Things you should do before Disposing or Selling your SmartHome devices; removing Personal Data

smarthome devices

Yes, we live in 21st-century homes, where devices inside the house talk to each other more often than the humans inside the home talk to each other. What’s the technical word for it again? Internet of Things, or IoT if you are feeling ‘swaggy.’

Your phone is talking to your smart-bulb up in the ceiling. Your computer is talking to your Google Home device next to your bed. Your TV in the living room is always talking to your oven back in the kitchen (so you don’t let food burn while you’re in too deep into your movies).

Just a bunch of machine talking to each other constantly

The tech companies that make these smart home devices keep releasing newer versions. Sometimes in yearly succession. No doubt, the successor devices come with better features. So naturally, you will feel like you need to upgrade these smart devices as soon as you can.

Now, what happens to the devices that you already have, but want to upgrade to the latest model? A smart consumer will float it back to the market, either eBay, OLX, or any traditional offline resale markets. For the good samaritans, you will give it as a gift to a family or friend.

Removing Personal Data from your SmartHome device before resale or gifting

Unless the device is not working correctly, you should never allow any of your IoT devices to be in another person’s hands if you did not remove your data. In the wrong hands (read smart hacker hands), you will be giving away your online accounts credentials.

That said, you must wipe off personal data off these smarthome devices before re-selling or giving them away. Here is a list on some of the popular IoT devices in people’s home and how to wipe clean your personal data from them.

Factory resetting your Google Home

If you are giving away or re-selling your Google Home device. It will be advisable to wipe clean your device of any personal data. For the Google Home Mini and Home Max, look at the underside near the power cable.

There will be a small button there, which if you press down and the hole for 15 seconds will factory reset the device. Once the reset is complete, the Google Home device will confirm the factory reset successful process.

For the full-sized unit of the Google Home, simply hold down the mute microphone button located at the back for 15 seconds. It will also have a voice confirmation of the factory reset process complete.

Factory Resetting Amazon Echo

There are already several generations of Amazon Echo in the market, and some of these generations have various models. Each generation may have a different factory reset method from the other.

For Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot take a paperclip and unbent it. Now use the straight end and put it inside a hole found at the bottom and press gently for at least 10 seconds. You will see the light ring turned off, and then turn back on again. That will confirm the successful factory reset.

For the second generation Echo Dot, Echo, and Echo Plus press down on the volume down button and microphone off button for 25 seconds. The light ring will turn off and then on again confirming the factory reset completed.

On the third generation Echo Input, Echo Auto, and Echo Sub devices. You will need to press and hold the action button for 25 seconds. The newer Amazon Echo (Echo Show or Spot) there is a screen with a user interface that allows you to perform a factory reset easily.

Factory Resetting the Philips Hue smart bulb

Yes, we have grown into such couch potatoes that waking up and turning the light off or no is such a hustle. We’d rather tap on our phones to do so, but that is not the point. You can control the bulb from an app on your smartphone.

Neither does the app give you a function to factory reset the bulb, nor will uninstalling automatically reset the device. To perform a factory reset, you are going to need the Philips Hue Switch.

To do the factory reset, turn off any other Hue bulbs in the house except the one you want to re-sell or give away. Though that step is not strictly necessary, it makes things easier in the steps ahead.

Now take the Hue switch as close to the bulb as possible, turn on the bulb, and then press and hold the on and off buttons simultaneously for 10 seconds. The bulb will flash but continue holding the buttons for a couple of more seconds. Now hold just the off button and then the on button. Voila, you have successfully reset the Philips Hue bulb.

Factory resetting other SmartHome devices

We obviously can’t cover all IoT devices, but here is your take home. It is absolutely essential to factory reset your smarthome device before reselling it or giving away as a gift. It will not only secure your personal data but also make it easier for the second-hand owner or beneficiary to use it.

Some of these devices will be a headache to connect to a second home network if they still have login credentials from a different home network.

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