By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Whether it’s apps cluttering your smartphone or tablet or old devices gathering dust in a drawer, your digital life could use a spring cleaning, too.

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3 On Your Side consumer reporter Jim Donovan has some advice that can help protect privacy and keep devices running smoothly.

It doesn’t take long for apps to collect on a tablet, emails to pile up in an inbox, and data to be a drain on a smartphone. Virtual clutter isn’t just annoying; in some cases, it leaves personal data exposed for no real reason.

A good starting point for a digital spring cleaning is passwords. Many of us use the same one for multiple sites, or short and simple combinations that aren’t the best options for online security.

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“You have to have a strong password, and that means eight characters that include things like punctuation and capitalization and numbers, and of course nobody can remember all of those passwords. So you can use a password vault to be able to keep them safely and securely, whether that’s on your computer or your smartphone or your tablet,” said Suzanne Kantra, with Techlicious.

Two big culprits of digital clutter are email and apps. Unsubscribe to newsletters, daily deals and other emails you don’t read, or move them from your inbox and into folders. And apps that haven’t been used in a while may be siphoning more than just space.

“They’re also requesting information, they may be looking for your location so that they can provide nearby information,” said Kantra.

Add that to being a significant drain on your battery, so if you’re not using them, why have them on your system at all? Get rid of them as part of your digital spring cleaning.

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