Before selling an old smart device like phones or computers, users need to wipe off sensitive data from them. The reason is that these devices tend to store a user’s personal information on them. For instance, a smart speaker will know a user’s location and might even have voice recordings stored locally. So, imagine the kind of sensitive information iPhones and Android devices will contain. And if they get lost or stolen? Doesn’t that sound scary?
Additionally, without a passcode or a guessable one can allow strangers access to a lot of sensitive data. So, to prevent such outcomes, being able to wipe data off old iPhones remotely and Android devices is beneficial. However, users need to set this capability beforehand. Here’s how –
Erasing data on old, lost, or stolen iPhones and Android devices
1. For Android devices
Users can find, lock, or erase a lost Android device remotely. But, they need to have the ‘Find My Device’ enabled before doing that.
- Open the Settings app.
- In Security, go to Find My Device. (Note: Instead of Security, other options like Security & location or Google > Security might also work.)
- Turn on the Find My Device feature.
After enabling the feature, Android users can remotely wipe off data from their phones in this way –
- Users need to sign in to their Google account in android.com/find. Click the lost phone at the top of the screen if that account logs in to more than one device. Sign in to the main profile if the lost phone has more than one user profile.
- After that, users will see the device’s approximate location on the map. In addition, the lost phone will receive a notification.
- Choose Enable lock & erase.
- Then, select Erase device to delete all the data permanently. (Note: Find My Device wouldn’t work after this step.)
2. For iPhones
Users can take similar steps to wipe off data remotely from lost iPhones. But, same as in Android, users need to enable the Find My Device feature.
- Go to the Settings app.
- Then, click on the user’s name, tap on Find My, and turn it on.
- Turn on Find My network to see the device even when it’s offline.
- Also, turn on the Send Last Location to send the device’s location to Apple even when the battery is low.
After enabling Find My on their devices, users can remotely delete information from an old, lost, or stolen device. Follow these steps –
- Users need to sign in to their accounts on icloud.com.
- Select Find My iPhone and then tap on All Devices. (Note: If users have already selected a device, they won’t see the All Devices option. Therefore, choose the name of the current device in the center of the toolbar to access the list of devices.)
- Then, users need to choose the device they want to erase and click on Erase(device).
After that, users need to follow these steps to delete the information of their choice –
- Enter the Apple ID password. If users are not using a trusted browser, they need to answer security questions or enter the verification code sent to their other devices.
When an Apple device is lost, users are asked to enter a phone number or message. The reason is so the person who finds it can contact the original owner. The number and the message will appear on the lost device’s lock screen.
Moreover, if the old or lost iPhones and Android devices are online, the remote erase starts immediately after following the on-screen instructions. However, if these devices are offline, the process begins the next time they come online.