How to Permanently Delete Your Cell Phone's Info Before Selling It

April 08, 2020

Considering selling your smartphone, but are concerned about your sensitive information being breached? In today’s tech-enriched world, cell phone users have valid concerns about sensitive data getting into the hands of the wrong people. Selling your smartphone and making a bit of extra income should not come at the price of your security. Luckily, there are steps you can take to erase your information so you can sell your devices with peace of mind.

Below, we will outline the steps to take to permanently delete your phone information before you sell it for both iPhone and Android users.


1. Back up your Data

Before swiping your cell phone clean, you will first want to back up your data. To back up your messages, contacts, and emails you can use iCloud. First, you will have to select which apps you want to back up by going to Settings – Your Name – iCloud – and select the apps under ‘Apps using iCloud’.

To back up your call logs, you can use a third party software such as iTunes. If you choose to back up your call logs with iTunes, first launch iTunes and plug in your iPhone to your computer. Click Device icon – Summary – Backup iPhone. Media such as photos and music can also be synced with iTunes.

To finalize backing up the apps you selected, go to Settings – Your Name – iCloud – iCloud Backup – and select ‘Back up Now’.

2. Sign Out of Services & Apps

Next, you will want to sign out and turn off services. See below on how to sign out of some of your services:

iMessage: Settings – Messages – and switch off the iMessage option.

Wallet & Apple Pay: Settings – Wallet & Apple Pay – Click on your Card – Remove Card.

Find My Phone: Settings – Your Name – iCloud – Find My Phone.

Apple ID: Settings – Your Name – Scroll Down – tap ‘Sign Out’ – enter your password.

At this stage, you can also sign out of apps that store your login information such as Facebook, Instagram, Gmail, etc. To do this, you will have to go to each individual apps’ settings.

3. Delete Saved Passwords From Your Browsers

4. Remove your SIM Card

5. Restore Factory Settings

To finalize deleting the data from your iPhone, you will need to restore the phone’s factory settings. Go to Settings – General – Reset – Erase All Content and Settings – and confirm your choice.

6. Remove your Device From Your Apple Account

To remove your iPhone from your Apple account, go to, login, and scroll down to Devices. Click on the device you plan to sell and click Remove.


1. Back up your Data

With Android cell phones, you can back up your data to your Google drive. To back up your files, folders, and photos go to Settings - System – and switch on ‘Backup’. Once your information is backed up onto your Google Drive, you will be able to download your files to your new phone. Then delete your files from the phone you are selling.

Depending on the model of your phone, texts may be backed up automatically. You can also use an app such as ‘SMS Backup & Restore App’ to back up your calls and texts to your Gmail account. Apps made by google should sync automatically to your account, unless you turned this setting off. To revert, go to Settings – Users – Accounts – Account Sync and ‘Sync Now’. To sync other apps, you can manually sync by going into each apps’ settings.

2. Deactivate Factory Reset Protection

Some models may have a built-in FRP (Factory Reset Protection). You will need to deactivate this feature so the new user can use the phone.

Not sure if your phone has this protection? You can check by going to Settings – About Device/Phone – Software Info. To deactivate FRP, go to Settings – Security or Lock screen Security - Screen lock – and turn it off.

3. Log Out of your Google Accounts

Go to Settings – Users and Accounts – select your accounts – click Remove.

4. Delete saved passwords from your browsers

5. Remove your SIM Card and external Storage

6. Encrypt Your Phone (Optional)

This offers a layer of protection should a new user try and restore your deleted data. You can encrypt your phone by going to Settings – Security – Encryption & Credentials.

7. Upload False Data (Optional)

To further your protection, you can upload dummy data and then factory reset your phone. Doing this makes restoring your encrypted data extremely difficult and therefore harder to hack.

8. Reset to Factory Settings

To complete deleting your information from your phone, you will need to reset the phone’s factory settings. Go to Settings – Backup & Reset – Factory Data Reset.

9. Remove your Device from your Google Account

Once logged in to your Google account, go to the ‘Recently Used Devices’ Section. Select the phone you plan to sell, and click Remove.

Now that you are an expert on backing up and deleting your data off your phone, you are ready to trade in or sell your used phone. Click here to get an instant quote!

Written By Brenda Galeano

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