The versatility of modern cell phones and tablets is one of their greatest attractions. Putting all your contacts, your calendar, e-mail and favorite websites onto a single, easy-to-use device is irresistibly convenient. Unfortunately, it also places your whole life at the fingertips of anyone else who uses that phone or tablet. If you plan to resell or give away a device from one of the major manufacturers, such as Samsung, it's prudent to spend a few minutes erasing your contacts and other personally identifiable data. Android and Windows devices all work much the same way, but feature phones are more variable.
Press your phone's "Menu" key, then "Settings" and "Security." On some phones, the Security section is found on "Settings" and then "More..."
Select "Erase," or "Erase/Reset" on some phones.
Choose "Erase Contacts" to delete all contacts on the phone.
Press "Yes" to confirm the deletion, then the Menu key to exit.
Android Phones and Tablets
Touch the time display in the bottom right-hand corner of your Samsung phone or tablet's screen. From the pop-up menu, select "Settings."
Choose "Accounts and Sync." Uncheck the "Contacts" box for any account that's set up to sync with your computer or other devices. This way, deleting contacts from your portable device won't delete them from your master account as well. Press the "Back" key -- the horseshoe-shaped arrow at the lower left -- to return to the Settings menu.
Touch "Apps" and then "Contacts Storage."
Tap "Clear Data." Tap again to confirm the deletion. Android will remove your contacts data.
- The deletion process for Android will also remove recent calls and Favorites data. The only other options are to delete contacts manually, or remove that entire account from your portable device.
- A small number of Samsung phones use the Windows Phone 7 or 8 operating system. Windows Phone lacks an option for deleting multiple contacts, but it can be done by downloading an aftermarket utility such as Clear Contacts, or by using the online contact-management tools on Microsoft Live.
- Samsung feature phones are less standardized than their Android phones and menu options might vary slightly from those given here.
- The instructions for Android phones and tablets apply to version 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, and versions 4.1 and 4.2, codenamed Jelly Bean. The process might change in future versions of Android, or Samsung might customize its implementation of Android to provide an alternative method.
- Sean Gallup/Getty Images News/Getty Images