How to securely wipe your phone

If you’re buying a new mobile phone, you may be wondering how to get rid of your old phone. You may want to sell it, give it to a friend or family member to use, or send it back to the original manufacturer. Regardless of which choice you make, you’ll need to erase all the data on your smartphone to ensure no one else can access your private information. 

Skip to wiping an iPhone

Skip to wiping an Android phone

Skip to wiping a Windows phone

Before you wipe your phone

Before you wipe your old phone, make sure your data has been transferred over to your new phone. If you’ve already backed up everything you need, ensure you’ve also done the following on the old phone you’re losing:

  1. Log out of all email and social media accounts 
  2. Unpair your phone from other devices like headphones, smartwatches, and smart home appliances
  3. Sign out of iCloud (for iPhones) and the App Store
  4. Remove the SIM card and microSD card (if present)

How to securely wipe your iPhone

The following advice is for all iPhones operating on iOS 10.3 or later. If your phone is on 10.3, you should update it to the latest OS before continuing.

Step 1

Turn off Find My iPhone by going to:

Settings > [Your name at the top] > iCloud > Find My > Find My iPhone > Turn the toggle to off (grey)

Step 2

Make sure you’ve signed out of everything, such as: App Store, iCloud, and social media accounts. You must sign out of iCloud before deleting any data, or your information will also be deleted in iCloud.

Step 3

Wipe your phone by going to:

Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings

If you’re asked to enter your passcode, type it in and then tap Erase Device

How to wipe your iPhone remotely

If for any reason you don’t have your iPhone on you anymore, you can still erase your data.

1 - Sign into iCloud

2 - Go to Find My iPhone

3 - Select your device

4 - Click Erase

5 - Click Remove from Account


How to securely wipe your Android

Whilst there’s only one type of Apple phone, there are many Androids - Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, Nokia, Google, and so on. This means that the settings on every device will differ slightly. Although we’ve tried to make our guide as universal as possible, some things may be labelled differently or in slightly different locations. 

Before you start, make sure you’ve backed up all your data into cloud storage, and transferred it over to your new phone. You should also sign out of all your email and social accounts, as well as the Google Play Store. 

Step 1

Disable Google’s Factory Reset Protection (FRP). FRP is a security feature on Android 5.1 or later, which prevents the use of the device even after a factory reset. 

To disable FRP so someone else can use your device, go to:

Settings > Accounts and Backup > Accounts > [Select your Google account] > Remove Account

Once the Google account has been removed, the FRP will be automatically deactivated. Likewise, once you log into a Google account on your new phone, FRP will usually be activated without permission, but you can always turn this extra security feature off if you don’t want it. 

Step 2 

On Android 5.0 or later

Settings > Backup and reset > Factory data reset > Reset Device > Erase Everything 

On Android 5.0 or earlier

Settings > General & Backup and reset > Factory data reset > Reset device > Delete all

How to wipe your Android if it’s frozen

If your Android device is frozen, or you can’t use the screen, you can still perform a factory reset to wipe your data.

Step 1 

Hold down the Volume Up button, Home button, and Power key button all at the same time.

Step 2

Recovery mode should pop up on the screen. Once it does, you can use the volume keys to select the wipe data / factory reset option.

Step 3

Use the Power key to press Enter.

If you don’t see these options on your device, refer to your phone’s instruction manual to find the exact process. 


How to securely wipe your Windows phone

Before you start, make sure you’ve backed up everything you want to keep into cloud storage. 

Step 1

Go to: 

Start > All apps > Settings > System > About > Reset your phone.

Step 2

You’ll receive two warnings to check you actually want to erase all your data. Select Yes to both.

Step 3

Remove the device from your Microsoft account.

How to wipe your Windows phone if it’s unresponsive

If your screen is unresponsive, you may still be able to reset your phone.

Step 1

Hold down the Volume Down key and Power button at the same time until the phone vibrates.

Step 2

When your phone vibrates, release the two buttons, but immediately re-press the Volume Down key until a large exclamation mark pops up on the screen.

Step 3

Once the exclamation mark appears on the screen, press the following buttons one after the other: 

Volume Up, Volume Down, Power, Volume Down. 

Your phone should then reset.

If none of these steps work for your phone, you should consult your phone manufacturer’s website for further help. 


Keep your data safe

You should never get rid of your phone without removing all of your private information from it. If you don’t take this step, someone else could access all of your personal and financial data. 

Learn more about how to keep your smartphone information safe, and how to recognise and avoid common scams

For even more tips and tricks, be sure to follow Asda mobile on Twitter and Facebook.

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