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Time to do some tech cleaning

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Photo: Video by tmj4.com

Time to do some tech cleaning

By Stephanie Graham, Vince Vitrano. CREATED Aug 11, 2014

Like many of us, Caryn Bailey keeps a lot of photos in her phone. She often deletes unused apps to make room for pictures, but she didn't worry about any other implications, like her privacy, until recently.

"Twitter sent me a message and told me that one of the apps that is connected to Twitter was actually hacked, and so somebody had compromised my password," she said. "So I had to reset my password. It was a little bit unnerving."

Unnerving because it reminded her some apps she downloads have permission to access her social media, her contacts, and other personal information. Experts said going through all your apps and taking a look at what you've given them permission to see, save and send to others, is one step you should take as part of a regular cleaning of your tech.

"With some apps it's the developers that have access to this information, and with other apps they actually have agreements with third parties, whether data brokers or advertising companies where they send this information to them," said Adi Kamdar, with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. 

In reviewing all your apps, Kamdar said you should delete anything you don't use. He said cleaning, should happen often.

"Go through your apps maybe once a month or so and figure out, 'Do I still need this?' The apps that you don't use anymore may still be collecting information about you whether you know it or not. Sometimes these apps run in the background," he said.

If you're concerned about permanently deleting an application you paid for, Kamdar said not to worry.

"Usually when you buy an app or when you install an app, you have it forever on the store so you can just download it again without paying any more," he said.

While you're purging apps, John Walls of the Wireless Industry Association said it's always a smart practice to change your passwords.

"It's good to have that backup protection," he said. "These days, you know, we have so much personal information in our devices. They're carrying our life story basically."

As for Caryn, she said she is all for cleaning up her phone and making space for more of what she actually uses.

"There's some apps that I downloaded like when I first joined Twitter. So, those apps I don't even hear about anymore and I probably should nix them," she said.

Experts said when you download new apps, pay attention to what permissions they're requesting and be sure to understand exactly what you're giving the application access to.

Another tip? While you're cleaning your tech, it's a good time to review your contacts list and get rid of anything you no longer need.