Whether you’re planning on selling your smartphone, or simply upgrading, it’s always a good idea to secure the data on your phone from being extracted. These simple steps should be mandatory when getting rid of your smartphone, but you should also take care of them on a regular basis–especially backing up your data. We are very reliant on our smartphones these days. You’d be surprised at the amount of information you could lose if you don’t follow these steps.

Read on for some helpful tips on how to secure the data before you erase your phone.

Back Up Data

While the information on the phone may not be important to anyone else, it is certainly of value to the owner. Before selling, back up all data so it does not have to be placed into the phone all over again. Take this precaution and back up data every 90 days or so, and especially before selling. There are many different applications available to safely and securely back up all data.

This guide from CNET will assist in finding the right app to back up data for an Android phone. CNET also provides this article as a step-by-step how-to on safely backing up all data. Once backed up and saved, data may be transferred to a new phone. Download the free iPhone Backup Extractor at this site and follow these easy step-by-step instructions. Data is kept secure and available for the user.

Encrypt Data

Always remove the SIM card from any smartphone before selling. Sometimes this step can be forgotten and the card is simply removed by the purchaser. No problems. No hassle. Owners can further protect themselves through encrypting important data.

Dual File Manager XT, ES File Explorer File Manager, and AndroXplorer File Manager are all easily installed Android applications. You can also find step-by-step directions on how to encrypt files as well as password protecting files. Encryption applications for the iPhone can be found in the Apple store by searching for and downloading the desired file.

Get rid of the FAT

File Allocation Tables (FAT) hold a great deal of data. These are usually on the secure digital (SD) card that may or may not be with the phone. The standard amount of information an SD card can hold is 64 gigabytes. SD cards hold very large amounts of information for the phone. An iPhone holds FAT data in its multiple applications. Open Applications in iTunes and simply delete.

When a file is no longer needed and deleted, in most cases, the file is simply written over with the new data. This tidbit of information has likely led to the unfounded rumors about permanently wiping an Android before selling. Free apps, such as Forever Gone, SHREDroid, and My File Shredder, will all permanently delete these files. Remember, when these apps are used these files are Gone, Baby, Gone.

Before selling the phone, simply remove the card and reuse in a new phone. If finished with the card and it is no longer needed, soak in salt water before discarding. The data will be permanently and irrevocably destroyed. This works for all smartphones. Once removed the data is no longer retrievable.

Factory Data Reset

This is the final step in securely erasing all user data from a phone. This step will permanently erase all stored data. On the Android 2.3 and below go to Settings, Privacy, and then Factory Reset. For Android phones that are 4.0 and above, go to Settings, Backup & Reset, and then Factory Data Reset. Should the phone be ‘hanging’ this step can also be used to completely reset the phone to factory settings, remember all data will be lost. For iPhones, you can reset factory data by going to the general menu and tapping the reset menu.

Featured photo credit: IMG_2322.jpg/rickyysanne via mrg.bz

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