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Shut The Phone Up, Once and for All

Select your phone
My Files
My Pictures
My Videos
My Passwords
It's never really gone
Deleting files

To get as close as you can to wiping your device completely, here’s what you can do:

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If your phone is powered by Android 5.0 Lollipop or later, chances are that the Android Device Protection or Factory Reset Protection (FRP) may be auto-activated. This feature restricts the new owner to use the phone, provided it’s reset, because the phone can then only be activated by entering the previously used Google account details.

You can skip to step 3, if your device runs on an earlier version of Android, sans FRP.

Step 1

Turn off the screen locks - Settings > Lock Screen Security or Security > Screen Lock > None.

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Step 2

Remove your Google account – Settings > Users and Accounts > Select Your Account > Select Remove.

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Step 3

Now restore the factory settings to wipe the device. However, this will only clear the data at the application level. Items such as text and chat messages can be easily restored with standard data recovery applications/tools, which again is a threat.

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An alternate and more trusted way of ensuring complete deletion is by encrypting your phone. It’s strongly
recommended that before performing the steps mentioned above, you encrypt your device.

Here’s how you can encrypt your data on an Android device

Data encryption is built into Android. You will have to enter a password or a PIN,
every time you turn the phone on. To encrypt:

Make sure that your phone is fully charged or is getting charged while you encrypt the data as it can take multiple hours, depending on the amount of data that you have.

The method may vary from phone to phone but here’s how you can generally go about it – Settings > Security > Encrypt Phone. You can encrypt the SD card too, but it is recommended that you remove it before selling off the phone.

Once you have encrypted the phone, perform a hard reset to make it almost impossible for anyone to get their hands on the data.

Devices running on Android 6.0 Marshmallow may be pre-encrypted. In case you aren’t sure about the
Android version, you can go to Settings > About Device > Software Info.

Accessing a lost Android device

The only way to remotely access a lost Android device is if you have installed the official Find My Device App by Google LLC, pre-hand. To ensure that the app is enabled, go to Google Settings > Security > Find My Device. Allow the app to access your device’s location.

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If your Android device is powered by the older versions of the OS, it will only be compatible with the older version of the app. Here’s what you need to do if you are operating the device with said specifications:
  • Make sure the ‘Allow remote lock and erase’ is switched on.
  • Also enable the second toggle, ‘Device Manager: Remotely Locate This Device’.
tracking

To track your phone, you can either use the Find My Device app on another device or simply log in to your Google account via this link.

If the phone hasn’t been switched off and can get a signal, you will be able to see the location on the map. Otherwise, the app will update you when the phone’s switched on and is connected to a cellular network or Wi-Fi.

When the app tracks the phone, you will be given three options:
Ring It

Choosing this will make your phone ring loudly for five minutes straight. If you can’t find it, you move on to the second option.

Lock It

With this option, you can replace the current screen of your lost Android device with a password lock. You can also leave a message and an alternate phone number, requesting for a call back, in case someone finds it.

Erase It

The third option is like a remote hard factory reset. It will wipe off the settings, photos, music, contacts, etc., stored on the internal phone memory. However, doing so, may not wipe the data on your SD Card.

A few things that you ought to keep in mind:
  • Log out of all your social media & platform-specific accounts like, Google, iCloud, Hotmail, etc.
  • Note down the serial number, IMEI, etc., of the device for your record.

Since there are no methods that can guarantee 100% safety, we urge you to refrain from using your phone to record/store your private moments.

Don’t put your life at risk. #ShutThePhoneUp

To get as close as you can to wiping your device completely, here’s what you can do:

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If your private moments are ‘shot on an iPhone’ or an iPad and you’re planning to sell it, here’s how you can permanently wipe off your data:

Step 1

If an Apple Watch is paired with your iOS device, unpair it.

Step 2

Sign out of your iCloud, iTunes, and App Store.

a. For people using iOS 10.3 or later – Go to Settings > Your Name > Sign Out
You will have to enter your Apple ID & password and click on Turn Off.

b. For people using iOS 10.2 or earlier – Go to Settings > iCloud > Sign Out. Click on Sign Out once again > Delete from My device and re-enter your Apple ID & password. You will then have to go to Settings > iTunes & App Store > Apple ID > Sign Out.

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Step 3

Now go back to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. In case the ‘Find My iPhone’ feature is activated, you may have to re-enter your Apple ID & password.

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Step 4

If you’re asked to enter your device or restrictions passcode, please do the needful and then tap on Erase.

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Apple devices running on iOS 5 or later get pre-encrypted when a passcode is set. By performing the above-mentioned process, the encryption gets overwritten, which makes it extremely difficult to recover the deleted data.

In case you have lost your device or it has been stolen, here’s how you can remotely access it:

Apple devices have an inbuilt feature called Find My iPhone. This has to enabled to be able to track the device remotely. If it’s enabled, here are the steps that you need to follow:

Use the Find My iPhone app on another iOS device such as the iPad, iPhone, or even an iPod touch or simply sign in to your iCloud account via this link.

Select the device that you want to track. You will be given three options - Play Sound, Lost Mode, and Erase iPhone. By choosing ‘Play Sound’, you can have the app play a sound on your phone. ‘Lost Mode’ will lock your device with a passcode, display a message with your phone number on the missing device’s lock screen and keep a track of its location. This option will also suspend the ability to make payments through Apple Pay.

The last and the safest option is to ‘Erase iPhone’. If your missing iOS device is offline, your action will take effect once it’s online. Keep in mind that if you remove the device from your iCloud account, the activation lock will be turned off and anyone will be able to use the device.

What can be done if the Find My iPhone feature isn’t enabled?

Change your Apple ID & Password. By doing so, you can prevent anyone with your device from using services such as iMessage or iTunes and accessing your iCloud data.

Change the passwords of your social media accounts that you are signed in on your phone.

Report your missing/stolen/lost device to your wireless carrier and local law enforcement.

It’s strongly recommended that you keep the Find My iPhone feature activated at all times.

A few things that you ought to keep in mind:
  • Log out of all your social media & platform-specific accounts like, Google, iCloud, Hotmail, etc..
  • Note down the serial number, IMEI, etc., of the device for your record.

Since there are no methods that can guarantee 100% safety, we urge you to refrain from using your phone to record/store your private moments.

Don’t put your life at risk. #ShutThePhoneUp