WipeDataOnMobileDevices-300x200 Wiped Clean? Read this before you sell or donate a smartphone!It’s time to update your mobile technology, but before you get too excited about your new smartphone, don’t forget that something needs to happen to your old device. Assuming it still works, you’ll want to wipe it clean before you sell, donate, or even dispose of your mobile phone.

Here are a few key steps to follow to ensure data security doesn’t fall by the wayside in the transition. We’d hate for any of your personal or proprietary company data to inadvertently fall into the wrong hands. We’ve divided this information by phone type (iPhone and Android phone), though many of the overarching concepts apply to all mobile devices, regardless of operating system.

iPhones

  1. Unpair your iPhone from your Apple watch (if you have one). This isn’t essential to the security of your device, necessarily, but it will make your life infinitely easier when your new smartphone arrives. (You’re welcome.)
  2. If you’re switching from an iPhone to an Android device, save yourself a bunch of headaches and missed messages by turning off iMessage. If you’re just upgrading to a new iPhone, this step isn’t necessary.
  3. Backup your phone to iCloud. This is important so that you don’t lose any data when you upgrade devices.
  4. Sign out of iCloud on your old device. This is as simple as going to Settings and then selecting your name and then scrolling down to the bottom of the page and selecting Sign Out. This will unpair your old smartphone with your iCloud account.
  5. Erase all locally stored data. Go to Settings>General and then scroll down and select Reset. Then choose the “Erase All Content and Settings” option.

Android Phone

  1. If you’re staying loyal to Android technology with your new smartphone, you’ll want to start by syncing your phone to your Android account. You can accomplish this by going to Settings>Users and Accounts>Synch>Sync
  2. Synching isn’t enough though – now it’s time to back everything up. Go back to Settings and select System>Backup and select Backup to Google Drive. This will ensure your data is securely saved and ready for downloading to your new mobile device.
  3. Encrypt your device (if it doesn’t automatically already encrypt data…newer devices will, older devices won’t). This will ensure that any unauthorized users don’t have access to your data, making it virtually unreadable by a third party. Simply go to the System settings and search for Encryption. Once there, you’ll see whether your device is already encrypted or if you need to move forward with the encryption process. As a heads up, if your device is not encrypted, encryption can take upwards of an hour and your phone will not be usable during this time, so plan to do this overnight or some other time when you won’t need access to your smartphone.
  4. Restore Factory Settings. This can be accomplished by selecting Settings>System>Reset (or Backup and Reset, depending on your specific device model)>Factory Data Reset>Reset Phone.

For all devices, regardless of operating system, your final two steps should be

  1. Remove SIM and storage cards, where applicable. Keep them if you plan to transfer them to your new device or have them destroyed if you plan to abandon them otherwise.
  2. Manually remove your device from any sites which have it saved as a “trusted device.” This shouldn’t be necessary if you’ve thoroughly followed all the steps above, but it’s an extra layer of protection to be sure.

It might seem like a lot (it’s really not), but trust us when we say it’s really pretty simple to wipe your device of any personal data successfully. The peace of mind alone makes it a worthwhile investment of time before selling or donating your old smartphone.

And if you have any questions about the process of wiping your old mobile device clean or how to set up your new smartphone, the team at ATB is just a phone call or click away.

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