Remove corporate data from a mobile device

Mobile devices store important information and can give access to a user’s corporate account. If a device goes missing or a user leaves your organization, you can still wipe corporate apps and data from the device. You can wipe a user’s corporate account, their work profile, or all data from the device. Whichever method you choose, the corporate data is still available when users sign in with their computer, a web browser, or another authorized mobile device.

Important (Android): If you use factory-reset protection, make sure you can access an associated admin account before you wipe a device and reset it. The account must be active (not restored) and can never have been deleted or suspended. Google Cloud Support can’t unlock the device or restore it for you. If you have problems unlocking a reset device, contact the manufacturer for help. For details, see Factory Reset Protection Setting.

Before you begin

Decide what to wipe from the device

You can wipe all apps and data from a device or just a corporate account. In general, you should:

  • Wipe a device—If it’s a company-owned or personal device that’s lost or stolen.
  • Wipe a corporate account—If it’s a personal device and the user is leaving your organization.

The data that’s removed depends on the type of device you’re wiping. For details, see the table below.

Note: You can’t wipe all apps and data from a device that’s managed with basic mobile management. The device must be managed with advanced mobile management and have the Google Apps Device Policy app (Android), Android Device Policy (Android), a device policy profile (Apple® iOS®), or Google Sync (G Suite only) configured. For details, see Set up mobile device management.

Device type Wipe device Wipe corporate account
Personal Android device with a work profile

Devices with Google Apps Device Policy app only

The user’s work profile is removed, which includes the corporate account and all apps and data associated with it.

Personal data and apps remain on the device.

The user’s work profile is removed, which includes the corporate account and all apps and data associated with it.

Personal data and apps remain on the device.

Personal Android device without a work profile

All corporate and personal apps and data are removed.

The device is reset to its factory settings.

If the device has an SD card*, data is removed from the SD card, too.

Android Device Policy devices—The device is reset to its factory settings. 

Google Apps Device Policy devices—The corporate account is removed. Personal data and apps remain on the device.

Company-owned Android device

All corporate and personal data is removed.

The device is reset to its factory settings.

This option isn’t available for company-owned devices.

iOS device using iOS Sync for G Suite

All corporate and personal data and apps are removed.

The device is reset to its factory settings.

The corporate account and managed apps are removed.

Personal data and apps remain on the device.

Devices that use Google Sync, such as Windows® Phone, iOS, BlackBerry®(G Suite only)

All corporate and personal data is removed.

The device is reset to its factory settings.

This option isn’t available for devices that sync data with Google Sync.

*The removal is a Quick Erase and not a Secure Erase of the SD card. Only mounted primary SD cards are wiped. Read-only cards aren't wiped.

If you have access to the device...

If the device isn’t lost or stolen, and you have access to it:

  • Make sure the user can access their corporate account:
    • If they don’t know their password, you need to reset it. Reset the password before you wipe the device. If you don't, the user might need to wait at least 24 hours before they can sign back in to the device.
    • If the account is suspended, you need to restore it. For details, see Restore a suspended user.
  • Make sure any administrators who have access to Android devices with factory reset protection can sign in. The accounts must be active for the admin to access the device after it’s wiped.
  • Sign out and remove the corporate account before you wipe the device or account.

Wipe a device or a corporate account from a device

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. From the Admin console Home page, go to Devices.

    To see Devices, you might have to click More controls at the bottom.

  3. Click Mobile devices.
  4. Select the devices you want to wipe and then click More More and then choose an option:
    • Wipe Device
    • Wipe Account
    Note: If you’re not sure which option to choose, review Decide what to wipe from the device.
  5. (Optional) For devices using Android Device Policy: If you’re wiping an account and want to remove factory reset protection, check the Also remove factory reset device protection box.
    The device will no longer require the owner or admin to sign in after it’s reset.
  6. Click Wipe to confirm.
    If the user added more than one account to the device or if they added the same corporate account to their work profile and personal space, there are 2 entries for the device in the mobile devices list.
  7. Repeat the steps to remove data from both entries in the devices list.

On the next sync, data is deleted and, if applicable, the device is reset. It usually takes a few minutes for the data to be removed from the device, but it might take up to 3 hours for some devices. When the wipe is complete, the Admin console shows the device status as Wiped or Account Wiped.

If the device isn't online, the Admin console shows the device status as Approved or Wiping. After the device is back online and the wipe is complete, the status updates to Wiped or Account Wiped.

For information about the factory-reset process, see the device's documentation.

Android 5.1 Lollipop and later devices—An account can’t be removed if it’s the only account on the device. When you wipe the account, new work data will stop syncing but existing data and the corporate account will remain on the device. To remove the account and existing data, wipe all data from the device.

Allow Android users to wipe their own device

You can allow users to remotely wipe their own devices. When they wipe their device, the same data is removed as when an administrator chooses to wipe a device. For details, see Decide what to wipe from the device.

Note: This option is supported for Android 2.2 Froyo and later devices.

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. From the Admin console Home page, go to Devices.

    To see Devices, you might have to click More controls at the bottom.

  3. Click Android Settings and then  General Settings.
  4. (Optional) On the left, select an organization to apply the setting to.
  5. Check the Allow user to remote wipe device from Find My Device box.
  6. Click Save.

To give your users details on how to remotely wipe their device, see Manage my Android device.

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