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How To Erase Your Phone Securely Before You Sell It

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How To Erase Your Phone Securely Before You Sell It

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Last Updated on November 25, 2021

How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private

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How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private

There comes a time when we may be searching online and don’t want the browser to remember our footsteps. The reasons don’t always have to be what we obviously think of as the main reason; for example, sometimes, you may not want Safari to remember your passwords or prompt you to enter your password when surfing the web.

Whatever the reason, we may think that we are totally in the clear with Private Browsing on Safari and the other browsers on a Mac. However, a quick Terminal command can bring up every website you’ve visited. How do you do this? Also, how do you clear your tracks for good? We will provide both answers and more today.

    What Does Private Browsing Do?

    When activated, Private Browsing on Safari prevents your browsing history from being kept in the history tab of the application. Along with this, it doesn’t autofill information that you have saved in the browser. In this mode, you essentially become incognito and any references of previous use is essentially hidden when you are in private mode.

    For example: if you are on Facebook or filling out a form and some information or your login is already filled in in the spaces provided, this is called autofill. It’s activated by simply clicking Safari next to the Apple symbol in the menubar and selecting Private Browsing, then clicking “OK” to the prompt.

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    The reasons behind private mode differ for each individual. While we won’t go into all of those reasons, one thing that is  important to remember is that private browsing doesn’t forget the websites you visit. As we will see later on, Macs keep a second copy of the websites you visit in either mode. If you are in frantic mode looking for a solution to this, look no further.

    The Terminal Archive

    While Safari does a good job of keeping your search history out of prying eyes in the history tab, there is a less-than-obvious way to view a full list of visited websites on Mac. This is done in Terminal; the command-line emulator that allows you to make changes to your Mac.

    Terminal is located in the Utilities folder on your Mac. Once activated, simply add the command:

    dscacheutil -cachedump -entries Host

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    Once you hit “enter”, a list of the visited sites appear. Showing only the domains, the sites appear in a format of:

    Key: h_name :(website domain)ipv4 :1

    However, there’s no need to fear—there is a way you can clear this information from Terminal with a command that’s just as simple.

    Clearing Your Tracks

    Just as simply as you were able to enter the command to view the websites, you can clear the cache that Terminal showed you with the comamnd:

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    dscacheutil -flushcache

    As the command denotes, this literally “flushes” the domains from Terminal. This does not prevent the record from continuing to be recorded for future sites, however, so if that’s an issue for you, repeat this process regularly.

    Other Browsers and Private Browsing

    Other browsers have this form of privacy mode for their service. They promise many of the same things as Safari, but they do not have the same Terminal issue due to how this command only presents websites visited on Safari (the browser Macs come shipped with).

    If you use Firefox, you’ll notice that its private mode is also known as Private Browsing. Chrome calls private mode Incognito, while Internet Explorer refers to it as InPrivate Browsing. Opera is the newest to the scene, denoting it as Private Tab. Safari is the oldest well-known browser with this feature.

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    As you can see, despite Private Browsing not being 100% private, Terminal allows for your browser to be. In what ways has Terminal helped your life or allowed you to become more productive? Let us know in the comments below.

    Featured photo credit: Benjamin Dada via unsplash.com

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