Say goodbye to prying eyes – How to ensure your private notes are deleted after reading?

You need to jot down a private thought, make a mental note, or write a quick personal reminder. It could be a password, phone number, to-do list, or even a secret diary entry. You don’t want it sitting around for prying eyes to see later, so you need it gone as soon as you’re finished referencing it. But is deleting it enough? How do you ensure your private digital notes are permanently erased?

When you delete a file or note on your computer or phone, it may seem like it’s gone for good. However, that is often not the case. The data is still physically stored on the device’s hard drive or internal memory until it is overwritten by new data. If someone has physical access to the device, they likely recover deleted files and see your private information using data recovery software. Even restoring from an old system backup makes deleted data reappear.

Use encrypted notes apps

The most secure way to take digital notes privately is to use an encrypted note app. privatenote encrypts your data as soon as you type it so that only someone with the passphrase access it. Many apps allow you to set a lifecycle timeframe for your notes, messages, and files. In Gmail, you set an expiration date for certain emails to self-destruct. Whatsapp lets you send view-once photos and videos that the recipient sees just once before they disappear. Enable these auto-delete settings so your private data doesn’t stick around indefinitely.

Use secure browsers and incognito mode

When you need to look something up quickly without keeping a browsing history, use a secure browser like DuckDuckGo or enable your browser’s Incognito or Private Browsing mode. These prevent any record of your browsing session from being locally stored. Also, disable auto-fill and autocomplete if you don’t want sensitive info cached. Close the window when finished for added security. Cloud syncing services like iCloud and Google Drive are convenient but keep copies of your data on external servers. For private notes, avoid the cloud and stick to local device storage. Also, disable backups to external drives or other linked devices. Enable local encryption if you want to secure notes stored locally.

Use flash memory or external drives

Use temporary external storage devices like USB flash drives and external hard drives. Encrypt the device, take your notes locally, and then wipe and reformat the drive when finished. Just be sure to completely erase and reformat the drive to prevent file recovery – don’t just delete the files. Sometimes the old ways are the best. Jot notes on paper, then destroy it when done. Use a cross-cut shredder on physical documents for secure disposal. Watch out for carbon copies imprinted on the pad underneath if you are pressing hard while writing. If you need to reference sensitive info on your screen, make sure your webcam is disabled and covered to avoid visual snooping. Disable the webcam in your OS settings or device manager. Then use a sticky note or sliding cover for assured privacy from camera snooping.