Quick tips before you switch to a new iPhone

Before you make the move to an iPhone 6, remember to take a few moments to address a few commonly overlooked tasks

iphone6

Phil Schiller, Senior Vice President at Apple Inc., speaks about the iPhone 6 (foreground) and the iPhone 6 Plus during an Apple event at the Flint Center in Cupertino, California, September 9, 2014.

Credit: REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Millions of people are switching to the latest iPhone this week.

Apple has said that this latest iPhone release is their largest ever, with some 4 million units pre-ordered within the first 24-hours. But before you trade-up, here's some basic tips to help protect your new device, both at home and at the office.

1. Backups are a must

Before you head out to AT&T or Verizon, remember to backup your device. If you've followed the news, you know that iCloud had some issues recently. So it might seem odd to see encouragement to use the service.

However, iCloud is no different from any other Web-based / cloud-based backup solution. As such, there is a risk that your data could be compromised while stored, but that is the same risk all online backup services come with. Also, iCloud itself wasn't compromised, some of its users were, and there's a big difference between the two.

Risk or no risk, backups are essential. If you lose your phone, or something happens to damage it, then your contacts, photos, applications, music, etc. could be gone forever.

In this case, the risk that iCloud could be hacked is acceptable one when compared to the loss of everything else. So, before you go to trade-in your old iPhone for a new one, make sure it's been backed up.

If you need help with this, Apple has posted instructions online.

2. Let the helpdesk / IT department know you've gotten a new iPhone

If the device you're currently using (iPhone or Android) is connected to the corporate network or email (perhaps both), then IT will need to know when you've traded it in.

This enables them to deactivate the old device, removing it from corporate access and policy control. They'll thank you for the notice, as you'll be making their lives much easier in the long run.

3. Consider wiping the device

If you're going to turn-in your old device for a new one, then performing a full wipe might be a consideration after you've created backups.

If you have an iPhone, Apple recommends the following:

1. Backup your device.

2. Go to Settings > General > Reset, then tap Erase All Content and Settings.

This erases the device and turns off iCloud, iMessage, FaceTime, Game Center, and other services.

"If you're using iOS 7 or later, and have Find My iPhone turned on, your Apple ID and password will be required. After you provide your password, the device will be erased and removed from your account so that the next owner can activate it," Apple's technical instructions note.

If you have an Android device, a factory reset might not work completely. Depending on what version of Android you're running, the factory reset option is under:

Menu > Settings > Privacy > Factory Reset

-or-

Settings > Personal > Backup & Reset

Once a factory reset is complete, it's possible that some personal information is still on the device, but it's only available if someone is using recovery software in most cases.

However, an extra step to take would be to encrypt the device before running the factory reset. This way, anything that's leftover is that much harder to recover for the average person.

The encryption option is under Settings > Security. If you plan to keep the SIM card, then you only need to worry about phone storage. Keep in mind that this process can be slow if you have a lot of data on the device.

4. On the new device, remember the essentials

Once you have the new iPhone, remember to enable the Passcode Lock option, as well as auto-lock feature, and limit the number of unlock attempts. In addition, it's a good idea to install Find My iPhone and Remote Data Wipe.

Your IT department might have special rules when it comes to using the device on their network, so it's best to ask. In addition, they'll likely have additional safety and security tips, which is always a good thing.

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