How do I wipe a half dead phone

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In summary, the Motorola one 5g ace has water damage and the touch screen is busted. The wifi is dead and google find my phone can't find it. The only option for disposing the phone is to factory reset it and recycle it.
  • #1
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TL;DR Summary
My phone's screen and wifi are broken. How do I clear the data?
I have a motorola one 5g ace that has water damage. The phone can turn on but the touch screen is busted (fully black display, probably no touch sensitivity based on me trying to blind push buttons). The wifi is dead - google find my phone can't find it (and hence can't delete it). Iknow the phone turns on because i can use the motion controls to turn on the flashlight.

I already got a new phone and am obviously not going to spend the money trying to fix this phone. What are my options for disposing it? Normally I just factory reset then recycle. Should I pry it open and smash the memory? How do I even identify the memory?
 
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A LARGE hammer, operated as if driving a large nail into a rock.
 
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  • #3
Exactly, the sledgehammer way.
Just smash it to bits.
Well, remove the battery first, and nicely depose the remains later.

Unless you are already on the list of some three-letter-agencies (but in that case they are already have everything from your phone anyway) nobody will care about an unidentifiable wreck of electronics.

Ps.: Actually, nobody will care even if you just depose it. But the hammer is indeed more satisfying. o0)
 
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  • #4
Office_Shredder said:
Summary: My phone's screen and wifi are broken. How do I clear the data?

I have a motorola one 5g ace that has water damage. The phone can turn on but the touch screen is busted (fully black display, probably no touch sensitivity based on me trying to blind push buttons). The wifi is dead - google find my phone can't find it (and hence can't delete it). Iknow the phone turns on because i can use the motion controls to turn on the flashlight.

I already got a new phone and am obviously not going to spend the money trying to fix this phone. What are my options for disposing it? Normally I just factory reset then recycle. Should I pry it open and smash the memory? How do I even identify the memory?
I would smash the sim separately to make sure.
 
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  • #5
Office_Shredder said:
Summary: My phone's screen and wifi are broken. How do I clear the data?
Is there a little pinhole next to the SIM card tray? If you can open it still, just remove the SIM card.
 
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  • #6
berkeman said:
Is there a little pinhole next to the SIM card tray? If you can open it still, just remove the SIM card.
Is the sim card the only important part? Like, is that where google chrome has stashed all my saved passwords for example?

I do have easy access to the sim card
 
  • #7
Office_Shredder said:
Is the sim card the only important part? Like, is that where google chrome has stashed all my saved passwords for example?

I do have easy access to the sim card
I believe so, but I'm no expert. You may be able to do a Google search for your particular phone model to see if there are any other user storage areas in the phone other than the SIM card...
 
  • #8
Office_Shredder said:
Is the sim card the only important part? Like, is that where google chrome has stashed all my saved passwords for example?

I do have easy access to the sim card
When I stored a number with an older phone I would get the option of 'phone' or 'sim.'
Where on the phone I am not sure.
Destroy the SIM, then smash the phone and drop the peices in salt water. Then leave to the elements in your bin minus the battery.
Oxidation and recrystallization of the salt will mess everything up enough that even the NSA would have a hard time extracting.
So, reading between the lines, you either work for the CIA OR you have some conversations between you and you ex that you would rather bury.
It's fine, we have all been there.
 
  • #9
Office_Shredder said:
Is the sim card the only important part? Like, is that where google chrome has stashed all my saved passwords for example?

I do have easy access to the sim card
Google password you can access anywhere. Library, work. Go to Google, login. You may need a phone number though to verify.
 
  • #10
pinball1970 said:
Google password you can access anywhere. Library, work. Go to Google, login. You may need a phone number though to verify.
Right, I guess my point was more like, I have already logged into this phone. The only thing someone needs to get into my Google account is the pin number, not my Google password.
 
  • #11
Office_Shredder said:
Is the sim card the only important part?
NV RAM and Flash memory too,
 
  • #12
berkeman said:
I believe so, but I'm no expert. You may be able to do a Google search for your particular phone model to see if there are any other user storage areas in the phone other than the SIM card...
There is hardly anything of value stored on the SIM card, it is all in the (encrypted) internal memory of the phone. As mentioned above unless you are a member of a 3 letter organisation I wouldn't worry.
 
