have access to. It also means that I’m forced to be better about file backups, just incase I do need a file from 2 computers ago that no longer works or something like that.

There are some flaws in this system, like my Google Drive or hard drives, because those other file systems have a tendency to get cluttered as well. Maybe I’ll develop some systems for decluttering those in the future.

Why do I do this?

Life has a tendency to become cluttered and chaotic, so this is one small attempt of mine to remove as much clutter and chaos from the part of my life spent on my computer and phone (which is a lot of time…)

If I didn’t take these active steps to clean up the apps on my phone, the files on my computer, the emails in my inbox, or other decluttering methods of my digital life, then my life as a whole would become an absolute mess. I need, and want, to always remove as many of the unnecessary things from my life as possible, and this is one way I’m currently doing just that through my technology.

“Life tends to get more cluttered as we get older, but the more you can focus in on what’s important, to make things simple, the better off you’ll be.”

If you have any tips on simplifying your life, please comment them down below! I would love to hear them. If you liked the article leave a 👏 and follow me for more content like this.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Alex Walling

Alex Walling


Current: Field CTO RapidAPI. Former: Head of Sales Engineering & Developer Relations RapidAPI, Founder of HackCU. Part-time adventurer, full-time hooligan