How to Delete Everything on Your Phone (iPhone and Android)

If you’re a smartphone owner, then time might come when you need to delete everything on your device. The most likely scenario is that you’re moving on to a different model, and you plan on selling your current one or giving it away. In either instance, it’s vital that you wipe your phone clean before the next owner takes possession of it. We’ll explain how to do that in this article for both iPhone and Android models.

Why Is It Necessary to Delete Everything from Your Old Phone?

Delete Credit Card Information from Your Phone

Deleting everything from your old phone before selling it or giving it away is considered to be the best practice because you don’t want the new owner to be able to see any of your sensitive material. Many people have things like bank account login information on their phones. You might have a credit card attached to Apple Pay. You might also have work files, confidential emails or text message threads, or pictures that you’d prefer to remain private.

Wiping your device clean is the same as wiping a laptop or a desktop clean before selling it or giving it away. For your peace of mind, you should think of it as a necessity. Once it’s done, you’ll feel more comfortable allowing the next owner to take possession, or recycling the device if that’s your plan for it.

Now, let’s talk about how you can delete everything from your iPhone when you’re ready to move on to a different device.

Backing Up the iPhone

The first thing that you should do with your iPhone, before you sell it, lend it, or give it away, is to back it up. You can do this in a couple of different ways. The first method is through iCloud. Later, you can transfer this backup to a new iPhone if that is your wish.

Plug your device into power. Then, make sure you have a stable Wi-Fi connection. Open the Settings app, and then go to iCloud. Hit Backup, and then Backup Now. Within a few seconds, you should have a backup in iCloud that you can retrieve when you need it.

Back Up with iCloud Before Deleting Everything

The other way that you can do a backup is through iTunes. You’ll need to connect your iPhone to your laptop or desktop with an Apple-approved USB cable. Launch the latest version of iTunes. Next, go to Devices on the upper left-hand side of the screen. You should see your iPhone. Tap it, and you’ll see the option to back it up on the top right-hand side of your screen. Hit Back Up Now, and then wait for a few seconds while the backup takes place. You can then go ahead and safely disconnect the phone from the computer.

Use iTunes for a Phone Backup

Again, this backup will be available whenever you need it. It will have a timestamp and date, so you’ll know which one to use if there are multiple options there.  

Deleting Everything from the iPhone

Now, you can safely delete everything from your iPhone. Launch the Settings app from the Home screen. Go to General, and scroll down to where it says Reset. Hit it, and then you’ll see the Erase All Content and Settings option. Tap it, and it will give you to option to Erase iPhone. Once you hit it, you’ll be asked to enter your Apple ID and password if the Find My iPhone feature is on. Do so, and the process will be complete. Your iPhone will now be completely erased and back to the factory settings. Look for the Welcome screen to make sure that it worked. 

What About if You Sold the iPhone or Gave It Away Already?

Erase Everything from iPhone by Using iCloud

Maybe you sold the iPhone or gave it away, but you neglected to erase everything from it. Don’t worry; there’s still an action that you can take to remedy the problem.

From another device, you can log into your iCloud account through the website. You could also use the Find My iPhone app. From either of these options, you can locate your old phone and hit Erase. You should also hit Remove from Account. You could change the password for your Apple ID if you want to be doubly sure that the new owner cannot access any of your sensitive information.

Backing Up Your Android Before Selling or Giving It Away

Back Up Your Android Before Wiping It Clean

If you want to sell an Android device or give it away, then the same rules apply. First, you’ll need to back up the device. Do so by opening Settings, then scrolling down to the bottom of the page and hitting System. Hit Backup. There should be an option to Back Up with Google Drive. It needs to be toggled to the “On” position. It should be blue and set to the right.

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You should be able to see that your data is being backed up with Google Drive. This is the default Android backup service. All of your settings and apps will be saved, so once you have deleted everything from your Android, you can use Google Drive to restore all of your settings at your earliest convenience.

Note that the menu layout for Android devices may differ slightly. Android is an operating system rather than a brand of phone. However, the instructions that we gave should be approximately the same regardless of which model of phone you have.    

Now, You Can Safely Delete Everything from the Android Device

To delete everything from your Android, first, you’ll need to go to Settings. From there, select System, then Advanced. Go to Reset Options. The choices will be Reset Wi-Fi, Mobile, and Bluetooth, Reset App Preferences and Erase All Data (Factory Reset). The one you’ll need is the third option.

Once you have selected Erase All Data (Factory Reset), then a warning should come up on the screen. It’s going to say that all of your data will be erased, and all of the accounts into which you are signed as well. Hit Reset Phone to acknowledge that you’d like to proceed. If you have a security setup such as a pin number, then you will be asked to enter it. Go ahead and do that.

You’ll get one final screen asking to confirm that this is what you want to do. Confirm that it is, and the process will start. It usually takes two or three minutes. Once it’s done, then the Android device will be wiped clean and returned to the factory settings. You can now safely sell it or give it away.

Now, you know the way to back up and delete everything from your Android or iPhone. It’s the wisest course of action if you’re ready to move on from your current device and get yourself a new one.

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