Quick Guide on How to Safely Delete Data From Your Smartphone

Whenever you get rid of an old phone you want to ensure that your personal data is not left on it for prying eyes to see and use. Often, the “restore to factory” setting doesn’t actually prevent people from recovering old files or data that was on it. It may prevent your old photos and files from being seen, but many will still be accessible.
But, don’t worry there is a safe and more secure way to delete it for good.  Keep reading.

There are just 5 steps to follow to securely reset your phone:

  1. Take out any mobile expansion card (i.e. Micro-SD cards)
  2. Before wiping any data, encrypt the whole smartphone.
  3. Fill up the device’s memory by copying files over to the smartphone.
  4. Make sure you log out of any Apple/Google or any other auto-log in apps.
  5. Proceed to factory reset and wipe the data from the device.

Notes for Android users:

If it’s an Android 6.0 version or later the device will already be encrypted by default, but the SD card won’t be, so make sure this is removed.  If it’s an earlier version of Android go into Settings, then Security.  In here, you will be allowed to select if you want all data to be encrypted on the phone.  If not already turned on, then just flick it on.

Notes for iPhone users:

The process is slightly different with Apple as there are different controls and settings on the phone.  If you have a password on the phone then the device should already be encrypted, but if not, just create one and this will automatically enable the encryption (you can check this on the Passcode string page).

Apple’s recommended 7 steps for securely removing data from your phone:

  1. Unpair your Apple Watch (if applicable).
  2. Back up your iOS device.
  3. Tap Settings then iCloud.  From here, scroll down and tap Sign Out (in iOS 7 or older, tap Delete Account)
  4. Tap Sign Out again, then Delete from My iPhone and enter your password.
  5. Go to Settings, then General, then Reset, then Erase All Content and Settings.
  6. You may then be asked for the device passcode or restrictions passcode, so enter that and tap Erase.
  7. For help transferring to a new owner, contact your service provider.

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