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Tech security: Methods to wipe your phone or computer if it’s lost or stolen

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Several states are counting on smartphone apps to alert users of COVID-19 exposure  (iStock)

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Selling your old tech can put money in your pocket, but don’t forget your devices store sensitive data that you just don’t desire a stranger to access. 

Your smart speaker, for instance, knows your location and will even store your voice recordings locally. Tap or click here for steps to wipe and deregister your Amazon Echo before selling it

Now, take into consideration what your phone knows. No wonder you get that horrible sinking feeling when you possibly can’t find it. Here’s easy methods to discover a lost phone, even when the battery is dead

But what in case your phone, tablet, or laptop is lost for good? Don’t let every thing stored there fall into the incorrect hands. Here’s easy methods to wipe all that non-public info from anywhere.  

Remember, you should set this up ahead of time 

Imagine traveling, and your phone or computer is nowhere to be found. In case your passcode is straightforward to guess — or worse, you never set one up — you are potentially handing over every thing out of your bank login to your social media accounts to who knows who. 

With the ability to wipe your devices remotely is incredibly useful. But you do need to establish the potential ahead of time. When you wait until you would like this function, it’s too late. Take a while now to set it up following the steps below. 

Wipe your Android 

When you lose your Android phone, you’ll find, lock, or erase it remotely. You’ll have to have Find My Device enabled before using these features. Here’s how. 

  • Open the Settings app.
  • Tap Security > Find My Device. When you don’t see Security, tap Security & location or Google > Security.
  • Make sure that Find My Device is turned on.

Follow these steps to erase your phone remotely 

  • Go to android.com/find and sign into your Google Account. If you may have multiple phone, click the lost phone at the highest of the screen. In case your lost phone has multiple user profile, check in with a Google Account on the essential profile.
  • The lost phone will get a notification and you may see its approximate location on a map. When you cannot locate your phone, you will see its last known location.
  • Select Enable lock & erase if needed.
  • Select Erase device to delete all the info in your device permanently. Note: After taking this step, Find My Device won’t work on that phone.

Wipe your personal data from your smartphone before you sell or otherwise dispose of it.

Wipe your personal data out of your smartphone before you sell or otherwise get rid of it.
(iStock)

Erase data out of your iPhone, Mac, or iPad 

Apple’s Find My app allows you to remotely erase an iPhone, iPad, or Mac from afar. As with Android, ensure that you may have Find My enabled ahead of time.  

Enable Find My for iPhone and iPad: 

  • Open the Settings app. Tap your name, then tap Find My.
  • Tap Find My [device], then activate Find My [device].
  • To see your device even when it’s offline, activate Find My network.
  • To have the situation of your device sent to Apple when the battery is low, activate Send Last Location.

To activate Find My to your Mac: 

  • Click the Apple menu > System Preferences > Security & Privacy. Click the Privacy tab. If the padlock within the lower left is locked, click it, and enter your password.
  • Select Location Services, then select the Enable Location Services checkbox. Make sure that that the checkbox next to Find My is chosen.
  • Click Done, then return to the essential System Preferences window.
  • Click Apple ID > iCloud. Select the checkbox next to Find My Mac.
  • To ensure that you’ll find your Mac if it’s ever lost or stolen, click Options. Check that Find My Mac is on and Find My network is On.
  • Click Done.

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

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

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

  • Go to icloud.com and sign into your account.
  • Click Find My iPhone, then All Devices. (Note: When you don’t see All Devices, you have already chosen a tool. Click the name of the present device in the middle of the toolbar to access the Devices list, then select a latest device.)
  • Select the device you must erase and click on Erase [device].
  • Do certainly one of the next, depending on what you must erase:

    iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple Watch: Enter your Apple ID password. When you’re not using a trusted browser, answer your security questions or enter the verification code sent to your other devices.

    Mac: Enter your Apple ID password. When you’re not using a trusted browser, answer your security questions or enter the verification code sent to your other devices. Enter a passcode to lock the Mac. You’ll have to make use of the passcode to unlock it.

  • iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple Watch: Enter your Apple ID password. When you’re not using a trusted browser, answer your security questions or enter the verification code sent to your other devices.
  • Mac: Enter your Apple ID password. When you’re not using a trusted browser, answer your security questions or enter the verification code sent to your other devices. Enter a passcode to lock the Mac. You’ll have to make use of the passcode to unlock it.
  • If the device is lost and also you’re asked to enter a phone number or message, indicate that the device is lost or easy methods to contact you should you select. The number and message will appear on the device’s lock screen.
  • In case your device is online, the distant erase begins after following the on-screen instructions. In case your device is offline, the distant erase starts the following time it’s online.

MORE TECH SMARTS: Every iPhone and Android user should know these genius commands 

Always wipe your personal data from laptops and other electronic devices before you dispose of them. 

At all times wipe your personal data from laptops and other electronic devices before you get rid of them. 
(iStock)

Windows 

You possibly can remotely wipe your Windows laptop, too. Make sure that you may have the Find my device feature enabled before this happens: 

  • Register together with your Microsoft account.
  • In Windows 10, go to Settings > Update & Security > Find my device and make sure the feature is on.
  • In Windows 11, go to Settings > Privacy & security > Find my device and make sure the feature is on.

Next, you should enroll your computer with Microsoft Intune, a cloud-based service that allows you to remotely manage devices and applications. Install the app from the Microsoft Store or Sign on to the Company Portal website.

Now, in case your laptop goes missing, you possibly can remotely erase it. 

  • Go to portal.azure.com/#home and check in.
  • Select All Services and filter Intune.
  • Select Microsoft Intune and choose Devices.
  • Select the device that you must erase remotely.
  • Click Wipe after which Yes.
  • The following time your laptop is turned on, all of your data might be erased inside quarter-hour.

Erase yourself from the web 

When you’re on a roll, take one other smart privacy step. Here’s my latest guide on erasing yourself from the web. It’s nearly unimaginable to delete yourself from the net entirely, but you possibly can wipe out quite a bit should you know where to start out.  

PODCAST PICK: Traffic trick, YouTube shortcuts, golden privacy tip – Komando.com 

Wish to erase yourself from the web? Here’s how. I’ll also inform you easy methods to predict traffic conditions months upfront. You may find out about some YouTube keyboard shortcuts you’ll at all times use and Netflix changes that will come later this 12 months. Also, a bit of history died in a ransomware attack. Here’s what you should know. 

Take a look at my podcast “Kim Komando Explains” on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player. 

Hearken to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just seek for my last name, “Komando.” 

What digital lifestyle questions do you may have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to seek out it in your local radio station. You possibly can take heed to or watch The Kim Komando Show in your phone, tablet, television, or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts. 

Copyright 2022, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved. By clicking the shopping links, you’re supporting my research. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. I only recommend products I feel in. 

Study all the most recent technology on The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her every day suggestions, free newsletters, and more, visit her website at Komando.com. 

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