How to Destroy Your Phone Without Anyone Knowing

destroyed phone

Mobile phones are becoming more and more durable with upgrades from phone manufacturers.

The cases are harder to dent and the screen glass is harder to scratch. Corning, the manufacturer for the phone’s screen glass is already releasing its 6th generation of gorilla glass which will protect phone screens from an average of 15 successive drops.

There is absolutely no doubt that it is harder to leave permanent damage on a phone these days. Well, why would we want to leave permanent damage to a phone so no data or information can be retrieved from it? Chances are, you want your parents to buy you a new phone and you can’t wait long enough for it to happen so you want to speed up the process.

That’s the kid version. The other side could be security

This is because phones and apps have become a very important part of our lives to a point that it has very sensitive information like financial and personal data.

So it’s very important to destroy the areas where information is kept so they become irretrievable if anyone wanted to get their hands on them.

1. Hard Resets

One of the first on the list is doing a hard reset on the phone. This will usually wipe all the information inside the storage of the phone through formatting.

The process is similar to formatting a hard drive of a computer.

The great thing about hard resets is that it can destroy your phone without any physical damage – only the data within the phone with be wiped.

For Android:

  1. Press and hold the volume up and volume down buttons at the same time.
  2. Press and hold the power button until a black menu screen will appear. Volume buttons are used for navigation, the power button is used to select. The touch screen feature, on most occasions, will be disabled.
  3. Select Factory Reset.
  4. Confirm wipe of all user data? Select the Yes option.

The phone will go through a hard reset so you may need to wait a while before you can use it again.

one thing to not forget is to ensure that the phone has enough battery or is plugged in a charger for this to be completed successfully.

For iOS:

  1. iPhones have a different way of doing a factory reset. You need it to go through the DFU mode or the Device Firmware Upgrade mode in order to wipe the user data.
  2. Turn off the iPhone and connect it to your computer. Make sure to open iTunes.
  3. Press and hold the power button for three seconds.
  4. Press and hold the volume down button for ten seconds.
  5. Release the power button but keep the volume down button pressed for five more seconds. The screen should remain blank and your iTunes will prompt “iTunes has detected an iPhone in recovery mode”
  6. Click OK on the prompt and then click on “Restore iPhone…” This will format your iPhone and bring it back to factory release conditions.

2. Use a third-party App

Apps can also help delete all the files and data of a device. For this step, you would need your computer and the right cable to connect your phone.

For iPhone, you can use iMyFone. It will erase all the information including the deleted information.

For Android, you can use the Android Data Eraser Software.  This software will also erase all the saved data, including the deleted files inside the phone.

3. Overwrite the Data and Do a Factory Reset

Security experts say that doing a factory reset may not be enough to securely remove all of the data on a mobile phone.

One good way to do this is to delete all the information inside the device and fill up the storage with random files.

This way, the existing storage will overwrite the information on the device which will render them irretrievable.

Once you’ve done this, you can do another factory reset.

4. Destroy Sim and Removable storage

The next on the list is to remove the sim card and the removable storage like the microSD card. Android phones usually have this.

But before actually removing them, it’s best to go through the phone’s options and delete all the data saved inside these cards. MicroSD cards can also be formatted in order to delete all the information.

Each phone would have a different method of removing the sim card and the removable storage so once you’ve managed to do that, break them into tiny little pieces.

Afterward, toss them in different bins so it’ll be difficult to find the pieces and put them back together.

Although there is a very low chance of people actually going through the trouble, the method will keep your mind at ease.

5. Destroy the Phone into Little Pieces

This method takes things one level higher. With a heavy tool, like a hammer, in your hand, smash the phone into bits and pieces.

This will make it extremely difficult, near to impossible, to recover information and data from this piece of hardware.

Please use a controlled space and protective eyewear before starting.

Make sure that you are thorough and get to the inner portions of the phone.

6. NAND Flash Storage

Android Phones use NAND Flash Storage. Another secure way to destroy the phone so no data can ever be retrieved is to find the NAND flash storage on the phone’s motherboard.

Smartphones are like computers in the sense that they also use memory, storage, and other types of circuitry.

If you are bent on destroying the phone and data, find your way into the phone by removing the covers, the screen, and its other parts. You’ll come to the board and a small black chip will be there.

7. Logic Board

For iPhones, the logic board will hold all of the data and device information. When you manage to open the phone, you’ll need to look for the logic board which holds all the chips and the phone’s processor.

Once you’ve located this, the process of permanently damaging the phone and its data will be easy.

8. Overwrite Hardware Controllers

Overwrite your phone’s hardware controllers will allow you to completely read your phone inoperable but still destroy the information on it, and no one will be able to tell. You can overwrite the hardware controllers, the firmware, and the ROM software. You can flash the wrong software into the phone and it’ll stop working completely.

The process of this is similar to flashing a BIOS or similar-based level controllers. You need to make sure that your phone is rooted which is easier to do if you’re on an android that an iPhone, from there, you can install the controllers or firmware that doesn’t work with the phone’s hardware. This will render the phone completely unusable.

9. Download a Destructive Virus

Another way to destroy your phone permanently without anyone knowing which means that there’s no physical damage is to download software that’ll destroy the phone. There are viruses out that that can completely destroy your phone and these can be found with some deep web searches within apps like Reddit and quora.

