Before trading in your old smartphone or selling it on eBay, you really need to think about the data you could be selling on too.
Making sure you wipe all personal data from your smartphones has never been so important, and luckily this is something which we’re all becoming more and more aware of. But with each device comes a different data wiping technique – and how can you be sure it’s all gone anyway?!
Back up first
Before we get started make sure that you have everything backed up on a hard drive or new phone, as you won’t be getting all of your info back when you’ve deleted it. The more you transfer the better – you don’t want to be losing any of your favourite photos or important contacts after all. And that’s just some of what we’re getting rid of.
General tips for wiping data from your smartphone
Take that SD card out, now. Whatever you do, don’t send that SD card off unless you’ve completely wiped it of all your data first. This tiny card is actually capable of holding a lot of information and you probably won’t want anyone else accessing it.
Even after your SIM card and and SD card have been removed, it’s amazing how much personal data is still stored in that smartphone. We’re talking about emails (which contain more than we probably realise), apps – even banking ones. You don’t want to leave traces of any of this behind. Different phones offer different data wiping options though – so that’s why we’re here to help.
Wiping data from your Android phone
In any main menu on an Android phone you’ll be able to find ‘Settings’ and you should find a ‘Privacy’ or ‘Back up and restore’ option in there. Tap on the ‘Factory Data Reset’ option to wipe all of your data – entirely back to factory settings as it suggests.
Luckily a warning screen appears, so if you’re just having a practice then you won’t end up deleting all of your personal information in one swift move – tap on ‘Reset phone’ if you do want to continue.
Usually, within the same menu, you’ll have the option to wipe your SD card too so – as stated above – this is an absolute must if you’re planning to sell it on.
Wiping data from your iOS device
When you first try to wipe data from your iPhone it seems like you’re going to have to do each section individually, but that really isn’t the case. Again in your ‘Settings’ menu – go to General, then ‘Reset’ and a bunch of options will appear.
Basically there are lots of individual elements which you could delete or reset, but if you’re selling your phone on you just want to select ‘Erase all content and settings’. You’ll receive a warning message with this one too which says ‘Erase iPhone’ – once you tap that, all your data will be wiped. As you can see from the above image, this could take quite some time.
Wiping data from your Windows Phone
We wouldn’t always argue that Windows Phone was the easiest operating system to use, but as far as deleting your data goes, they make it pretty simple.
From the home screen, head to the ‘Applications’ menu then ‘Settings’ to ‘System’ and ‘About’ where you’ll find the ‘Reset Your Phone’ button. It’s as simple as tapping that that option. As with the other operating systems, your phone will pop up with a warning message so that you don’t accidentally delete all of your data. But just tap yes to continue, twice. It really wants to make sure you’re sure.
Remotely wiping data from your smartphone
Having your phone lost or stolen makes your heart skip a beat when you realise the kind of information inside – luckily there are now apps which allow you to remotely wipe data and lock your devices fom elsewhere.
1. Remotely wiping your Android device
For Android we recommend Android Lost – by registering your Google account you’re able to remotely lock and find your smartphone. You can even set a passwork and lock the SIM card slot. This is actually a pretty good idea generally to be honest – you can even set an alarm to find your phone if it’s stuck down the sofa or something.
2. Remotely wiping data from your iPhone
Luckily, thanks to iCloud – Apple allows users to easily remotely wipe data from their devices. If you have the Find My iPhone app installed on another Apple device then use that, but if not head over to icloud.com to use the web-based version. The site will walk you through the process – where you can remotely lock it, wipe it or send a message if you need to.
3. Remotely wiping data from your Windows Phone
Microsoft has a pretty similar system to Apple when it comes to remotely wiping your data. If you head over to the Windows Phone website, you can click on ‘My Phone’ and use it to locate, wipe, lock or display a message on your phone. It’s all pretty clever stuff really.
Basically you just need to remember this – wipe data from smartphones. Wipe it twice. Using the above technique should ensure that no one else can get their hands on it.
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