You don’t realise just how much you rely on your smart phone until it dies on you. And can’t we all tell when the phone is on it’s final legs before the inevitable blank screen? The greatly slowed down operating system, the ever-shrinking memory capacity, and the camera that just won’t capture your best side like it used to. Not to mention the inability to take or receive an audible phone call. Perhaps it’s just that you phone has outlived it’s intended lifespan. Or you’ve dropped it one too many times. But once your phone enters the throws of death, it has become the norm to prioritize the retrieval of a new phone, at all costs. Because let’s face it, the average human can’t go an hour, let alone a day without their phone. Studies have shown that we can check out phones between 35 to 74 times a day.
But then we do get the new prized possession. and after the glorious unboxing to retrieve our new-fangled electronic extension of ourselves, we are quick to forget about our past sidekick. Maybe you throw it in the trash or perchance if it’s got some life left in it, you give it away to someone else. Houston, we may have a problem.
Remember, you’re using your phone to conduct an amazing number of tasks. From sending emails, making phone calls, scheduling appointments, taking photos and utilizing the GPS and maps function to get around. Let’s not forget all the mobile banking you’ve been getting done. All this personal information of who you talk to, what you like, where you frequently visit, what you’ve searched for, sent or stored, passwords, money transactions, you name it, are stockpiled on this miniature device. Even when you’ve deleted it from your folders, your backup has it neatly tucked in your archives or hard drive. In the hands of a cybercriminal, your old, beat-up smart phone is a treasure trove of information. The simple act of tossing your phone could put your personal security, and that of your family, at risk.
If you’re residing in a city or country that has professional companies that scrub your tech appliances to be as empty as the day you purchased it, your work is seriously cut in half. Don’t worry if this isn’t the case in your area. There are still checks and balances you can institute to keep your information safe. Here are five essential checks you would need to do before disposing of your old smart phone:
Backup Your Data
Transfer the data you need to your new phone. Thanks to online clouds and servers linked to Android and iOS accounts, transferring data such as contacts, images and calendar events is efficient and fast. It helps to have a google account as your primary saving source as transition between iOS and Android is more simplified. Alternatively, you can back up your data the old school way and save it to your laptop or PC desktop too. Don’t forget to take out your SIM and external storage cards like your memory card.
Log Out of Everything
It may seem like a daunting task, especially if you have 1001 apps on your phone. However, it is necessary to go into every single app and log out. Additionally, remove the device from shared platforms such as your music streamer like Spotify. Once you’ve done this you can proceed to clear the data from the phone settings.
There’s a high probability that some content will remain on your phone even after the most successful wipe. Encrypting your information will ensure that should something get left behind, no one can take advantage. Encryption will scramble the information on the device making it unusable. Select security inside your settings app, and then search for the ‘encrypt phone’ option. Make sure that your phone is fully charged or charging before starting this process. It may be different depending on your phone, however, the guide for your phone make and model should be available online.
Most newer phone versions come with an active factory reset protection (FRP). The smart phone is synced to a specific Google account, thus, when the phone is reset it will ask for that account and password. Should you keep FRP activated or forget the account and password, it will remain synced to this account. To deactivate FRP, go to your settings and head to your lock screen security. You’ll then select your screen lock and switch it to none. From there, go to your ‘users and accounts’ tab and tap the google accounts there and select the option to remove them. While you’re still in settings, you want to sign out and remove any account that is registered to your phone such as a smartwatch and other smart-tech or wireless devices. iOS users will also find their FRP in their settings.
Once you’ve signed out and backed up, it’s time to initiate the wiping process. Return to settings and tap on ‘general’. From there you should see the option to reset. Then select the option that allows you to erase all content and settings. Apple users, or of you’ve registered your phone with the manufacturer, should go to the website to further remove the device from their account profile.
Android users can go to their google account and wipe all the activity and notifications that have been applied to that device to prevent any services such as Facebook granting access to your account once the phone is reset. You also want to go into any app that utilises the two-step authentication codes and get those moved to your new device.