When you install the virus, it’ll install itself and kill your phone completely. This means that your hardware won’t be touched so there will be no physical damage done to your phone – only the internals will be completely destroyed. The only thing to keep in mind here is that there’s no guarantee that the virus will work as advertised.

You’ll have to try a few times before you succeed. There’s malicious software that you might install unknowingly which might end up stealing some of your information. So before you do this, make sure that you delete all of your personal data.

10. Use a Magnet

There was once a time when electronic devices were vulnerable to external magnets. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case anymore and you won’t be able to destroy your phone’s software with a traditional magnet.

To try and accomplish this, you’ll need to use a magnet that’s a lot stronger. Magnets that can destroy electronic devices (view on Amazon) can destroy your phone’s software and can render a phone completely inoperable without leaving any physical damage. If you’re able to pull these magnets away with your bare hands, then they’re not strong enough to damage your phone.

It’s quite hard to find these magnets but if you get your hands on one, make many passes through the magnetic field. Each pass you make will magnetize the metal components within your phone and will eventually reverse the polarity of the magnets inside of the phone and the more time this happens, the more components within your phone will fail.

11. Remove Components

If you want to remove components inside your phone to destroy it, you’ll need a bit more phone knowledge than the average person might poses. To do this, you’ll need to open up the phone and remove crucial components like the process.

If you can put the phone back together with the way it initially was, then there will be no signs that you’ve tampered with the phone and it won’t work at all.

The downside of using this method to destroy your phone is that an expert can see that these components were removed if they took a look inside and were looking for something. So if you are going to do this, make sure that no phone experts are going to be looking inside.

12. Heat the Phone Up

Your phone can operate normally between temperatures of 120F which is 48 °C. If you leave your phone in a hotter environment, it can overheat and the internals of the phone will be damaged.

The easiest way to do this without physically damaging the phone is to leave it in your car on a hot summer’s day. Inside a hot car, temperatures can reach about 130 °F (54 °C) and if your phone is active, it won’t be able to cool down properly.

Gently overheating your phone like this won’t destroy it on the first try, but if you keep doing it, this can break your phone internally. You might think of putting your phone in the oven or microwave but if the oven is at too high of a temperature, then the plastic could melt and release toxic fumes. So if you want it to overheat and damage, keep the phone at 140 degrees.

13. Freeze the Phone

The opposite of heating your phone can do the same job and damage your phone without leaving physical damage. If you manage to keep your phone at a temperature below -4 °F (-20 °C), then you can destroy the phone internally.

Most freezers operate at this temperature so you can just leave your phone in the freezer overnight and it should get cold enough to damage. You don’t need to put it in water, the cold temperature alone should be enough to completely destroy your phone.

You should consider putting the phone in a plastic bag just so that it doesn’t spread any germs to any of your food in the feature. Freezing your phone in temperatures that are too low can leave physical signs of damage such as the screen cracking so make sure you don’t do this.

14. Kill the Circuits

Another way to destroy your phone without anyone knowing using to kill the circuits. You may see people recommending that you put the phone in the microwave or you use a charger that’s too powerful to kill the circuits inside the phone but doing this is quite dangerous.

There’s a risk that a fire can occur from this and it might produce toxic fumes. There’s also a chance that physical damage will be left. It’s better to open the phone and desolder (view on Amazon) the main charging or power circuit.

This will prevent the phone from being able to receive power which means that it won’t be able to work unless the charging system is fixed again. This means that you don’t have to risk burning your house down just so that you actually destroy your phone.

15. Kill the Battery

Your phone won’t be able to operate without a functioning battery. Killing the battery on your phone will completely hamper its ability to operate. If you’re able to remove the battery, you can take it out and damage it to the point that it’s no longer able to function. Once you put it back in, your job will be done.

If you can’t take your battery out (all batteries can be taken out, some are just easier than others and will require more tools), then you can destroy the battery through natural use.

Every time that you charge your battery, especially past 90%, it’s destroyed a little so the more you do this, the closer you are to destroying your phone internally. If you want to accelerate battery failure, you want to make sure that you plug your phone in with a fast charger (view on Amazon).

While your phone is plugged in, run some battery-draining apps so that it kills the battery fast. You also want to make sure that you charge your phone overnight as this will allow you to kill it even fast.

16. Encrypt the Phone

If you want a final way to destroy your phone internally and permanently without anyone knowing, the easiest way to do it is to use some powerful encryption software. You can download an encryption app that’s designed to prevent all access to the phone.

Then you can deny access to the password. If the wrong password is entered enough times, some apps will automatically lock. Others won’t do this, all you need to do is never enter the password and it’ll never be able to be accessed.

The encryption will have the power to hold your phone story and it can completely wipe the phone if it knows it’s in the wrong hands.

Bottom Line

In most cases, the hardware of the phone need not suffer for data to become permanently irretrievable.

However, for the purpose of personal security completely destroying a phone can be relatively easy.

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David Johnson is a freelance writer with 9 years of experience writing for Techzillo and other established tech outlets like iMore. His focus and key interests are Apple and accessibility as well as consumer technology in general. Read our Editorial Guidlines and Fact Checking process.


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