Wish to buy the newly launched Galaxy Note 9, But you are still a few hundred short of the massive price tag? Luckily you have the old smartphone you can sell, however, before you sell your old smartphone you need securely wipe your Android phone completely.
It is very important to not only delete the files from the old smartphone but ensure that the data can not be recovered. As anyone with a wrong intention can try to recover the old data and cause privacy risks to you.
It may sound terrifying and to be honest, it is: if you are not careful enough. Thankfully, Android phones have built-in features and little precaution from your side can guarantee a peace of mind.
Simply deleting your data from your Android phone is not enough to ensure the data is never recovered. To be 100% sure of your data to not fall into hands of people with bad intention, you have to ensure you wipe your Android phone completely beyond recovery.
You will be surprised to know that recovering deleted data from Android devices is quite easy with the tools available in the market. It probably won’t even need someone with immense technical knowledge to dig out data from an Android device.
Although not any method is full proof, here I will discuss some steps that I personally use being too skeptic about security myself. These steps are easy to follow and will drastically reduce the risk of data theft or leak.
To understand this you need to first understand how the storage works on Android.
How Data is Stored on Android Phones
Essentially data stored on Android Phones are never completely deleted when you choose the delete option. The data sits quietly in the corner marked as delete allowing the device to free up space to store new data. This is done to protect the drives inside which can be damaged by constant read and write.
Therefore, when you delete a file on your Android phone the data stops showing in the files but are not completely deleted. It is rather very simple for the right man with the right tools to dig out the data from the storage.
It will require new data to actually take up the space of the deleted data and overwrite it. What it means essentially is to store some trivial data to actually deem the old data irrecoverable. Only after overwriting the old data with new ones, it can be deemed irrecoverable.
Let us look at the best steps that I personally follow to completely reset my devices before selling it or giving it away.
Step to Wipe your Android Phone Completely to Prevent Data Theft
There is no single step that can be followed to completely wipe your android phone. You should follow a set of steps that will effectively wipe your Android phone completely.
Step 1: Encrypt your Android Phone
Encryption is a native Android feature that allows you to encrypt the data on your Android Phone to prevent any misuse. Let’s say your device gets stolen and the thief decides to peak into your data. If he is aware of breaking into Android devices, recovering data using a few software won’t be much of a trouble.
Encrypting your device will ensure he does not get the data in a form which can be misused. It is a very simple yet very handy feature built into Android devices. Most newer Android Devices comes encrypted out-of-the-box.
To check for your device’s encryption, head over into the setting menu, locate security menu and scroll down to the encryption option. Most cases it will be turned on, if not go ahead and turn it on.
Encrypting your device won’t interfere with the normal usage on your device. To implement the encryption to your device effectively, it is advised to Factory Reset your device. Be sure to take a backup of your device before Factory Resetting your Android device as it will erase all your data.
Step 2: Factory Reset Your Device
This is a step we generally follow before selling our devices. Nothing special to explain on this except the fact that, never sell or give your device away without Factory Resetting your device.
Factory reset essentially delete everything on your device and make it as it was straight out of the factory. It means every data like contacts, images, videos, settings and other alterations will be completely wiped off.
To Factory Reset your Android phone, go to the settings, locate backup & reset option, scroll down and select Factory Data Reset option from the menu.
You might in some cases need to wipe your data off your Android devices, like in the case of your device being stolen or lost. There is still an option to remotely wipe your data using the Android Device Manager.
Step 3: Overwrite the Data with Trivial Files
This step is the one most pro tech users will use before they hand over their device to anyone else. Doing this ensures, there are little to no chance of recovering any data from the Android device.
Trivial files essential means files that are not important to you. They can be gibberish that has no information about you or anything related to you. These can be movies, songs and other such unnecessary files that holds no importance to you and does not matter if get leaked or stolen.
After you load your Android phone with the dummy data, Factory Reset your device again to ensure the person trying to recover data from the device could only get hold of the dummy data.
Most users will not perform this step, but this can be one of the necessary steps that ensure your data never falls in the hand of an unwanted person.
Overwritten data are very hard to recover using some of the best software and tools. We tried ourselves testing on our device and it was not able to find the old data.
I highly advise you to load a large chunk of files like movies, large unwanted pictures, trash files. It can be the step that saves your information from getting into predators hands.
Let’s Round Up
To conclude let us round up what we all learned today.
First, always ENCRYPT your phone from the setting option on your Android Phone.
Second, always FACTORY RESET your device before selling or giving it away to anyone.
Third, always load your phone with DUMMY FILES after resetting and Reset again for better protection.
Remember, to ensure that your data is completely safe, all these steps are to be performed. Only if you follow these three simple steps completely, your data will be secured and irrecoverable.
Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions about the guide. Do share it with your friends and family ensuring the safety of their data and information.