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On regular computers we know that simply deleting a file, document, or photo from your device doesn’t really delete that item – it only removes the marker where it was located. There is software to easily recover those deleted items. In fact, anyone who gets your computer and runs that software can recover most anything you once had on your computer, provided it hasn’t been written over.
Believe it or not smartphones act much like small computers in many ways. Whether you are simply replacing your old phone with a new one, or preparing to give away or sell the old one, you’ll need to remove a LOT of stuff from your phone – just like you would on your real computer.
Remember, like your computer, it knows a lot about you – maybe too much. For example, there’s that photo of the weird rash on your inner thigh that you sent to a friend for a second opinion. Or that sexy photo that you wanted your significant other to see. Or maybe even party pictures you would never-ever want your mom to know about. Or maybe even work documents that you weren’t supposed to copy to your personal device in the first place.
So how does someone remove those unwanted items from their phone?
ERASING YOUR ANDROID PHONE
Keep in mind that, depending on your brand of Android, your settings may be labeled slightly differently.
- Keep your data safe
Yes, this also applies to Android users: if you’re planning to wipe your data, make sure you back it up first.
Backup: Settings> System> Backup
- Deactivate theft protection
To combat phone theft, Google came up with the “Factory Reset Protection” (FRP) button, which prevents your device from being easily reset without your consent. To deactivate FRP, you need to switch off your screen lock on some devices and then remove your Google account (below).
Turn off FRP: Settings> Security or Screen Security> Screen Lock switch to “Off”
- Log out of Google
You don’t need to log out of apps like Facebook, TikTok and Instagram individually, but you should at least log out of your Google account. This prevents data from being deleted from your backup when you reset.
Logout of Google: Settings> Accounts> click on Google account> “Remove Accounts”
- Lock the front door: turn on encryption
This one is important. Because a simple reset does not necessarily delete all data, you’ll need to encrypt your device. This means that the new owner won’t be able to access your data – even if they try. For Android users on 6.0 Marshmallow and later, encryption is automatically turned on.
Encrypt: Settings> Security> Advanced> Encryption & access data> Encryption on “On”
- Upload some fake data
Even once you’ve deleted data, Android phones will store it until something is saved on top of it. So, if you really want to be on the safe side, you’ll need to overwrite anything lurking beneath the surface. You can download random videos to fill up space, or use an app like Secure Eraser to do it for you.
- The Big Red Button
You’ve put a lot of effort into destroying all traces of yourself from your phone. At last, it’s time to hit Reset.
Reset: Settings> System> Advanced> Reset options> Erase all data (factory reset)
- Make Google forget it ever happened
You’ll forget all about your old phone as soon as you get your hands on a new one, but Google won’t forget that easily. To delete your phone from your Google account, go to Google device management, press the three dots and log out of the device.
ERASING YOUR IPHONE
If you have an iPhone, you’re in luck. Even six-year-old iPhones can earn you a few extra dollars. And if you still have the original box, it’s weirdly worth more.
- The watch has got to go
If you’re an Apple Watch kind of person, you’ll need to unpair it from your iPhone. Don’t worry, the watch will automatically back up your data. You’ll need to sit both devices next to each other while they unpair.
To Unpair: Open the Apple Watch app> “My Watch” tab> Press the i button> Unpair Apple Watch
- The safer the better
Now, on to your phone. Don’t lose the data you’re trying to secure – back it up first. If you have an iCloud account, you can start the backup on your iPhone, as long as you’re on WiFi. Otherwise, use iTunes.
Create Backups: Settings> Apple ID> iCloud> iCloud Backup> Backup Now
- Sign out of your Apple ID
If you don’t do this, data you’ve backed up previously could be deleted in the next few steps.
Apple ID: If you are using iOS 10.3 or later: Settings> Apple ID> Sign Out
If you’re using iOS 10.2 or earlier: Settings> iCloud> Sign out> “Delete from my iPhone”> Settings> iTunes & App Store> Apple ID> Sign out
Also very important: delete all of your messages.
Settings> Messages> “iMessage” slide to “Off”
- Delete photos and apps individually
This will be an Olympic exercise in patience, because Apple doesn’t let you delete all of your photos at once. Consider it a (potentially lengthy) trip down memory lane.
- If you don’t need your iMessages any more, delete
If you’re planning on switching to a non-Apple device, it’s best to delete your number from Apple. To do this, click this link and follow the instructions.
- The big red button: factory reset
Finally, the time has come to press the built-in reset button, brought to you by Apple. The reset will automatically switch off your passcode and Find My iPhone.
Factory Reset: Settings> General> Reset> “Erase All Content and Settings”
Your iPhone will take its time sorting itself out, and then that’s it. Thanks to Apple’s strong encryption you won’t need to worry about anyone digging up your old nudes. Pop out your sim and you’re good to go.
No matter the brand, your phone is now ready to be passed on to its next owner or simply tossed away without fear that someone might recover those nudes you’ve been hanging on to. Your photos and accounts are safe.
Be Safe – Backup Your Data Regularly!
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