Technological security: how to erase your phone or computer if it is lost or stolen

NEW ONENow you can listen to the articles from Fox News!

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

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

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

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

Remember, you need to set it up in advance

Imagine 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 up – you are potentially handing over everything from your bank login to your social media accounts to who knows who.

Being able to wipe your devices remotely is incredibly helpful. But you need to configure the feature beforehand. If you wait until you need this feature, it’s too late. Take some time now to set it up by following the steps below.

Clean your Android

If you lose your Android phone, you can find, lock or wipe it remotely. You will need to have Find My Device enabled before using these features. That’s how.

  • Open the Settings app.
  • Faucet Safety > Find my device. If you don’t see Security, tap Safety and location or Google> Security.
  • Make sure Find My Device is turned on up.

Follow these steps to wipe your phone remotely

  • go to android.com/find and log into your Google account. If you have more than one phone, click lost phone at the top of the screen. If your lost phone has more than one user profile, sign in with a Google account in the main profile.
  • The lost phone will be notified and you will see its approximate location on a map. If you can’t locate your phone, you’ll see its last known location.
  • Choose Enable block and delete if necessary.
  • Choose Erase device on delete all data on your device permanently. Note: After performing this step, Find My Device will not work on that 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

Apple’s Where’s App allows you to remotely wipe an iPhone, iPad or Mac from afar. As with Android, make sure you’ve enabled Find My beforehand.

Enable Find My for iPhone and iPad:

  • Open the Settings app. Tap yours Last namethen tap find mine.
  • Faucet find mine [device]then turn on find mine [device].
  • To see your device even when it’s offline, turn it on Find my network.
  • To have your device’s location sent to Apple when the battery is low, turn on Send last position.

To activate Find My for your Mac:

  • Click the Apple menu > System Preferences > Security and privacy. Click the Privacy form. If the bottom left padlock is locked, click on it and enter your password.
  • Choose Location servicesthen select the Enable Location Services check box. Make sure the checkbox next to find mine is selected.
  • Click donethen go back to the main System Preferences window.
  • Click Apple ID > iCloud. Select the checkbox next to Find my Mac.
  • To make sure you can find your Mac if it is lost or stolen, click Options. Check it Find my Mac is on Other Find My Network is active.
  • Click done.
In this photo illustration, an Apple iPad shows its home screen. (Photo illustration by Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images)

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

Now, suppose your iPhone, iPad or Mac disappears. Here’s how to remotely wipe all data stored on it.

  • go to icloud.com and log into your account.
  • Click Find my iPhonethen All devices. (Note: If you don’t see All Devices, you’ve already selected a device. Click the current device name in the center of the toolbar to access the Devices list, then select a new device.)
  • Select the device you want to erase and click to delete [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, answer the security questions or enter the verification code sent to your other devices. Mac: Enter the Apple ID password. If you’re not using a trusted browser, answer the security questions or enter the verification code sent to your other devices. Enter a passcode to lock your Mac. You will need to use the passcode to unlock it.
  • iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple Watch: enter yours Apple ID password. If you’re not using a trusted browser, answer the security questions or enter the verification code sent to your other devices.
  • Mac: Enter the Apple ID password. If you’re not using a trusted browser, answer the security questions or enter the verification code sent to your other devices. Enter a passcode to lock your Mac. You will need to use the passcode to unlock it.
  • If the device is lost and you are asked to enter a phone number or message, indicate that the device is lost or how to contact you if you wish. The number and message will be displayed on the device lock screen.
  • If your device is online, the remote wipe begins after following the on-screen instructions. If your device is offline, the remote wipe begins the next time it is online.

MORE INTELLIGENT TECHNOLOGY: Every iPhone and Android user should know these ingenious commands

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

windows

You can also remotely wipe your Windows laptop. Make sure you’ve turned on Find My Device before this happens:

  • Sign in with your Microsoft account.
  • In Windows 10, go to Settings > Updates and security > Find my device and make sure the function is up.
  • In Windows 11, go to Settings > privacy and security > Find my device and make sure the function is up.

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

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

  • go to portal.azure.com/#home and log in.
  • Choose All the services and filters be in tune with.
  • Choose Microsoft Intune and select devices.
  • Select the device you want to remotely wipe.
  • Click to clean then Yup.
  • The next time you turn on the laptop, all data will be wiped within 15 minutes.

Unsubscribe from the Internet

While on the go, take another smart privacy step. Here is my latest guide on how to unsubscribe from the internet. It’s nearly impossible to completely wipe yourself off the web, but you can wipe out quite a bit if you know where to start.

PODCAST CHOICE: Traffic Trick, YouTube Shortcuts, Privacy Gold Tip – Komando.com

Do you want to unsubscribe from the Internet? That’s how. I’ll also tell you how to predict traffic conditions months in advance. You will learn some YouTube keyboard shortcuts that you will always use and the changes to Netflix that may come later this year. So, a piece of history died in a ransomware attack. Here’s what you need to know.

Check out my “Kim Komando Explains” podcast on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player.

Listen to the podcast here or wherever you find your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Command”.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show e tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen or watch The Kim Commando Show on 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 on the shopping links, you are supporting my research. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. I only recommend products I believe in.

Discover all the latest technologies on The Kim Commando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim answers calls and provides advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters, and more, visit her website at Komando.com.