Wiping Personal Info from Smartphone and Tablet

Posted by Kirhat | Tuesday, March 17, 2015 | | 0 comments »

Wiping Phone Memory
Have you recently upgraded your smartphone or tablet? You might be wondering what to do with your old gadget, besides letting it sit in a closet or drawer.

Whether you sell it, recycle it, give it to charity or use it as a doorstop, there's one thing you must, absolutely, without a doubt, do first. You should wipe out your personal information.

The easiest way to erase personal data on a smartphone or tablet is with a factory reset. You'll also want to remove any SIM card or SD card that might be in the gadget.

For Apple gadgets, go to Settings>>General>>Reset. Select "Erase All Content and Settings" and then tap the red button that pops up.

For Androids, things are a bit more complicated. There was a huge news story recently when security company avast! decided to see how good a factory reset is. So, it grabbed 20 used Android phones that were reset and went fishing.

Avast! managed to pull more than 40,000 photos from the phones, including more than 1,500 pictures of children, 750+ racy images of women and 250+ nude male selfies. Of course, avast! also got Google searches, emails, texts, contacts and one complete loan application.

Getting rid of that kind of stuff is the whole point of wiping your phone, so avast's news was a little worrying.

Naturally, avast! says the solution is to use the "thorough wipe" feature in its paid app. However, there are other ways.

The phones avast! tested were running older versions of Android, which aren't as secure. To see what version of Android you're running, go to Settings>>About Phone and look under Android version.

If you have a gadget running Android 4.1 or higher, you can go to Settings>>Personal>>Backup & Reset. Then select the Factory data reset button. That is enough, but you can follow the instructions below if you want to be double sure.

For older gadgets, you'll want to encrypt your files before you wipe the phone. The factory reset will keep casual snoops away, and encrypting the data will make it impossible for techies to read anything they do find.

To encrypt your phone, go to Settings>>Security. If you can't find the option there, check your gadget's manual - every version of Android has it somewhere a little different.

After you've turned on encryption, go to Settings>>Personal>>Backup & Reset. Then select the Factory data reset button.

For Windows Phone 8, go to Settings>>About>>Reset Phone. A pop-up menu will ask you to confirm.

Before you do this, make sure the information you need is already on your new smartphone or tablet. Once you've done this, you can't recover anything.


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