How to Erase Your Data After Quitting Your Job
By Nick Anderson 5 minutes
Nothing lasts forever. To grow in your professional career, you may have to leave the job that you enjoy today. It’s not just the memories that you build during your time working at the job, your work devices pile up data that can be both professional and personal. Your workstation will be assigned to someone else once you officially resign from the position.
To ensure that your data does not get into someone’s hands, here are some tips on how to erase your data after quitting your job.
Your Devices Hold Important Information
The smartphone that you carry holds more information about you than any other device. It’s where you store texts, photos, videos, and browse work-related files on the go. Your work laptop is where you do all the heavy-duty tasks day in and day out. A Google account links many different services, such as YouTube, Gmail, Maps. And you may be signed in on various other platforms as well.
The point to draw here is that there’s more data on your devices than you realize. Your internet activity or social media accounts can be exposed to someone else if you do not take certain steps before marking the last day at the job.
How to Erase Data from Work Computer
Make a Backup
The first thing you need to do is make a backup of everything that belongs to you. Remember that data related to your work is the confidential property of the company. You cannot and should not backup such data.
We reckon it will only be a couple of gigs. In which case, cloud storage platforms like Google Drive or Dropbox will do the job.
Log out of all accounts
You are likely using a Google account to access services such as Gmail. It will remain logged-in in the browser until you sign out. As explained above briefly, a Google account gives you access to many other Google platforms. But it doesn’t only apply to Google and other cloud services; you may have signed in on platforms like Stackexchange, Github, Quora, Linkedin, Twitter, and more.
Note: Don’t delete browsing history if your browsing history, saved password, and such are saved on the browser’s account. Deleting any of the said data will remove it from the account itself. Sync your browser account, then log out of that account. This will instantly remove everything related to your account.
Delete your logins
If you use a separate browser account (or no account at all) specific to your current job, then simply synching and logging out of the account is not enough. Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and Safari save logins in the browser for future access. Go to your browser’s settings and find the option for saved logins. Then, delete all of them.
It may escape your notice but instant access to the websites you use every day will require you to login on to another device. So, if you deleted an important login without noting it down first, you will need to reset the password. Before deleting any login, make sure that you have the login information saved elsewhere.
If you use a browser account to sync data and browsing history, it will be stored on the cloud. Hence, simply log out of the account and reset the browser.
Factory Reset Your Phone
If you use a phone granted by your company, do a factory reset before handing it over. It is not enough to just manually delete everything that’s in there. A factory reset is designed to wipe data and make data recovery impossible for the next person.
Most people simply erase data in the gallery app and consider everything gone. But as explained in the premise, your phone is more than just storage for photos and videos. Your iCloud or Google account is one example of what will still be active. A factory reset will ensure that everything added to the phone by you is permanently erased from the device.
Reset Your Computer
Once you have backed up everything important on the computer, it’s time to reset it. Here’s how to reset your Windows PC or Mac:
- Click on the Start button and go to Settings.
- Go to Update & Security.
- From the left menu, click on Recovery. Now, click on Reset this PC button.
- Select Remove everything. (This will ensure that all the programs and personal files are deleted)
- Launch iTunes.
- Go to Account > Authorizations > select Deauthorize This Computer.
- Shut down your computer.
- Now, when it’s completely shut down, press and hold the Command + R keys (Intel-based Mac) or hold the power button for a few seconds (Apple Silicon-based Mac), while it’s booting up.
- Enter the macOS Utilities menu. Then, click on Disk Utility.
- Select the main storage where macOS is installed. Then, click on Erase.
- Make sure the format is APFS. Now, confirm the erase. Wait for the process to finish.
- Go back to the macOS Utilities menu and select Reinstall macOS.
That’s it. Your Mac should now be wiped clean.
If you do not have the privileges to carry out a factory reset, have the IT department do it.
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