How to wipe an Android phone or tablet

How to wipe an Android phone or tablet

Wiping an Android smartphone or Tablet is easy. Here’s where we show you how you can completely erase your Android device even if it is lost or stolen.

If your Android smartphone or tablet is starting to lag and judder, then backing up your valuable data and wiping the device is a great way to restore performance levels. Similarly, if your Android has been lost or stolen, then remotely erasing the data stored on the device is recommended to ensure your privacy is kept intact.

Google recognises this and since Android 2.2 Froyo OS update, the task of wiping a device has been made quick and easy whether you want to do it locally or remotely.

How to wipe an Android phone or tablet

Reseting an Android phone or tablet locally is the quickest and easiest way to completely erase your device. This task can be completed in a matter of seconds, here’s how:

Wipe an Android: step one

Make sure that you have any photos, videos and files that you want to keep backed up on Google Drive or a separate storage device as this method will delete everything on your smartphone or tablet.

Wipe an Android: step two

Unlock your device and go to settings. From here you need to scroll down to the Personalisation heading and press the Backup and reset button.

How to wipe an Android phone or tablet: step one

Wipe an Android: step three

If you want your device to save Application data and Wi-Fi passwords click on the Back up my data button, the information will be sent to Google’s servers ready to be retrieved after you’ve reset your device.

Should you want to completely wipe your Android then press the Factory data reset button.

Wipe an Android: step four

You will then be presented with two further warning screens, press the Reset device and then Erase everything buttons to begin the factory reset.

This process can take between seconds and minutes depending on level of data on your device.

How to wipe an Android phone or tablet: step two

How to wipe and Android remotely: wipe an Android with a broken screen

If you can’t access the settings menu because your Android has been lost or stolen – or you have cracked the screen – then you will need to wipe your smartphone or tablet remotely. Here’s how:

Wipe an Android remotely: step one

Go to the Android Device Manager website and sign in to your Google account.

How to wipe an Android remotely: step two

Wipe an Android remotely: step two

On the left hand side of the window you will see a floating box with a dropdown menu listing all the Android devices registered to your Google account.

The devices are often displayed as model numbers which can be hard to decipher. It is therefore advisable to use the Ring feature provided, or carry out a simple Google search of the model numbers displayed, to ensure you are wiping the correct device.

How to wipe an Android remotely: step three

Wipe an Android remotely: step three

When you have identified the correct Android smartphone or tablet, simply click on the erase button and confirm the warning message that follows and Google with remotely wipe your data.

How to wipe a SD card on an Android

Note that SD cards can/will be wiped too using the methods above. This will only work if the SD card is attached to the Android smartphone or tablet. If your SD card is read-only or you Android device has been stolen and the SD card is subsequently removed then remotely wiping it via the Android Device Manager will not work.

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