Lost Your Smartphone? Time to Remote Wipe

If you’re going to use a Smartphone, having the ability to remotely wipe it is essential. With remote wiping, if your device goes missing–whether via theft or simply by losing it–you can quickly take steps to erase all data from that device. Remote wiping requires that the device be connected to the service provider’s network, so it’s important to do the remote wipe immediately after you realize you’ve lost your device.

If you’re working in an enterprise environment where email accounts and especially mobile devices are managed centrally, either by the firm or a third party, work with the administrators to determine the best remote wiping solution. Chances are good they already have a policy/strategy in place that you should be taking advantage. If not, consider one of these methods:


Starting with Android 2.2, remote wiping became available as a feature of the OS. In group settings, remote wipe has to be initiated via the Exchange server or the central Google Apps account. If you’re a solo or small firm practitioner, or you’re simply using the device independently of the office, you’ll probably need to install a third party app to enable remote wipe.

Two popular apps for this function are:

Android Lost (Free)
Allows users to remotely control an Android phone via the Internet or SMS. Can use it to read SMS inbox/sent, wipe the phone, lock the phone, locate the device, and more.

Where’s My Droid Pro ($3.99)
Allows user to locate phone by GPS or by ringing, remotely wipe device or inserted SD card, and enable a special ringtone when the device is lost. App can be activated via a landline phone.


Again, remote wiping on most BlackBerry devices would be handled by your firm or organization’s Exchange administrator. If you’re using a personal BlackBerry or don’t have a central administrator in your practice, one solution is to install an app available from RIM: BlackBerry Protect. The app is downloaded through the BlackBerry AppWorld, but once installed you’ll be able to backup your device wirelessly, lock or wipe its contents, locate the device via GPS, and quickly restore your settings and data to a new device.


To set up remote wiping on your iPhone, you’ll need to enable Find My iPhone. On iOS 5, you access that by navigating to Settings -> iCloud and clicking to enable “Find My iPhone.” Once enabled, all you need to do to locate, lock, or wipe your iPhone is to visit www.icloud.com, log in, and click “Find My iPhone.”

Windows Phone

To remotely wipe a Windows Phone device, start by logging into www.windowsphone.com using the Windows Live ID you used to sign up. Click the “My Phone” link and then click the link to “Find My Phone.” The first time you do this you’ll be given specific instructions to follow to properly set up the process. From there, you’ll be able to lock the device, make the phone ring, or erase the contents of the device.

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