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2 Best Ways to Wipe Data From Any Phone

Like the human brain, smartphones store a lot of data. From social media logins to private pictures and videos, financial details, and other sensitive information — you name it. These are all things you don't want in the wrong hands. 

Therefore, when it’s time to trade in or sell that old phone for an upgrade to a new phone, a phone data wipe is your best bet to safeguard your personal data.

In this article, we'll discuss two approaches to permanently deleting your data before selling or trading your iPhone or Android device.

How do I permanently delete personal data from my phone before selling it?

Now that you're ready to carry out a phone data wipe, let's talk about the one mistake you never want to make: not properly backing up your data before wiping your old device. Without a proper back up, all of your data on the old device can be lost forever. 

If you already synced your data to your Google Drive — or iCloud for iPhone users — you have nothing to worry about. However, there is no harm double checking that you have everything properly backed up before you set out to wipe your data. 

Here's how to quickly confirm if your device is backed up or not:

iPhone users

Android users

With this box checked, let's talk about two of the best ways to erase all data permanently — the factory reset approach or a phone wipe software.

Factory reset your phone

Remember that when you first acquired your new device, it came with just a few apps — no documents, pictures, music, videos, or text messages. That's exactly what a factory data reset does to your old phone. It removes all user data and third-party applications, restoring your mobile device to how it was when it was just shipped from the factory. 

The factory reset process is quite seamless and often takes between two to three minutes. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to factory reset your iPhone or Android device.

How to factory reset an iPhone: 

Characteristically, iOS devices are generally designed in a way that makes them easy to use. This design philosophy is seen across all admin functions you may need to perform on your phone — including factory reset. 

To factory reset your iPhone follow these simple steps.

  1. Ensure to unpair all connected devices such as your Apple Watch. Then proceed to your settings to turn off the find my iPhone feature. For iOS 10.2 or lower, go to Settings > iCloud > Find My iPhone. If you are required to enter your Apple ID Password, do so and slide the toggle that pops up next to turn off the Find My iPhone feature. For iOS 10.3 upward, go to Settings > Your name > iCloud > Find My iPhone and follow the promptings to turn off the find my iPhone feature.
  2. Next, turn off and sign out from services like:
  1. Sign out of iCloud. Go to Settings > iCloud > scroll to the bottom of the page and sign out. For iOS 10.3 and above, go to Settings > Your name > Sign Out. 

    For iOS 7, simply choose delete account. 

Note: it is important to sign out of iCloud before performing a factory reset; else you risk erasing all the data in your iCloud.

  1. Go to, log into your account and remove the serial number of the device you want to sell from your Apple account profile.
  2. Remove your sim card and start the wipe process. Go to Settings > General > press Reset > tap Erase All Content and Settings > click Erase Now, then Confirm. 

There you go, your iPhone factory reset is complete.

How to factory reset an Android: 

Before factory resetting your Android device — phone or tablet, here are a few things you need to do.

  1. Turn off the screen lock. Go to Settings > Lock Screen or Security > change the screen lock setting to none.
  2. Delete any passwords you have saved on your browser or apps. Also, log out and remove your Google account. To do this, go to Settings > Users and Accounts > select your account and click 'Remove.' For Samsung devices, remove your Samsung account as well. 
  3. Remove payment cards. Go to Google Play Store app. Click on the Menu icon at the upper right corner > Payment and Subscriptions > Payment Methods > More payment settings. This will take you to your browser, where you may need to sign in to Once you're signed in, select the payment method you want to remove and select the 'Remove' option.
  4. Deactivate data protection. Android devices with 5.1 Lollipop operating system — and higher — comes with a built-in security system known as factory reset protection (FRP) or data protection. This function is activated as soon as you add a Google account on your device. Therefore, if you intend to sell the device, ensure this function is deactivated, or the new owner will not be able to use it. To deactivate FRP, simply go to Settings > select Accounts > click your Google Account > select the Remove Account option. Skip step four if your device has an older operating system.
  5. With all that done, you can now reset your Android phone or tablet. Go to Settings > General Management > Reset > Factory data reset > scroll down and click the 'Reset' button at the bottom of the page. 

Note: Where you find the reset option may vary from one Android phone to the other.

Data erase software

Data erasure software are applications that carry out software-based overwriting of data. They are designed to perform repeated overwriting in a snap. As a result, they do a more thorough job of completely destroying electronic data. 

Erasure software can also be used to delete data remotely when a device is lost or stolen. This software is commonly used by big organizations where the risk of identity theft must be completely eliminated. Similarly, they are also used by dealers in large quantities of used phones. With data erase software, these dealers can wipe data from used devices in bulk — faster and more accurately. 

Data erasure software usually comes at a cost, but the security benefits fully compensate for the investment.

What is the difference between a factory reset and a data wipe? 

One major difference between a simple factory reset and a data wipe is that with the former, there is no guarantee that your data is permanently erased. While factory resetting your phone may make it impossible for a not-too-techy buyer to access your data, hackers can still recover the deleted data from the phone's flash memory. This is possible because mobile devices come with wear-leveling mechanisms. This feature arranges data to allow write/erase cycles to be evenly distributed among the memory blocks in a device. 

Basically, this prolongs the lifespan of your device. However, it also makes it difficult — but not impossible — to erase data permanently using the simple factory reset option. 

To delete data permanently, encrypt your device before carrying out a factory reset. To do this, go to Settings > Security & Locations > Encryption & Credentials > select Encrypt phone. Depending on your device, this feature may exist under a different option.

With your data now encrypted, you can proceed to reset your device — no more worries about leaving any personal data on your device. However, it is still recommended to completely wipe your phone before selling or trading your device to fully ensure your protection.

What are the benefits of wiping your phone? 

Data held on phones are prone to privacy and security risk. Even relatively harmless details such as an address book can be very damaging if allowed to get in the wrong hands. 

Malicious criminals can use such data to carry out different types of fraud using the owner's identity.. Furthermore, exposing confidential information to unauthorized persons can cause a massive data breach — where sensitive information is viewed or shared without permission. 

The scenarios painted above can lead to very damaging consequences for individuals and businesses. Therefore, it is essential to permanently wipe data off your old device before selling it. If you deal in used phones, this is your responsibility as much as the seller's.

Wipe phones clean – faster and smarter with Phonecheck

As a used phone merchant, the success of your business depends on the reputation of the devices you sell. Therefore, you need a proven way to wipe phones clean — faster and smarter. 

Phonecheck offers an all-in-one enterprise data erasure software that guarantees the highest possible successful mobile device erase yield. It does that with an unrivaled speed of up to 100 or more Android and iOS devices per hour. Think of how this could improve your brand reputation and grow your business rapidly.

Get more phone data wipes done faster and efficiently when you get Phonecheck Pro Software today.

Similarly, wiping personal data before selling a used device is one side of the conversation. On the flip side, there’s buying used mobile devices. These transactions are fraught with many pitfalls because you often don't know the seller or the history of the device. It is advisable that you never buy a used device without a Phonecheck Certified History Report

When you purchase a history report, Phonecheck authenticates that the device has not been reported stolen or lost. It also diagnoses the device for manufacturer or software locks. That way, you get to avoid costly hidden problems for about the cost of a cup of coffee.

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