How to factory reset your phone to protect your personal information

Got a new phone? That’s great!  Now, first things first — what to do with your old one after you’ve backed it up. 

If you’re like most people, your smartphone contains a lot of personal information like emails, photos, logins, financial and health information, and so much more.

So, before trading in, selling or giving away it to family or friends, you’ll want to take the quick step to factory reset your device.

In this week’s tip, we’ll show you how you can quickly and securely erase your personal data and other sensitive information before getting rid of your old smartphone.

As we mentioned above, make sure you have recently backed up your smartphone before securely erasing your device, because you won’t be able to retrieve your data once your phone is reset. To learn how to backup your iOS or Android device, check out our recent blog post on 4 simple ways to backup your phone. 


How to factory reset your iPhone

The preparation for erasing your iPhone actually takes a little bit longer than the few steps needed to wipe your device — but this prep is critical to protecting your data and account information.

  1. If you have an Apple Watch, unpair it from your iPhone now.
  2. Backup your iPhone, if you haven’t yet already.
  3. Make sure you have your phone’s passcode and your Apple ID password ready.
  4. Sign out of iCloud and the iTunes & App Store.
  5. To erase your iPhone, go to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone, then tap Erase All Content and Settings.
  6. Remove your SIM card. To be extra safe, it’s a good idea to remove your SIM card if you plan to give away or sell your phone. Your SIM card may contain your phone number, security information and billing information. To remove, locate the SIM tray (usually on the right side of your device) and insert a paperclip into the hole to pop out the tray. Take out the SIM card and replace the tray.

How to factory reset your Android

Factory resetting your Android device is very straightforward, but the process may vary depending on your device. If you have any issues, please contact your manufacturer for more information.

  1. Backup your data on your Android.
  2. Plug in your device or charge it to at least 70%.
  3. Open Settings > System.
  4. Tap Reset options, then tap Erase all data and follow the on-screen directions.