How To Reset Old Devices Before Reselling or Recycling

By FPL_Adam

It is easy to leave behind personal data on an old phone or computer that you are reselling, donating, or just recycling. One of the most common mistakes is not properly erasing the hard-drive and memory. 

Deleting documents, photos, and other files and then emptying the recycle/trash on the computer is often not enough. Not only are there potentially other connections in software applications that may still need to be addressed, but those files you deleted could be recovered using a file recovery program.

When you delete a file, most computer operating systems remove the file’s link and marks that space as free. Until something new is overwritten on that space, that old file still exists on the system.

One easy solution is to simply reset the device that will wipe the drive clean. Check out how to reset devices below based on their operating system. 

Windows 10:

    1. Settings > Update & Security > Recovery, and click Get Started under Reset this PC. 
    2. Select Remove Everything, click Next, then click Reset.


    1. You will want to sign out of icloud, itunes, imessages, and unpair your Bluetooth devices.
    2. Clear your NVRAM and PRAM:
      • Shut down your Mac
      • Turn it on and immediately press and hold: Option+Command+P+R.
      • Release the keys after about 20 seconds. 
    1. macOS Recovery > Disk Utility > Continue
    2. Choose View > Show All Devices from the menu bar
    3. Select the disk at the top of list (this is your startup disk)
    4. Click Erase and enter the following fields:
      • Name: Type the name that you want the disk to have after you erase it.
      • Format: Choose APFS or Mac OS Extended (Journaled). Disk Utility shows a compatible format by default.
      • Scheme: Choose GUID Partition Map.
    1. Click Erase
    2. Quit Disk Utility, then reinstall MacOS


SettingsBackup & Reset > Factory data reset.

Choose Reset phone. Enter passcode and Erase everything. Finally, reboot the phone.


Tap Settings > General > Reset. Then tap Erase All Content and Settings.

You will likely be asked to enter your Apple ID or passcode and confirm you want to erase your device.

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