Here are 10 ways to destroy a cell phone internally without breaking it or putting it into water:
- Completely erase the phone
- Overwrite hardware controllers
- Download a destructive virus
- Use a magnet
- Remove components
- Heat the phone up
- Freeze the phone
- Kill the circuits
- Kill the battery
- Encrypt the phone
So if you want to learn all about how to destroy a smartphone internally but not physically, then you’re in the right place.
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How to Destroy a Smartphone Internally but Not Physically?
It’s pretty common for people to look up ways to protect their phones and prevent damage.
It’s less common when people want to deliberately destroy a phone.
Still, the question does arise, and there are a ton of viable answers in response to it.
Things get trickier when people ask how to destroy a phone without leaving any signs.
Rather than ask testy questions about why this is important, we can dive into the answers.
At the very least, you have a chance to learn more about how phones work.
And, if you aren’t trying to destroy a phone, consider this a power list of what not to do… ever.
#1 Completely Erase the Phone
Traditionally, you erase all of your personal data by doing a factory restore.
You can actually go farther and erase any and all operating systems from a phone.
If you do this, there will be nothing for the phone to do.
The hardware will work normally, but nothing will ever load because there is nothing to load.
There are a number of programs that can perform this erasure for any user:
- B-Folders 4
- Dr. Fone – Data Eraser (Android)
- iSkysoft Data Eraser
- Mobikin Android Data Eraser
- Vipre Mobile Security
- Wondershare MobileTrans
It will typically require the phone to be plugged into a computer for access.
When you use any of this software, choose to fully erase all partitions.
When it’s done, you have a perfectly healthy phone with absolutely no software and no capacity to do anything at all.
#2 Overwrite Hardware Controllers
You can stop short of completely erasing the phone to still brick it.
This is another method that leaves the hardware completely alone while rendering the phone inoperable, and it’s much harder to fix.
You can overwrite primary hardware controllers, ROM (Read-Only Memory) software, or firmware on the computer.
If you flash the wrong software in any of these capacities onto the phone, it will stop working completely.
If you have ever flashed a BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) or similar base-level controllers, the process is similar.
You have to access the phone at a root level, which is much easier to do with an Android than an iPhone.
Regardless, you can install hardware controllers or firmware that does not function with the phone’s hardware when you have that access.
The result is a completely inoperable phone.
#3 Download a Destructive Virus
Once again, this is a method that is much easier to do to an Android than an iPhone.
Regardless, you can search for viruses that completely destroy your type of phone.
For liability reasons, there are no links here.
When you find such a virus, it will install itself and kill the phone.
Your hardware won’t be touched, so there will be no signs of deliberate damage.
There is one thing to keep in mind if you try this. There is no guarantee that the virus will work as advertised.
You might have to try a few before one succeeds.
Much more importantly, the malicious software you willingly install might try to steal information from your phone.
Erase all of your personal data before attempting this method.
#4 Use a Magnet
Once upon a time, electronic devices were very vulnerable to the influence of external magnets.
This is no longer the case, and your traditional refrigerator magnet is not likely to destroy a phone.
That said, very powerful magnets can mess with phones, and if you try hard enough, you can render a phone inoperable through the use of magnets.
The first thing to understand is that these magnets have to be very strong.
If you can pull away an attracted object with your bare hands, the magnet isn’t strong enough.
There are rare earth magnets and electromagnets that are strong enough to do this, but they aren’t easy to come by.
If you can get one, make many, many passes of the phone through the magnetic field.
Each pass will have a chance to magnetize the metal components of the phone and reverse the polarity of the magnets inside of the phone.
Each time that happens, more and more components of the phone will fail.
#5 Remove Components
This requires a little more knowledge than the average user might possess, but it’s a surefire way to kill a phone.
If you have the ability, you can open up the phone.
Once you do, you can remove key hardware components like the processor.
If you can put the phone back together correctly, there will be no overt signs of tampering, and the phone won’t work at all.
That said, there is a fatal flaw with this plan.
If an expert opens the phone, they will be able to see that components were clearly removed.
So, depending on why you need to destroy a phone without anyone knowing, this may or may not be a good method.
#6 Heat the Phone Up
A smartphone can only safely operate up to about 120 °F Fahrenheit (48 °C).
If you leave the phone running in a hotter environment, it can overheat and take damage.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to put the phone in a closed car on a hot summer day.
Those temperatures can get up to about 130 °F (54 °C), and if the phone is active, it won’t be able to cool off properly.
“Gently” overheating the phone like this might not destroy the phone on the first try.
But, done enough, this can break any phone that isn’t rated for hot environments.
Let’s inject a safety warning.
You might think that it is easier to simply stick the phone in the oven, but if the oven is at high temperatures, you can easily melt plastic and other materials that can release toxic fumes.
Baking phones is dangerous.
#7 Freeze the Phone
If hot temperatures can kill a phone, so can low temperatures.
Most smartphones will fail if stored at temperatures below -4 °F (-20 °C).
Most freezers will keep temperatures at or below 0 °F (0 °C).
Leave it in the freezer overnight, and it should get cold enough to take damage.
You don’t need to soak it in water or anything else.
The temperature alone will usually be sufficient.
You might consider putting it in a plastic bag, just so your phone doesn’t spread germs to food in the freezer.
Most importantly, freezing the phone can kill it, but extreme temperatures can leave signs of physical stress.
Most notably, there will always be a risk that your screen will crack if you leave the phone in the freezer.
#8 Kill the Circuits
If you Google how to destroy your phone without anyone knowing, you’ll see a lot of recommendations to put it in the microwave or use a charger that is too powerful.
While both of these things can kill a phone, they are quite dangerous.
Both create a high risk of creating a fire, and both can produce toxic fumes. They are also likely to leave visible signs of damage.
A better option is to open the phone and desolder the main charging port or power connector.
This prevents the phone from receiving power, so it can’t work.
More importantly, the fire hazard from this method is minimal, and the risk of any sign of overt damage is very low.
#9 Kill the Battery
This is the most involved method on the list, but it might satisfy the question.
Killing the battery on the phone doesn’t completely brick the device, but it severely hampers the phone’s ability to operate.
If the battery is removable, you can pop it out and then damage it to a point that it doesn’t function. Pop it back in, and your task is complete.
If the battery is not removable, you can kill it through natural use.
Every time a battery is recharged, it takes a small amount of chemical damage.
If you accelerate this process, you can make the battery non-functional.
Keep in mind that the battery is designed to recharge thousands of times before it fails.
So, to accelerate battery failure, you want to leave the phone plugged in with a fast charger.
While it’s plugged in, run whatever apps drain the battery the fastest.
This method will still take weeks to complete, but it can prematurely kill the battery.
#10 Encrypt the Phone
The final method employs the use of powerful encryption software. It’s actually the easiest way to render a phone inoperable on this whole list.
Download an encryption app that is designed to prevent all access to the phone.
Then, simply deny access to the password.
Some apps will automatically lock if you enter the wrong password enough times.
Others won’t do this, so all you have to do is never enter the password.
The encryption will hold the entire phone hostage, and it can even completely wipe the phone if it is designed to do so.