How to Update Your Digital Footprint for the New Year

PHOTO: Privacy setting shortcuts are displayed on a smartphone screen in this 2015 file photo.Bloomberg/Getty Images
Privacy setting shortcuts are displayed on a smartphone screen in this 2015 file photo.

Sweeping up the digital bread crumbs you leave online can be a nearly impossible task, but there are ways to clean up your online presence.

As 2015 comes to a close, here are a few ways you can update your digital footprint so you're ready to start the new year off right.

Google Yourself

A quick Google search of your name may turn up something you forgot about or perhaps photos or information someone else has posted online about you. The Family Online Safety Institute also recommends trying misspellings of your name to ensure all areas are covered. If you find an old account, try logging in to delete the information. If a friend posted something you don't like, ask that person to remove it.

Tighten Up Your Facebook Settings

Click the little padlock in the upper right corner of Facebook and choose the "privacy checkup" option. This will guide you through three quick steps to check and change your settings. The quick tune-up will show who sees your posts, which apps you've used Facebook to log into, and who sees certain fields on your profile.

Update Your Software

Any item with an Internet connection is hackable. Make sure your software is up to date on all of your devices to ensure your private digital life stays protected.

Check Your iCloud

If you want to make sure old photos or messages are gone, check your cloud. Go to settings, then iCloud, Storage & Backup, then tap Manage Storage.

Under Documents & Data tap the app from which you want to delete data. This will then bring up any documents associated with that app that are in iCloud. Tap edit, select the item to delete, and then choose delete or delete all.

One Final Note

It's important to remember that digital copies of embarrassing Myspace profiles or tweets from years ago are likely to exist somewhere even after they're deleted. Bottom line: Think before you post.