Mobile devices from smartphones, watches and tablets continue to advance at rapid rate. One may replace their devices as often as once a year. What one doesn’t realize is just how much personal data ends up on these devices which is actual a lot more than on one’s PC.
In this article we will look at what data ones mobile could have on it and how one can ensure you securely wipe the device prior to disposing of it or replacing it for a newer one. Please bare in mind if you were issued a corporate device please check with your local IT team to ensure of the proper procedure of your mobile device.
Your Personal Information
There is a lot of sensitive information stored on your mobile than you might realize. Some of that information includes:
- Where you live and work.
- Daily travel habits.
- Contact details for everyone in your address book which includes family, friends, and work colleagues.
- Inbound, outbound and missed calls as well as voicemails.
- Personal photos, videos and audio recordings.
- Financial information such as credit cards, payment methods, and transactions.
- Texting or chat sessions within applications such as games, social media and secure chat applications.
- Stored passwords used to access ones accounts such as bank accounts, social media, or emails.
- Health related information such as ones age, heart rate, or exercise history.
Erasing One’s Device
No matter what you do with your device once you are done with it, either by giving it to someone, reselling it or even responsibly disposing of it, it is important that you first erase your sensitive information. Do not assume who ever uses the device after you will do the right thing and erase the device.
The first thing one should do is take a backup of the device in question so that way it will be easy to recover and move your data and respective settings to your new one.
Once the backup has been taken you will want to reset your device. Doing this resets it to factory defaults. If you are prompted to ender your cloud password, do enter it as this will break any links to your cloud account that is linked with the device.
To reset ones device you can do the following depending if you have an Apple iOS device or Android.
For an Apple iOS device you can do the following steps:
- Open Settings
- Click on General
- Click on Transfer or Reset
- Choose Erase All Content and Settings
For Android devices you can do the following (NOTE: These options will vary depending on the mobile phone manufacturer):
- Open Settings
- Click on System
- Click on Reset Options
- Click on Erase All Data
Sim and External Cards
Besides resetting ones device it is important to consider what you do with your sim (Subscriber Identity Module) card. Carriers issue this card as it allows your mobile phone to be identified on the network as well as make a data connection.
When you erase ones device the sim card will still retain information about your account and it is still bound to you. If you are moving your number to a new device reach out to your carrier to assist you in transferring the sim. If moving your sim card to a new device is not possible then it should be retained and physically destroyed.
Many new phones have what is called an eSIM. This is a virtual sim card instead of a physical one. When the phone is reset the eSIM is also reset in the process.
Lastly on some Android devices SD (Secure Digital) Memory cards are used to add additional storage. These can be removed from the device if you will be disposing of it. This memory card can then be re deployed in ones new mobile phone. This card could also be placed in a USB memory card adaptor and used in ones PC. If the Memory card will not be used, just like the SIM, it is recommended that you physically destroy it.
If you are not sure about any of the above steps on how to reset your device, or if you would prefer to recycle your device instead of donating the phone, reach out to us so we can properly dispose of the device for you.