Many people think that your SIM card stops holding your personal data once you pull it out of your smartphone. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case—SIM cards actually hold onto your old contacts, texts, and other personal info, which can be very dangerous in the wrong hands. If you’re getting rid of an old phone, destroying your SIM card is the quickest and easiest way to make sure your data can’t be recovered by anyone else. If you’d rather protect your data without damaging your old SIM card, there are different ways you can wipe your SIM card, depending on what kind you have.
Cutting, Shredding, and Grinding
Cut the SIM in half with a pair of scissors.
Grab a sturdy pair of scissors and slice your SIM card down the middle. Feel free to cut it into smaller pieces, as well! Toss these fragments out in the trash right away—this way, no one can get their hands on your personal data.
- When you cut your SIM card into pieces, your data can’t be recovered by anyone else.
Hit the card with a hammer.
Place the SIM card on a flat, sturdy surface that you don’t mind taking a little damage. Whack your card several times with a hammer, until the SIM breaks into several fragments. Toss these pieces out in separate trash cans, so no one can find them.
- There’s no right or wrong to cut up or smash your SIM card. What matters most is that your card is destroyed, and no one can get their hands on the data.
Use a paper shredder to cut up the card.
Stick your SIM card in the front of a paper shredder, where you’d normally put credit or debit cards. Toss out these shavings with the rest of your recycling.
- Double-check your shredder’s user guide to be sure it can handle SIM cards.
- If you work at an office, see if your company has an office disintegrator. This is a big, expensive machine that can professionally destroy a lot of important data, like CDs, DVDs, microfilm, SIM cards, and more.
Destroy the card with a shop grinding wheel.
Turn on your grinding wheel, and hold your SIM card along the edge so it turns to dust. Be careful not to touch the actual grinding wheel with your hands when you do this! Once you’re done, sweep or throw away the SIM card dust.
- Always keep your eyes and mouth covered when working with heavy-duty power tools.
Clear out your iPhone SIM card with the iMyFone Umate Pro app.
Download the iMyFoneUmate Pro software, and connect your phone to your computer with a USB cord. Open up the program and click on the “Erase All Data” button. Hit “Erase Now,” and then type the word “delete” to confirm your decision. Then, your iPhone’s SIM card will be completely wiped.
Use a third-party program to wipe the data on an Android SIM card.
Download the “Android SIM Card Eraser” software to your PC or Mac, then plug your SIM card into the computer with a memory card USB adapter. Open up the “Android SIM Card Eraser” software and follow the prompts that come up—you’ll see an “erase” button in the center of the client. From there, select “medium level,” and type in “delete” to completely wipe your SIM card’s data.
- You’ll need a special memory card USB adapter for this to work. You can find this online, or at most electronics stores.
- This software works with all types of Android SIM cards.
Wipe a Windows Phone twice to make sure no one can access your data.
Open up the “Settings” app and tap on “About” and “Reset Phone” to factory reset your phone. For extra security, fill up your now-empty phone with lots of music or other files until the storage is at capacity. Then, repeat the factory reset process to clear out your phone again.
- Windows Phones don’t encrypt your old information, which is why you need to wipe your phone twice.
- Factory resetting is permanent, and can’t be undone. Keep this in mind before you completely wipe your phone!
Reset your SIM card to get rid of your data.
Open your phone’s “Settings” app, and look for the “Reset” option—if possible, hit the “Reset All” button to reset everything on your SIM card. You can also do this manually, by hitting the “Delete All” option in your contacts, messages, and call log settings.
- You can also reset your phone with a SIM card reading program. You can find these online, or in your phone’s app store.
- Some people prefer to destroy their entire phone, instead of just their SIM card. If you don’t plan on reusing your phone, this might be a good option for you.
- Some people prefer to break the SIM card with their bare hands. However, you’re probably better off destroying it thoroughly with a hammer, scissors, or another tool.
- You can always keep your SIM card on hand in case you need a backup.
- Wiping your SIM is permanent, and can’t be reversed later on. Before making any major changes to your phone, always back it up first.