ALBANY, NY -- Dumping the data on your old phone is key to protecting your information from ending up in the wrong hands, and it only takes a few clicks on your old phone.
On many phones, the pictures you're saving and all the information you're storing ends up on a tiny chip known as the SD card inside of your phone.
"How easy is it to get information off of that card?" asked NEWS10 ABC's Trishna Begam.
"It's trivial, it's trivial. You just insert it into a phone. There are chip reading devices; there are a variety of ways you can read all of that information," replied Sanjay Goel, the director of research at the New York State Center for Information Forensics.
Goel said most phones have an SD card you can remove, but iPhone users have built in memory.
"The card can be changed. You can take the same card put it into a different phone. That's not the case with an iPhone. The data has to be recopied onto your next device," he explained.
Either way, he says if you're ditching your old phone for a new one you should protect your pictures and all your personal information either by using the same card in your new phone or swiping it clean.
"Honestly, people don't even think about it. They are so excited about the new phone they just dump their old phone and walk away," Goel added.
This leaves your personal pictures up for grabs for anyone. The following steps will guide you through deleting information on an old phone or card.
For iPhone Users:
Step 1: Click on your settings icon
Step 2: Tap the General tab
Step 3: Scroll down to reset and tap
Step 4: Choose "Erase All Content and Settings"
Step 5: It will ask you for your passcode, and prompt you to confirm
"It will basically wipe all of your data," Goel explained.
Resetting your phone also turns off iCloud for you.
For Android and other smartphones:
Step 1: Find settings
Step 2: Tap Storage
Step 3: Choose format SD card
Step 4: Confirm by selecting yes
This will clear your SD card, but you'll also want to erase data on your phone because information may be saved on both. You can find those options in Settings under the about section. There will be an option to reset phone.
If your phone model is slightly different the best approach is to Google the model and follow the step by step how to guide posted on your providers website. Erasing your pictures and other data ensures no one else will have access to it on an old device or SD card.
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