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  • #13
pbuk said:
There is hardly anything of value stored on the SIM card, it is all in the (encrypted) internal memory of the phone.
Interesting. Then why is moving the SIM card from your old phone to your new phone an option for transferring your contact info and your history? I help design and fab chips that go into cell phones (for a couple manufacturers who will go un-named), but I don't have access to their schematics...
 
  • #14
It was about 20 years ago when 'contact information' consisted of a name and a phone number and this plus the last 10 calls you made was all you expected to store on your phone.

Now we have moved on and the SIM only contains what it needs to contain - the information to connect you to your supplier's network.
 
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  • #15
pbuk said:
Now we have moved on and the SIM only contains what it needs to contain - the information to connect you to your supplier's network.
Then why did I just buy a 128GB SIM card with my latest Google Pixle 6 phone purchase? Are you saying that they played me for a fool?

1653522349662.png

https://store.google.com/product/pixel_6_specs?hl=en-US
 
  • #16
berkeman said:
Then why did I just buy a 128GB SIM card with my latest Google Pixle 6 phone purchase?
That will be a 128GB SD card. It's good for storing pictures, TikTok videos and Spotify tunes. Unless you want to carry a lot of pictures, TikTok videos and Spotify tunes on your phone you don't really need this, but given that a high quality 128GB SD card costs about GBP 15 (probably the same in USD) then there is a pretty low level of foolishness involved. Unless you paid more than that, or it wasn't a U3 rated SanDisk or other quality card (or it wasn't actually a card at all and this is the phone's internal memory - see below).

SIM cards can have up to 256KB (yes, kilobytes) of memory and you don't get to choose.

Secret stuff is stored encrypted in the phone's internal (non-volatile or flash) memory (for the phone detailed in the image in your post that is either 128GB or 256BG), as are apps (although you can move some apps and their storage to an SD card - see recent thread on this).
 
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  • #17
pbuk said:
That will be a 128GB SD card. It's good for storing pictures, TikTok videos and Spotify tunes. Unless you want to carry a lot of pictures, TikTok videos and Spotify tunes on your phone you don't really need this, but given that a high quality 128GB SD card costs about GBP 15 (probably the same in USD) then there is a pretty low level of foolishness involved. Unless you paid more than that, or it wasn't a U3 rated SanDisk or other quality card (or it wasn't actually a card at all and this is the phone's internal memory - see below).

SIM cards can have up to 256KB (yes, kilobytes) of memory and you don't get to choose
Somebody is not telling Lucy the trooth...!

1653524321733.png


1653524351348.png
 
  • #18
I suspect the 128GB is the phone's internal memory and you don't have an SD card at all (but you do have a SIM card which Verizon give you so that you can connect to their network).

Edit: the Pixel 6 doesn't have an SD card slot so the 128GB is definitely the internal memory. Your pictures, TikTok videos and Spotify tunes will have to share that space with your apps. That won't be a problem.
 
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  • #19
Erm...

SIM cards are meant to have the required data to identify you (your phone) to the GSM provider. They contain only a limited amount of memory available for the user: this memory originally was used to store some limited address book. These days this function is already kind of obsolete.

Losing a SIM card means losing your link to the provider. Usually there is jut limited danger of losing personal data. On the other hand, having a fat bill next month might be really inconvenient, though you are supposed to have a PIN to prevent that... :wink:The other one is the SD card, which is pure storage => losing it is exactly about losing personal data.

SD cards are external storage, but since Android mounts all available storage in 'linux way', external and internal storage will be seen through a single filesystem.

berkeman said:
Then why did I just buy a 128GB SIM card with my latest Google Pixle 6 phone purchase?
That'll be the internal storage of the phone, not a SIM and not an SD card.
 
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  • #20
berkeman said:
Somebody is not telling Lucy the trooth...!

