Smartphones: Lost devices and how to remove personal data remotely


Note: If your smartphone is lost, stolen, or you want to remove all personal data from it, you can use a process known as Remote Device Wipe. This process removes all personal data from your phone and only works with phones that sync email with Exchange in Office 365.

OIT can only help remove data from iPhones, Andriod, and other ActiveSync devices that use Exchange and ActiveSync technology at Princeton. OIT cannot wipe smartphones that use IMAP or the IMAP protocol within Exchange. The smartphone must be activated with the carrier, turned on, and connected to a cellular network for the wipe to be successful. If the carrier de-activates the phone first, OIT cannot wipe it. Carriers can also wipe phones that are lost.


Remote Device Wipe
If you are an Office365 user, you can wipe you own smartphone yourself by logging onto Office365 Online Web Access at

  1. Click on the gear icon in the upper right corner to open the Settings sidebar
  2. In the "Search all settings" box, type "Mobile"
  3. Click on Manage mobile devices
  4. You will see a list of mobile devices connected to your account
  5. Select the phone you wish to wipe from the list and click the "wipe all data" icon

You will receive a confirmation message that asks you if you are sure that you want to perform this action. If you decide to perform the remote device wipe, the data on your mobile phone and any installed storage cards will be deleted the next time that the mobile phone tries to connect to the Office365. As soon as a remote device wipe has been initiated, the status of your phone will be Pending Wipe. When the wipe is complete, the status of the mobile phone will change to Wipe Completed.

After a remote device wipe has occurred, data recovery will be very difficult. However, no data removal process leaves a phone as free from residual data as it is when it's new. Recovery of data from a phone may still be possible by using sophisticated tools.

Delete phone first before trying to sync again
After you perform a remote wipe on your phone, it remains on the list of mobile phones. To remove it from the list, select the phone, and then click Remove. If you perform a remote device wipe on a mobile phone and then have to synchronize the phone with your mailbox later, you must delete the phone from the list before you try to configure it to synchronize again. If you don't do this, the phone will perform a remote device wipe again.

To report a lost or stolen smartphone, contact the OIT Help Desk by calling (609) 258-4357 (258-HELP) or sending e-mail to