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Privacy

Remove your ex from your digital footprint

You leave a digital trail everywhere you go. Cookies track which sites you visit and your browsing habits are used to create a profile of you. Your phone, computer, social media and various accounts all contribute to this.

New privacy options let you slow down the tracking and how much information you provide online, but it’s unlikely you can ever truly delete yourself from the internet. You can take steps in that direction, however. Tap or click here for instructions on getting started.

Breaking off a relationship is not easy these days. You have many more digital strings attached and simply blocking your ex on social media isn’t enough. But, if you truly want to move on, there’s more you can do to cut the cord.

Audit your online accounts

Couples share accounts. It’s a given. When things are over, you should change your passwords. Whether you both knew it or there’s a chance they have your information, this is a safe move. You don’t want a bitter ex to mess with your stuff.

  • To change your Facebook password on mobile, go to Settings & Privacy > Settings > Security & Login > Change password. On your PC, go to Settings & Privacy > Settings > Security & Login and click Edit next to Change password.
  • To change your password on Facebook Messenger, tap your Profile icon, then Account Settings > Security and Login > Change password.
  • On Instagram, tap the hamburger menu icon and go to Settings > Security > Password.
  • If you want to change your Gmail password, open your Google Account and select Security. Then choose Password under Signing into Google. You’ll have to sign in again, after which you can enter a new password. Google itself tracks your searches, clicked links, YouTube history, location history and more. Tap or click here to see what Google is tracking and how to do something about it.
  • For Netflix, sign in to your account from a computer and select your profile. Hover over your icon and click on Account, then scroll down to Sign out of all devices. Now log into your account again and go to Account. This time click Change password. If your ex has their own profile on your account, go to Manage Profiles and select it, then hit Delete Profile.
  • To boot someone from your Hulu, go to your Account page and select Manage Devices, then remove the ones you want to log out. To change your password, go to your account and select Change Password under the Your Account section.

Shared bills

Double-check all of your accounts to see what you share. Check your phone plan. Be careful if you share cloud services such as iCloud — this could give others access to your emails, texts, photos, contacts, notes, calendars and more.

  • To change your iCloud password, you’ll have to change your Apple ID password. On your iOS device, go to Settings > [your name] > Password & Security > Change Password.

Secret questions

Your ex likely knows a lot about you: the street you grew up on, where you were born, your mother’s maiden name, your first car, the name of your first pet, etc. Do these sound familiar? They are common security questions, and your answers can give someone access to your account even if they never shared it with you.

Log into your bank, medical and other accounts and change your answers. Lying can not only protect you from your ex’s snooping eyes but also prevent hackers from getting into your information. Just make sure to remember your fake answers! While you’re at it, make sure your passwords are strong. Check out which generation is just the worst at password creation.

Smart home tech

Your smart home devices can give a vengeful former lover access you’d rather they don’t have. The first step is to change your router password. You’ll need to access your router’s configuration page via your web browser. Check your router’s instruction manual to find out how to get there. Tap or click here to learn how to change your home network from public to private.

Check if your ex has access to any other smart devices in your home, such as security cameras, smart locks, garage door openers, speakers, smart blinds/shades and more.

Memories

  • Just when you thought you were over your breakup, Facebook pops in with a painful memory. To get rid of those sad reminders, go to facebook.com/memories and select Hide People under Settings. Next, click inside the box that says, Start typing a name… and type in the people you don’t want to see in your Memories. Then click Save.
  • To hide people from Google Photos Memories, open the Google Photos app and tap on your profile icon. Tap Photo settings > Memories > Hide people & pets. Tap on the faces of the people you want to hide from Memories. When you’re finished, tap the back arrow and you’re all set.
  • When it comes to Apple, the ability to hide specific people in your Photos Memories will be coming along with iOS 15.

If you’re in the unfortunate position of a breakup, make sure to take these precautionary steps. They will protect your digital life and give you peace of mind that things won’t get messy down the road.

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