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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > June 2020 > Protect Your Data When Moving From One Electronic Device to Another

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Protect Your Data When Moving From One Electronic Device to Another

Upgrading devices can be exciting, with all the potential for better pictures, faster processing speeds, expanded memory and new core functions. Before you dive in to setting up your new device, make sure to remove your personal information from your old device.

Taking steps to secure your data is particularly important if you are considering selling or passing down your old device to someone else. The device’s memory, as well as the app content, can contain personal information, potentially relating to your physical location, finances and more.

Here are a few steps to complete before selling, trading-in or gifting your old device:

Back up your data: Back up your data in the cloud or to another storage device. Based on your device’s operating system (for example, a version of Google’s Android or Apple’s iOS), some settings and data may be backed up automatically if the backup feature is enabled. Some Android data can be backed up using your Google account, while some iPhone data can be backed up to the iCloud. You can also manually back up data, such as photos or word processing files, by plugging your phone into a computer and saving files to a USB (jump) drive.

Remove SIM and SD Cards: SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) and SD (Secure Digital) memory cards store your contacts, text messages and subscriber information. If your phone has SIM and SD memory cards for storage, remove them prior to selling or recycling your phone. Generally, you can transfer your information to your new phone via your memory card.

Restore to factory settings: Restoring a device to factory settings will delete your personal information. First, make sure personalized apps, such as mobile banking and shopping apps have been removed. After you restore to factory settings, double check the device’s pre-installed programs, such as photos, videos, text message and social media apps to make sure they are no longer linked to your accounts.

After removing information from your old device, be sure to take time to correctly set up your new device. While it might be tempting to skip ahead to the exciting features on your new device, it’s best to carefully follow all of the set-up steps, especially those related to data and personal identification security.

Review your device’s privacy settings: Make sure you are comfortable with your privacy settings, which include, among other things, who can access your contacts, photos and location. Don’t forget: When reinstalling apps on your new device, you may need to revisit privacy settings for each of those apps. When setting up apps, make sure to choose unique, hard-to-guess passwords.

Protect yourself from scammers: If your device receives incoming calls, consider downloading a reputable robocall/scam prevention app and be sure to review the terms for the service. Also, beware that scammers may pretend to work for the manufacturer of your new device or your service provider in an attempt to steal your personal information or money.

Consumers who suspect an unfair business practice or want help addressing a consumer problem should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at or 800-282-0515.