Technical security: how to wipe data from your phone or computer if it is lost or stolen

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Selling your old appliances can put money in your pocket, but be aware that your devices store sensitive data that you don’t want a stranger to have access to.

For example, your smart speaker knows your location and can even store your voice recordings locally. Tap or click here to learn how to erase and unregister your Amazon Echo before selling it..

Now think about what your phone knows. It’s no wonder you get that awful sinking feeling when you can’t find it. Here’s how to find your lost phone, even when the battery is low.

But what if your phone, tablet or laptop is lost forever? Don’t let anything stored there fall into the wrong hands. Here’s how to erase all that personal information from anywhere.

Remember that you need to set this up beforehand.

Imagine that you are traveling and your phone or computer is nowhere to be found. If your passcode is easy to guess – or worse, you’ve never set one – you’re potentially handing over everything from bank logins to social media accounts to no one.

The ability to remotely wipe your devices is incredibly useful. But you need to set up the capability beforehand. If you wait until you need this feature, it will be too late. Take some time to set it up by following the instructions below.

Erase your Android

If you lose your Android phone, you can find it, lock it or wipe it remotely. Before using these features, you need to turn on Find My Device. Here’s how.

  • open Settings Appendix.
  • Click Safety > Find my device. If you don’t see Security, tap Security and location or Google > Security.
  • Make sure Find My Device is enabled on the.

Follow these steps to wipe your phone remotely

  • Go to android.com/search and sign in with your Google account. If you have multiple phones, click the button lost phone at the top of the screen. If you have multiple user profiles on your lost phone, sign in to your primary profile with your Google account.
  • A notification will be sent to the lost phone and you will see its approximate location on the map. If you can’t find your phone, you’ll see its last known location.
  • To choose Enable blocking and deletion if needed.
  • To choose Erase device to delete all data on your device permanently. Note. After completing this step, Find My Device will not work on this phone.
Erase your personal data from your smartphone before selling or otherwise disposing of it.

Erase your personal data from your smartphone before selling or otherwise disposing of it.
(iStock)

Erase data from your iPhone, Mac or iPad

The Apple Find My app allows you to remotely wipe your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. As with Android, make sure Find Me is turned on beforehand.

Turn on Find My for iPhone and iPad:

  • open Settings Appendix. Touch your namethen touch find my.
  • Click find my [device]then turn on find my [device].
  • To see your device even when it’s offline, turn on Find my network.
  • To have your device’s location sent to Apple when the battery is low, turn on Send last location.

To turn on Find My for Mac:

  • Press apple menu > System settings > Security and Privacy. Press Confidentiality tab If the padlock in the bottom left corner is locked, click it and enter your password.
  • To choose Location servicesthen choose Activate location services checkbox. Make sure the checkbox next to find my selected.
  • Click Madethen return to the main System Preferences window.
  • Click Apple ID > iCloud. Check the box next to Find my Mac.
  • To make sure you can find your Mac if it’s lost or stolen, click Options. check this Find My Mac turned on as well as Find my network enabled.
  • Click Made.
In this photo illustration, an Apple iPad displays its home screen.  (Photo illustration by Peter McDiarmid/Getty Images)

In this photo illustration, an Apple iPad displays its home screen. (Photo illustration by Peter McDiarmid/Getty Images)
(Getty Images, 2014)

Now let’s say your iPhone, iPad, or Mac goes missing. Here’s how to remotely wipe all the data stored on it.

  • Go to icloud.com and sign in to your account.
  • Click find my iphonethen All devices. (Note: If you don’t see All Devices, then you have already selected a device. Click the name of the current device in the center of the toolbar to open the Devices list, then select a new device.)
  • Select the device you want to erase and click Erase [device].
  • Do one of the following, depending on what you want to erase: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple Watch: Enter your Apple ID password. If you’re not using a trusted browser, please answer security questions or enter the verification code sent to your other devices. Mac: Enter your Apple ID password. If you’re not using a trusted browser, please answer security questions or enter the verification code sent to your other devices. Enter your password to lock your Mac. You will need to use a passcode to unlock it.
  • iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple Watch: Enter Apple ID password. If you’re not using a trusted browser, please answer security questions or enter the verification code sent to your other devices.
  • Mac: Enter your Apple ID password. If you’re not using a trusted browser, please answer security questions or enter the verification code sent to your other devices. Enter your password to lock your Mac. You will need to use a passcode to unlock it.
  • If the device is lost and you are asked to enter a phone number or a message, indicate that the device is lost or how to contact you if you wish. The number and message will appear on the lock screen of the device.
  • If your device is online, the remote wipe will start according to the on-screen instructions. If your device is offline, the remote wipe will start the next time it comes online.

MORE TECH SMART: Every iPhone and Android User Should Know These Genius Commands

Always erase your personal data from laptops and other electronic devices before disposing of them.

Always erase your personal data from laptops and other electronic devices before disposing of them.
(iStock)

Window

You can also wipe your Windows laptop remotely. Before this happens, make sure you have Find My Device enabled:

  • Sign in to your Microsoft account.
  • On Windows 10, go to Settings > Update and Security > find my device and make sure the function on the.
  • On Windows 11 go to Settings > Privacy & Security > find my device and make sure the function on the.

You then need to enroll your PC with Microsoft Intune, a cloud-based service that lets you manage devices and apps remotely. Install the app from Microsoft Store or Sign in to the Company Portal site.

Now, if your laptop is missing, you can remotely wipe it.

  • Go to portal.azure.com/#home and sign in.
  • To choose All services and filter Intune.
  • To choose Microsoft Intune and choose Devices.
  • Select the device you want to erase remotely.
  • Click Wipe and then Yes.
  • The next time you turn on your laptop, all your data will be deleted within 15 minutes.

Erase yourself from the internet

While you’re at it, take another smart step towards privacy. Here is my latest guide to removing myself from the internet. It’s almost impossible to completely remove yourself from the Internet, but you can remove quite a bit if you know where to start.

PODCAST SELECTION: Traffic Trick, YouTube Labels, Golden Privacy Tip – Komando.com

Want to erase yourself from the Internet? Here’s how. I will also tell you how to predict road conditions months in advance. You’ll learn about some of the YouTube keyboard shortcuts you’ll always use and the Netflix changes that may be coming later this year. In addition, part of the story died as a result of a ransomware attack. Here’s what you need to know.

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Listen to the podcast here or where you get your podcasts. Just look up my last name “Commando”.

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Find out about all the latest technology at The The Kim Commando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and gives advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data breaches. For daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Commando.com.