View attachment 301943

View attachment 301944
I don't see any problem at all there. I think the problem is that you are seeing that little sim card and thinking it's the same thing as an SD card. It just isn't. It doesn't say anything about memory. Going back:
Then why did I just buy a 128GB SIM card with my latest Google Pixle 6 phone purchase? Are you saying that they played me for a fool?
No, either you bought a 128GB SD card (or internal memory) and thought it was a SIM card or someone at the store mis-spoke. Either way, you wanted 128GB and you got it -- and you also got a SIM card.
 
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  • #21
russ_watters said:
No, either you bought a 128GB SD card (or internal memory) and thought it was a SIM card or someone at the store mis-spoke. Either way, you wanted 128GB and you got it -- and you also got a SIM card.
Yes, upon further review I think you are right. When I ordered the particular memory configuration, that must have been in internal memory, not the external SIM card:

https://screenrant.com/pixel-6-pixel-6-pro-microsd-card-slot-storage-options-explained/

So it looks like physical destruction is the main option for the OP's dead phone.
 
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  • #22
berkeman said:
So it looks like physical destruction is the main option for the OP's dead phone.
Yes, I agree that would be the most fun.
 
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  • #23
russ_watters said:
So it looks like physical destruction is the main option for the OP's dead phone.
But take the battery out first and recycle it appropriately. Driving a nail or whatever into a lithium battery is not a good idea.
 
  • #24
pbuk said:
But take the battery out first and recycle it appropriately. Driving a nail or whatever into a lithium battery is not a good idea.
Not my quote...
 
  • #25
Office_Shredder said:
Summary: My phone's screen and wifi are broken. How do I clear the data?

I have a motorola one 5g ace that has water damage. The phone can turn on but the touch screen is busted (fully black display, probably no touch sensitivity based on me trying to blind push buttons). The wifi is dead - google find my phone can't find it (and hence can't delete it). Iknow the phone turns on because i can use the motion controls to turn on the flashlight.

I already got a new phone and am obviously not going to spend the money trying to fix this phone. What are my options for disposing it? Normally I just factory reset then recycle. Should I pry it open and smash the memory? How do I even identify the memory?
I'm not familiar with Android phones, but the iPhone has what's called DFU mode which allows you to install new firmware and effectively factory reset the phone using a computer. Does your phone have a similar mode?
 
  • #26
vela said:
I'm not familiar with Android phones, but the iPhone has what's called DFU mode which allows you to install new firmware and effectively factory reset the phone using a computer. Does your phone have a similar mode?

It does, it's part of the find your phone setup, but the phone can't be communicated with over the internet. And if you plug in a cable you have to enable communication on the phone side before it will do anything lother than charge. Presumably someone could replace some of the broken parts and get around this, but I'm not interested in trying that.
 
  • #27
DFU mode is not something initiated through the computer or over the internet. It's used when, for example, your phone is bricked and uncommunicative.

Apparently, there's a recovery mode, which is similar, but I think you may need a working screen to make use of it.

https://www.wired.com/story/how-to-use-android-recovery-mode/
 

Related to How do I wipe a half dead phone

1. How do I know if my phone is half dead?

There are several indicators that your phone may be half dead, such as a significantly reduced battery life, constant crashing or freezing, or a malfunctioning screen. If you are unsure, you can consult a professional for a diagnosis.

2. Can I still retrieve my data from a half dead phone?

It is possible to retrieve data from a half dead phone, but it may be more difficult and time-consuming compared to a fully functioning phone. You may need to use specialized software or seek the help of a professional data recovery service.

3. How can I prevent my phone from becoming half dead?

To prevent your phone from becoming half dead, it is important to properly maintain and care for it. This includes avoiding extreme temperatures, keeping your phone updated with the latest software, and using a protective case and screen protector.

4. Is there a way to revive a half dead phone?

In some cases, a half dead phone can be revived by performing a hard reset or factory reset. However, this may result in the loss of all data on the device. It is recommended to consult a professional before attempting to revive a half dead phone.

5. How do I properly dispose of a half dead phone?

It is important to dispose of a half dead phone properly to prevent any potential harm to the environment. You can recycle your phone through designated e-waste recycling programs or donate it to a charity. Make sure to remove any personal data from the device before disposing of it.

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