Learn how to securely erase the info off your iPhone or iPad, Android machine, Home windows PC, onerous drives, SSDs, and flash drives


Ensuring that your private info is safely and securely erased from units that you’re not utilizing is an effective factor. This is a fast information to securely wiping onerous drives (HDDs), strong state drives (SSDs), flash drives, and even iOS and Android units.

Simply keep in mind that these erasure strategies are everlasting, and there is no undo. If you do not have a backup of your knowledge, it is gone ceaselessly.

Should learn: iPhone, iPad, and Mac purchaser’s information: July 2019 version

Wipe drive utilizing Home windows

Wipe drive using Windows

Sure, you may wipe a drive utilizing the Home windows format command.

Fireplace up a Command Immediate and sort:

Format quantity /P:passes

The place quantity is the drive letter, and passes is the variety of format passes you wish to make.

To wipe d drive with Four passes, use the next:

Format d: /P:Four

Below Home windows eight and Home windows 10, the wipe passes use random numbers to overwrite knowledge on the disk (on earlier variations zero have been used).

You can too wipe the drive that Home windows is put in on by booting from a Restoration Drive and selecting the Troubleshoot > Superior choices choice to entry Command Immediate.

Constructed-in approach to erase iOS and Android units

Built-in way to erase iOS and Android devices

iOS and Android units each have built-in instruments to erase the units.

  • On iOS: Settings > Common > Reset after which faucet Erase All Content material and Settings.
  • On Android: Settings > Backup & reset > Manufacturing facility knowledge reset after which faucet Reset telephone or Reset machine.

You can too securely wipe the units remotely utilizing Discover My iPhone for iOS or the Google Account related to the Android machine.

Value: Free

The hands-on methodology

The hands-on method

Undecided learn how to erase a tool? I assure you that in case you get a sufficiently big hammer and spend sufficient time hammering, it will work on something!

This methodology additionally works nice in case you simply wish to destroy drives earlier than you are taking them to the recycling plant. It is also an ideal stress reducer.

You have to:

  • A hammer (I take advantage of my trusty 32oz “nice adjustment” hammer)
  • A thick nail (a 6-inch nail will do nice)
  • Thick gloves — as a result of you are going to be hammering that nail by the drive utilizing the hammer, and hammers appear to be magnetically drawn to thumbs
  • A block of wooden — so you do not nail the drive by your flooring (it is preferable to do that outdoors in case you can)
  • Eye safety — you have solely received a most of two to begin with, so it is foolish to take possibilities!
  • Now you apply brute power. Ideally you wish to put a nail by the platters of the drive, going all over (it is really not as onerous because it sounds). I purpose for the spot marked by the purple Xs on onerous drives.

Alternatively you should utilize an influence drill to make holes, however just remember to have a approach to securely maintain the drive, for instance, utilizing a vice. Do not maintain the drive in your hand as a result of if the drill bit catches and the drive begins to spin — or “helicopters” — on the tip of the drill then there’s an actual threat of harm.

One other factor to keep in mind is that the info in SSDs is held on small flash storage chips quite than giant platters, and to securely erase the info you could smash the chips. Often, this implies taking the duvet off the drive earlier than you begin swinging.

When you’re undecided that are the flash storage chips, simply drive a nail by all the massive chips to be on the secure facet.

Value: Free

What about storage that is faulty however underneath guarantee?

What about storage that's defective but under warranty?

The time that wiping storage units will get sophisticated is when the machine is damaged or malfunctioning in a roundabout way.

For instance, a tough drive that dies, or a storage card that may not be accessed.

What do you do if you must return one thing underneath guarantee however there’s knowledge saved on the machine?

Nicely, issues get sophisticated.

You could possibly depend on the face that the machine is lifeless, and that your knowledge is inaccessible, however that is most likely not the case. Information will be recovered off most storage units in case you are prepared to throw cash on the drawback. You won’t have the ability to get entry to it, however another person might.

If that is one thing that you just’re anxious about then the perfect factor to do is to ask your vendor prematurely what their coverage is and purchase based mostly on what the reply you get is. Some will level you to a privateness coverage, others will assist you to bodily destroy the machine earlier than returning it (widespread for smaller objects like microSD playing cards and the like). Typically, as is the case with a PC or exterior storage system, you may have the ability to take away the drives earlier than returning the machine for restore (assuming it is not the storage that is died).

An alternative choice open to for a lot of units is to encrypt all of your knowledge. If the info in your PC, exterior storage, or flash drive is encrypted (and the encryption is legit, and assuming you have chosen sturdy passphrases and the like), then the info is probably going unrecoverable to 3rd events.

Use high-end storage with built-in knowledge destruct options

Use high-end storage with built-in data destruct features

Excessive-end encryption units — such because the Apricorn Aegis Safe Key 3z — may have a built-in knowledge destruct characteristic the place you enter a PIN code or run a program that may securely wipe the machine.

PIN code knowledge destruction is very helpful as a result of after you enter the PIN the machine destroys the encryption key and seems clean when it boots up, providing believable deniability.

StarTech Four-bay drive eraser

StarTech 4-bay drive eraser

If in case you have plenty of drives to erase, you want knowledgeable piece of package that may sustain with the calls for that you will place on it.

This difficult drive eraser gives standalone, simultaneous drive erasing for as much as 4 2.5-inch or Three.5-inch SATA onerous drives or solid-state drives.

