Reset Before Recycling
If you have a smart phone we all eventually get to the point we have to get rid of our old smart phone and get a new one. Often we do not take the time to wipe our devices before recycling them or giving them to a relative to use or play with. Much like computers, smart phones store a lot of very important and personal data on them, so why wouldn’t we wipe them just like a computer? The answer is we probably should, and ironically they are not very difficult to wipe at all. Let’s take a look how to do this on an Apple iPhone and an Android smart phone.
For the Apple iPhone, wiping the device out and back to factory defaults is very easy, just go into Settings, and then General. At the bottom of the General section there is an option for Reset, go into that and Apple gives you several Reset options. These range from just wiping out your network settings to resetting the device completely. But for this instance we want to wipe the device completely, so choose Erase All Contact and Settings (Do NOT do this now unless you really mean to wipe your device). This will completely wipe your device and break the connection to it and your Apple ID. Once it is done, the iPhone will come up to the beginning menu as if you had just taken it out of the box and powered it on for the first time. This trick also works on any other device running iOS, such as an iPod Touch or iPad.
Resetting an Android device back to factory defaults is just about as easy. If you have an SD card in your Android phone the first thing you will want to do is to erase that, so any data you have on it, is also removed. You can erase an SD card on your Android device by going into Settings, Storage, then choose Erase SD Card. Once that is done you can continue to erase and reset your Android phone by going back into Settings, then choosing Backup & Reset. At the bottom of this menu is an option for a Factory Data Reset, choose this and it will completely wipe your device and data, returning it as if it had just been taking out of the box for the first time.
But Apple and Android devices are not the only ones you should reset before giving them away or recycling them. Windows phones, Kindles, Nooks, and other devices have these kinds of options as well. It is a good idea to clear off all your data and access to your accounts before giving up the device. Otherwise someone might just have a good way to steal your identity or gain access to your online accounts. Phones are not just phones anymore, they contain as much access and data as your personal computer. So the next time you upgrade your phone or device, make sure to wipe it before getting rid of it.