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01st Dec 2023 12 min read

How to erase your data from your old phone before you sell it

Before you part ways with your old smartphone, it's essential to ensure that all your personal data, photos, and accounts are completely wiped from the device to protect your privacy and security. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to securely erase your data before selling or giving away your old phone:

  1. Back Up Your Data: Before you begin the data erasure process, back up all your important data. You can use cloud services like Google Drive or iCloud, or connect the phone to a computer and transfer your files.
  2. Remove Your SIM Card and Memory Card: Take out your SIM card and memory card (if applicable) from the phone. You don't want to accidentally include them when you sell the device.
  3. Encrypt Your Data: If your phone offers the option to encrypt data, enable it. Encryption adds an extra layer of security by scrambling your data, making it difficult for anyone to recover it after the erasure process.
  4. Perform a Factory Reset: The most common method to erase all data on your phone is to perform a factory reset. The steps may vary slightly depending on your phone's make and model, but generally, you can follow these steps:
    1. Go to your phone's settings.
    2. Find the System or General Management section.
    3. Look for Reset or Reset Options.
    4. Choose Factory Data Reset or a similar option.
    5. Confirm your selection and enter any necessary PIN or pattern.
    6. The phone will prompt you for final confirmation. Confirm again to initiate the factory reset.
  5. Remove Google/iCloud Account: Before completing the factory reset, make sure to remove your Google account on Android or your iCloud account on iOS. This prevents the phone from being locked to your account, making it usable for the next owner.
  6. Delete All User Data: During the factory reset process, you'll usually have the option to Erase All Data or Delete All User Data. Choose this option to ensure that all your personal information, apps, and settings are permanently removed.
  7. Perform a Second Factory Reset (Optional): To be extra cautious, you can perform a second factory reset after the initial one is complete. This can help ensure that all data is thoroughly erased.
  8. Remove Your Google/iCloud Account Again: After the second factory reset, double-check that your Google/iCloud account has been removed from the device.
  9. Enable Factory Reset Protection (Android): If you have an Android device, you can activate Factory Reset Protection (FRP) in the security settings before performing the reset. FRP requires the new owner to enter your Google account credentials before they can use the phone, making it even more secure.
  10. Check for Remaining Data: After the factory reset is complete, go through the initial setup process but do not sign in with your Google/iCloud account. Instead, check the device for any remaining data or accounts. Remove any lingering information.
  11. Remove the Device from Your Account (Optional): If your phone is associated with your Google or Apple account, you can log in to your account on a computer or another device and remove the old device from your account's devices list.
  12. Securely Wipe External Storage (if applicable): If your phone has an external SD card or additional storage, remove it from the device and securely wipe it using a computer to prevent any residual data from being accessible.
  13. Verify Erasure: Finally, double-check that your personal data has been completely erased from the device. Try to recover any data yourself to ensure nothing is left behind.

By following these steps, you can confidently erase your data from your old phone before selling or giving it away, protecting your privacy and ensuring that the device is ready for its new owner.

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