In contrast to hard-drive docking stations or adapters that require a pc connection and software program to erase drives, this difficult drive sanitizer options standalone erasing that does not require a number pc. This avoids the trouble of connecting your drives to a number pc and protects your drives from exterior safety threats like distant knowledge entry.

The four-bay design maximizes effectivity by batching a number of drives in single erase tasks, saving you invaluable time. The onerous drive eraser helps USB Three.zero, often known as USB Three.1 Gen 1, with file switch charges of as much as 5Gbps.

Value: $815 | Extra info

DBAN – Darik’s Boot and Nuke

DBAN - Darik's Boot and Nuke

That is the default software that most individuals who’ve the odd drive to erase flip to. I’ve used this software to wipe hundreds of drives and located it to be each thorough and really efficient.

Whereas DBAN is an superior software, it is essential to know its limitations. Here’s what the brand new house owners of DBAN, Blancco Know-how, should say:

“Whereas DBAN is free to make use of, there is no assure of information removing. It can’t detect or erase SSDs and doesn’t present a certificates of information removing for auditing functions or regulatory compliance. assist (e.g. no RAID dismantling), buyer assist and software program updates will not be out there utilizing DBAN. Ought to you could erase knowledge from a SSD or require a certificates of information removing, request a free trial of Blancco Drive Eraser.”

Value: Free | Extra information/obtain



One other approach to do that is to make use of a software program software known as PARTED Magic.

Whereas PARTED Magic is just not free (worth begins at an inexpensive $11), it’s a very efficient software, and among the best I’ve used for wiping SSDs, in addition to the depth of data it affords.

This software additionally does much more than knowledge erasure:

  • Information cloning
  • Benchmarking
  • Disk partitioning
  • Information rescue
  • System stability tester

Value: $11 | Extra information/obtain

Blancco Drive Eraser

Blancco Drive Eraser

That is the go-to software for skilled, licensed, drive erasure.

Assure your knowledge has been erased from any drives, together with advanced SSDs in desktop/laptop computer computer systems, servers and storage environments with essentially the most licensed and patented knowledge erasure answer.

Consists of superior options reminiscent of:

  • Patented strong state drive (SSD) erasure (Patent No. 9286231).
  • Erases knowledge completely from a number of HDDs/SSDs concurrently
  • Automates the onerous drive wiping course of to take away system BIOS free locks
  • Native and distant deployment
  • RAID dismantling and go by
  • Identifies false positives throughout inner knowledge erasure processes
  • Offers digitally signed certificates of proof of safe erasure for auditing
  • Compliant with state, federal and worldwide knowledge privateness laws and pointers, together with ISO 27001 and ISO 27040

Value: $18.46 per erasure | Extra information/obtain

Blancco Cellular Gadget Eraser

Blancco Mobile Device Eraser

Blancco cell and telephone wiping software program permits organizations, cell service suppliers and resellers to completely erase all knowledge from smartphones and tablets working on iOS, Android, Home windows Cellphone and BlackBerry working programs.

  • Securely wipes iOS, Android, Home windows Cellphone and BlackBerry working programs
  • Shortly erases knowledge on as much as 50 cell units concurrently 
  •  Routinely selects the quickest and best knowledge erasure methodology
  • Offers digitally signed certificates of proof of information erasure for audit path functions 
  •  Compliant with state, federal and worldwide knowledge privateness laws and pointers, together with ISO 27001 and ISO 27040

Value: $13.52 per erasure | Extra information/obtain

Wiebetech’s Drive eRazer Extremely

Wiebetech's Drive eRazer Ultra

The WiebeTech Drive eRazer Extremely is a stand-alone machine that fully and rapidly cleans onerous drives. Merely join a drive to the Drive eRazer Extremely and it’ll sanitize the drive quicker than utilizing software program, and with out tying up your pc.

The Drive eRazer Extremely leaves the drive prepared for secure re-use, and comes with a dozen totally different preset erase procedures, together with US Division of Protection graded strategies for knowledge wiping.

Extra options:

  • Easy setup and operation with LCD and menu buttons
  • USB port for drive previewing and deletion affirmation
  • Serial label printer connector
  • Rugged aluminum development
  • Three-year guarantee
  • Free US-based buyer assist

Value: $249 | Extra information

ProtectStar Information Shredder

ProtectStar Data Shredder

I like ProtectStar Information Shredder software program as a result of it really works throughout the board — Home windows, Mac, iOS, Android, even Apple TV.

This software meets and exceeds authorities, navy and business requirements for the everlasting erasure of digital info and erases all present knowledge as much as top-secret safety degree knowledge.

Value: Is dependent upon model and platform | Extra information/obtain

Encrypt the entire drive

Encrypt the whole drive

One of many best — and definitely the most affordable — methods to erase knowledge on a tool is to encrypt all the drive with a posh passphrase. You should use built-in instruments reminiscent of BitLocker on Home windows or FileVault on macOS, or a third-party software reminiscent of VeraCrypt. Encrypt the drive with a powerful throw-away passphrase and also you’re achieved.

No passphrase, no knowledge.

You’ll be able to then format the drive, from which level it needs to be sterile and able to settle for a reload of the info.

Value: Free | Extra information/obtain

Erase utilizing producer utilities

Erase using manufacturer utilities

One other approach to erase SSDs is to make use of the producer utilities. Listed here are some hyperlinks to get you began.

Value: Free

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