How to delete all the information off your mobile phone

How to delete all the information from your mobile

When the courier has just placed a box of shiny, shiny, new mobile phones on your desk for the team.  How to delete all the information off your mobile phone is the last thing on your mind.  You’re likely to be more interested in the handsets in any one of 6 colors each looking for someone to press their belly into life.  Deleting all your old information off your old mobile doesn’t seem that important. Suddenly your mobile seems old, its let you down, it’s no longer shiny.  It doesn’t match your dress or ties like the new one does and that old processor, huh so slow.  So, the days go by and your old mobile sits glibly looking unloved; forlorn in the corner.

What about selling it?  Good Idea.

HOLD ON A MINUTE, didn’t you read an article about mobile phones and identity theft, financial fraud, data piracy!  How can a mobile phone be hacked by some nimbly fingered cyber-criminal for information?

How to delete all the information from your mobile phone or device

It would appear that erasing information off some devices is not as simple as it first seems.  It’s quite possible to purchase data recovery software packages, that your criminally minded cyber geek can use to resurrect deleted data from your mobile phone.

How can they use the information?

  • Apply for credit in your name
  • Open bank accounts
  • Order goods in your name
  • Order genuine documents such as a driving license or a passport
  • Take over existing accounts
  • Obtain state benefits

So what security controls do you have in place?  Are you sure that the mobile phone now on sale is information free?  You need to make sure that the phone is wiped and that all your private and sensitive business information, financial stuff, emails, and other correspondence is erased totally off the phone.

Wiping an iPhone

Make sure you have an up to date back-up of your mobile, your iCloud account automatically makes a back-up for you at night (unless you’ve changed the settings).  Backing up your information is a good idea just in case you lose your device, you can replace it, whether it’s lost or damaged. You have two methods. iCloud and iTunes.

iCloud Back-Up

Connect up to a Wi-Fi network.  Check that you have enough backup space in your account. Go to Settings, tap on the iCloud button. Push the iCloud Backup button.

iTunes Back-Up

Go to your iTunes account, select your device, click Back Up-Now. (Back up Apps, if you’re asked)

Now for the erasing bit

  • Go into Settings, click on General
  • At the bottom of your screen to the reset button and tap
  • Click on the erase all content and settings
  • Click on Erase iPhone, click on Erase iPhone a second time
  • Enter your password when requested
  • Your mobile is wiped totally clean and ready for sale.

Wiping an Android device

First, off the bat, you might consider using an Android data software to permanently erase your information; iShredder 5 is a popular App.

Otherwise, follow these steps for your android mobile phone*

Step 1.  Make sure you have backed up everything.

Step 2.  Take out the SIM card.  SIMS carry a lot of information, contacts, call logs, etc.

Step 3.  Take out any expandable memory SD cards etc, from inside the phone

Step 4.  Now to perform a factory reset, this will delete everything that’s within the phone, that includes the memory, etc, all your videos, pictures, apps, passwords included will be erased.

Go into Settings, tap the backup button and then the Factory Data Reset Button

Step 5.  At this point, you might consider over-writing your mobile phone memory with junk data and then performing a second factory reset.  It’s entirely up to you how many times you perform this action, two or three times may be considered enough.  It just depends on how far you want to bury your information.

Step 6.  Now some would say this is a bridge too far, but cybercriminals know no bounds.  But it’s a good idea to factory reset on your system’s settings and makes sure they’re completely wiped as well.

*The exact steps may vary on the version of Android on your mobile phone, some mobiles may use different names for the buttons.