Are you looking to get rid of your old device? You don’t want all those selfies of you and your cat sitting alone on a Friday night falling into the wrong hands. Keep in mind, short of completely destroying your device, there is no 100% foolproof way to completely get rid of your data. With the right tools and a lot of moxy, someone who really wants to see you recent browser history can get that information. But there are steps you can take to significantly decrease the chances of that happening.
Currently there are 3 main mobile operating systems out there (yes, we are even including Windows phones). We’ll take you step by step on how to successfully protect all of your precious and sensitive data from lingering on your device when you go to get rid of it in this 3 part series.
- Make sure you backup everything, even your contacts. There are several apps that can do this for you, but the easiest way is to plug your device into your computer and transfer all of you things over to your PC or Mac.
- Remove your SIM card and any external SD cards you have.
- Logout of all of your email & social media accounts. Make sure you sign out of any applications that you had to separately sign into as well.
- It helps to write down the serial number of your device for your records, just in case.
If your device is running Android 5.0 Lollipop or later, there is a good chance that the FRP (Factory Reset Protection) is active. This renders the device unusable by future owners unless they log in to your google account. Make sure you go to your settings menu on your device and deselect this feature or turn it off. If you have already done so or if this feature is unavailable on your version of Android, proceed to the following steps.
- Turn off any screen locks.
- Go to Settings
- Security or Lock Screen Security
- Screen Lock and change the type to None.
- Remove your Google account from the device.
- Go to Settings
- Users and Accounts
- tap your account and then remove.
- For Samsung devices, remove your Samsung account from the phone or tablet as well.
- Encrypt and factory reset your device to wipe the data.
- Go to Settings
- Select Encrypt phone
- Go back to Settings
- Backup & reset option
- Select Factory data reset
Not planning to sell your device:
Completely destroy your device to eradicate all possible attempts at recovering your data. This is the safest and only way to truly prevent your data from being recovered by the most evil of Hollywood style hackers determined to ruin your life by retweeting all of those unfiltered bathroom selfies that never got posted.
- Locate a drill
- Drill into the screen of your phone until reaching through the backside
- Put your device into a bag
- Seal the bag completely
- Obtain a sledgehammer from your local hardware store
- Smash your device into pieces
- Take the remaining pieces and put them into an industrial-strength grinder which will obliterate your device into dust
- Put that dust into an Urn
- Put the Urn on your mantle so you can pay homage to the device that once served you so well
- Send Holiday Cards to friends with pictures of you and the Urn every chance you get
- Use your new device to do this, as your old device probably won’t take very good selfies anymore if you followed these instructions properly.
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