How to Wipe Personal Data from Your Mobile Phone

Phone Tips & Tricks
Avator By Jonathan Owen
Marketing Manager
Published 9th November 2015
Last modified 12th December 2022
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An estimated 18 million of us upgrade our mobile phones every year in the UK. If you’re among them, have you considered what will happen to your old phone once you get your hands on your new device? Whether you choose to sell it, donate to charity or pass it on to a friend, it’s really important to make sure you’ve wiped it first.

After all, your mobile holds a lot of personal information like text messages, emails and photos, but also an awful lot of sensitive data too, like phone numbers, passwords, account numbers, and even work documents. Plus, if you’ve ever made a purchase on your device, you could not only be leaving yourself vulnerable to identity fraud, but also susceptible financially.

Smartphones usually have at least two stores of memory – a SIM card and the phone’s internal memory, the latter of which people often forget about.

It’s best to restore your phone to its factory settings. Make sure you’ve backed up all your data first, then check your manual, or the website of your mobile provider/ manufacturer for advice on resetting your specific model. Even after you’ve wiped your device, your SIM card or SD card could still have data remaining; you can either delete this separately, or play it safe and remove them completely before passing it on.

When you think your phone is ready to go?

It’s worth double checking the following places:

Contact list
Voice messages
Call log
Email inbox and outbox
Text inbox and outbox
Downloads received files
Search history
Photos and videos


It sounds obvious, but it’s also important to make sure that your account is terminated, otherwise someone else could be surfing the web and making calls from your mobile whilst you foot the bill. Always double check with your provider before selling your phone.