Protecting your data

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Before you send your old phone or computer off for recycling, take a moment to think about all the information it contains. Your personal details, emails and files, photos, downloads, apps you’ve used and various passwords. While the recycling process will destroy data, to protect your privacy it’s important to wipe this information from any devices before you recycle them. It’s easier to do than you think, and worth the effort.

Because every phone and computer is different, we recommend you check with the item’s manufacturer to work out the best way to securely wipe data. 

Below you’ll find a general checklist to help you get started.

Data management tips for phones:

1. Backup your data. Backup or transfer files and information you want to keep to a computer or online storage. Check to see if you can access your manufacturer’s software to complete the process.

2. Log out. You may be using a number of online accounts and social media. You need to log out of these platforms through the administration and security settings.

3. Perform a Reset. A reset will erase all the data from your device’s internal storage. Depending on what type of mobile phone you have, the instructions will vary. We recommend you check the user guide or instructions on the manufacturer’s website.

4. Remove your SIM and memory card. Transfer any files you have stored on the memory and SIM card. Once the data is removed your device can be recycled.

Data management tips for computers:

1. Back up. Back up everything you want to retain for use in the future. You’ll need to use an external hard drive or a server to store your files.

2. Save your software serial numbers. Any installed software will also be lost when you wipe your computer (whichever method you use). Review what’s currently installed and dig out corresponding install discs and serial numbers.

3. Remove programs. Sort out your software licenses for any programs you want to continue using on the new computer.

4. Clear Cookies and sign out. Make sure you delete your browsing history and clear your cookies. It’s also worth making sure passwords for your email accounts have not been saved. Go to your webmail account, Facebook and any other site at which you regularly log in, and deselect any options to log you in automatically. Your web browser may also have settings for logging in.

5. Delete. You’re now ready to delete the contents of the hard drive. Drag everything from your Documents, Pictures and Music folder into the recycle bin, then right-click on the Recycle Bin to delete its contents.