Updated On April 2, 2018 - 9:35am

Do a Digital Spring Cleaning

Each spring, we clean our homes — why not give your online life a fresh start as well? Refreshing your online life is simple. Here are some tips for your digital spring cleaning:


Lock down your login: Begin your spring cleaning by enabling Multi-factor Authentication on your UCLA Logon at http://it.ucla.edu/iamucla.  Then, protect the other key accounts in your life like email, banking and social media. Here’s a list of websites that support two-factor authentication.

Keep a clean machine: Ensure all software on internet-connected devices – including PCs, smartphones and tablets – is up to date to reduce risk of infection from malware.

Declutter your mobile life: Most of us have apps we no longer use and some that need updating. Delete unused apps and keep others current, including the operating system on your mobile device. 

Do a digital file purge: Review your online files thoroughly. Treat digital records, PCs, phones and any device with storage just as you would paper files. 

  • Clean up your email: Save only those emails you really need and unsubscribe to email you no longer need or want to receive.
  • Back it up: Copy important data to a secure cloud site or another computer/drive where it can be safely stored. Password protect backup drives. Always back up your files before getting rid of a device.

Own your online presence: Review the privacy and security settings on websites you use to ensure they’re at your comfort level for sharing. See Privacy and Internet Security to learn more. 

Now that you’ve cleaned, some tips for safely disposing electronically-stored data:

Know what devices to digitally “shred”: Computers and mobile phones aren’t the only devices that capture and store sensitive, personal data. External hard drives and memory sticks, wearables, networking equipment and office tools like copiers, printers and fax machines all contain valuable personal information.

Clear out stockpiles: If you have a stash of old hard drives or other devices — even if they’re in a locked storage area — information still exists and could be stolen. Don’t wait: wipe and/or destroy unneeded hard drives as soon as possible.

Empty your trash or recycle bin on all devices and be certain to wipe and overwrite: Simply deleting and emptying the trash isn’t enough to completely get rid of a file. Permanently delete old files using a program that deletes the data, “wipes” it from your device and overwrites it by putting random data in place of your information ‒ that then cannot be retrieved. 

Decide what to do with the device: Once the device is wiped of all your personal data, you can sell it, trade it in, give it away, recycle it or have it destroyed.

You’re all finished! 

Related Information

UCLA Identity and Access Management  
UCLA IT Security
StaySafeOnline
StopThinkConnect
Two Factor Auth (2FA)
Downloadable Digital Spring Cleaning checklist (PDF)