Michelle is part of the team at ReadyTechGo, a service that helps people gain the confidence and skills to embrace modern technology.

With technology perpetually advancing, it’s becoming harder and harder to maintain privacy. That’s why it’s important for us know how to erase private data from our devices completely – so that this information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

There are many situations in which a full erase will be necessary. For one, you can get a good portion of your money back by selling an old smartphone. But before you hand over your smartphone to a stranger, it’s imperative that the device no longer contains any private or personal information on it. You don’t want a complete stranger finding your bank details, or flicking through private photos of your children or grandchildren!

To permanently clear out all data on your smartphone, follow the steps below.

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For iPhone users

  1. Open up your iPhone to the menu screen
  2. Find the “Settings” app, and tap to open it
  3. Scroll down until you see “iCloud”, and tap on it
  4. Scroll down to the very bottom, and tap on “Sign Out”
  5. Go back to “Settings”
  6. Scroll down until you find “General”, and tap on it
  7. Scroll down to the very bottom, and tap on “Reset”
  8. Tap on “Erase All Content and Settings”
  9. This will reset your iPhone, so that it will appear brand-new – as if you’d never even used it.


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For Android users 

  1. Open up your smartphone and go to the Apps Menu
  2. Find and tap on “Settings”
  3. Tap on “Backup & reset”
  4. Tap on “Factory data reset”
  5. Tap on “Reset phone”
  6. Enter your pattern, PIN, or password if prompted
  7. Tap on “Erase everything”

Remember, this erasure is permanent. This means that whatever data you have on your phone will no longer be accessible or recoverable after the reset. So make sure that anything you do want to save from your phone has been backed up elsewhere. For instance, if you wish to keep some photos from your phone, ensure that you’ve first transferred them onto your computer before you wipe your phone clean.

This article was written in partnership with Over60.