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You may not care about security breaches anymore (and we still don’t approve of it). However, how would you feel if a stranger took your phone, started to read messages and look at your photos?

Not exactly what you can call a perfect situation, right? Here’s a cherry on top of that disaster: when you delete the information on your device, it’s not actually erased and can be easily recovered with the help of the right tools by pretty much anyone who’s willing to spend the time on it!

What if you decided to get rid of the device, sell it or even borrow it to a friend? In any of these cases, it’s crucial to remove the sensitive data entirely and make sure it can’t be recovered.

It’s especially important for those who have jobs that require managing large sums of money because the stakes here are even higher. So, we gathered tips to give you the idea of how to remove the digital data from different devices completely and, what’s more important, securely.

How to Wipe All Data on Your PC

In case you want to wipe a PC, the approach differs slightly depending on whether you have an HDD (hard drive) or SSD (solid-state drive) as ZDNet states. You can securely wipe an HDD with the following methods.

  • Using software eraser. Although it’s the cheapest way of erasing drives, using a software eraser can take lots of time and it isn’t effective if a disk is damaged. The method requires some additional computer knowledge though.
  • Using bespoke hardware. This is another way to wipe the drive clean. Taking this method can be a little expensive. Using dedicated hardware for deleting your digital data is fast and reliable. Another plus is that, except for pushing a few buttons, it basically does everything for you.
  • Put a few nails into it. As funny as it may sound, this is a perfect solution in case if your drive is damaged or defective but you still need to remove sensitive information from it. All you need to do is to take a hammer and drive it through with a 6-inch nail. Make sure to hit the platters of the drive because this is where all the information is being stored (aim for the middle). And enjoy the stress relief.

There are 4 simple ways to erase an SSD.

  • Using manufacturer utilities. Visit a website of your SSD’s manufacturer and follow their guides for using their utility designed for erasing the drive.
  • Encrypting your SSD. Encrypting the drive with a complex passphrase will prevent most people from getting your sensitive data.
  • Using software. There are lots of pieces of software designed for wiping out SSDs.
  • Destroying it physically. As with HDD, if the drive is damaged and you don’t need it anymore, destroying it with a hammer or putting it is the best solution. And it is also a really fun thing to do. Mind that in the case with SSDs, the data is stored on flash storage chips so the key to removing the information from it is hitting it those chips.

How to Delete Everything on Your Mac

As with any other devices, the question of removing digital data securely is also relevant for Mac users. While simply putting a nail through the drive will always work, there are less destructive ways to wipe them clean. First of all, you need to determine whether you have an SSD or HDD drive. Then it’s very important to make a backup with the help of the system’s built-in software called Time Machine, and then, you are ready to start. Erasing Mac HDD:

  • Turn off your Mac
  • Press the power button and hold the command and R keys right away.
  • From the given list, select “Disk Utility” and click continue.
  • Chose the disk you want to erase and click the Erase button.
  • Select “Security Options” and choose how deeply you want it to be cleaned. It’s worth noting that the most secure methods to erase the drive can take hours to complete.

Most new Macs only come with SSDs and, as you probably have heard, Apple’s Disk Utility doesn’t provide the option to erase them. The company states that there’s no need to do that because a standard erase makes it hard to recover data from the drive. However, if you are not used taking someone’s word for it, there are some ways to protect your data and remove it securely from your MAC SSD:

  • Using a FileVault. It’s disk encryption for Mac devices, and it protects your sensitive data with a password. Mind that losing your key will make it extremely hard to get your data back.
  • Using the Terminal app. If you still want to erase your SSD securely there’s one option. It’s quite difficult, but it works. The app provides a command line allowing to access the OS X operating system. You need to type (diskutil secureErase freespace VALUE /Volumes/DRIVE). Just change VALUE to a number (0–4) and DRIVE to the name of your SSD.

How to Wipe any iPhone in Minutes

If you’ve decided to give away or sell your iPhone for whatever reason, removing all the private information is crucial. Failing to do so can lead to stealing your sensitive information and using it against you. The following hacks will help you to avoid such situations.

  • Unpair your Apple Watch (if you have it). This step can be easy to forget but it’s necessary to do it in order to protect your data. It’s noteworthy that unpairing the watch will restore it to factory settings but it needs to be done anyway.
  • Deregister from iMessages. This is an important step if you are planning to switch to an Android device. Otherwise, your number will still appear in your friends’ iPhones as the one connected to iMessage and you might not get all the messages and SMS texts.
  • Create an iOS Backup. This way you’ll be able to transfer all the data to your new iPhone if needed. You can do it with a help of iTunes and iCloud.
  • Disable the “Find my iPhone” features. Turn it off before wiping the device clean or in case if you want to sell it, as otherwise, the new owner won’t be able to use it.
  • Sign out of your Apple account. Make sure that your phone is no longer connected to your Apple ID account (iCloud, iTunes, App Store) before removing all the data from the device.
  • Restore your iPhone to factory settings. Restoring the phone to the factory settings will wipe all the data from your iPhone. It can be done through iTunes or directly on your iPhone.

How to Delete Everything on an Android Device

Important emails, sensitive data, contact information etc. It’s extremely important to erase it from your Android phone properly before selling it to avoid losing any confidential information. In Digital trends, we found the following tips:

  • Encrypt your data. The factory reset doesn’t really remove all the data like it’s supposed to. In order to remove the information properly, it’s necessary to encrypt your data with a built-in Android option.
  • Remove Factory Reset Protection (FRP). FRP is an Android security measure protecting users from thieves. If this option is enabled, then the phone will require the username and the password of the last Google account after a factory reset. Failing to enter those details will lock the phone. Therefore, it’s recommended to remove your Google account before wiping your phone.
  • Factory reset your phone. It’s important to do a backup before wiping your phone.

How to Wipe Portable Media Devices

One question that genZ may struggle to answer is “What’s a landline?”. Millennials not only used to have it but they also still use USB sticks! CompariTech explains how to wipe them completely:

  • Formatting. Any external devices can be erased with the help of a built-in option in Windows and MacOS operating systems.
  • Using software. There is a wide range of programs designed to wipe external storage devices securely. This gives you more control over the entire process.

Generally, it’s recommended to wipe your storage drives according to DoD 5220.28-STD standard developed by US Department of Defense (they actually know what they’re doing). If it’s good for the US army, it’s probably good for you too.

Why You Should Always Wipe Your Devices Taking care of the security of your digital data is a routine and frankly, also a pretty dull task. However, it’s definitely worth the efforts and time spent, especially for those who manage their finances or works on their laptops (so, 99{6feaf74659bb228ac71d4b44630a8d52e718e4127a7f4337598235e19f63e205} of the adult population). All in all, we don’t sell our laptops every day, do we?

The higher the stakes are the more precautions should be taken. Hard drives, phones, portable devices, etc. can potentially lead to losing your confidential data and facing awful consequences. Being lazy in this situation and hoping for the best is definitely not an option. Take a little time to clean up your devices the right way, and you’ll be safe from potential disasters that could have gone your way.

Some More Advice on Privacy on the Internet

How Not to be Tracked: 3 Browser Extensions You Need

Must-Have Encryption Software to Protect Your Data in Case of a Device Loss or Theft

At ROKKEX, we take security extremely seriously and our crypto exchange is built on ‘Security First’ principle. We want to share our expertise with the broader public for the world to become happy, safe, and wise.

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