How to Completely Wipe An Android Phone

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If you are thinking to sell your smartphone, it is better to wipe the device completely. It is because the traditional data reset will not perform 100% of the job and your data will still be recoverable after it. Even if the data is hidden after you do reset, one can still recover your data. There are numbers of tool available to retrieve this information.

Also read: Best Antivirus Software

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In a study, popular security firm Avast purchased 20 old smartphones from eBay and it was able to recover more than 40,000 photos, emails, contacts and text messages. It also got success in identifying deice owners and their personal information. So, you can now understand how important it is to take care of your phone’s data before giving it to anyone.

If you are a understand how things work, you can easily understand why Avast was able to recover files. OS only deletes the pointers in the file table and mark the space occupied by the file as free. In the reality, the file still exists and remain on the phone’s storage.

When you add more data on the phone, the new data will overwrite the old data. But all of your data will be there on the phone soon after you format the phone. If you sell this phone to someone else, the person can recover your photos and other data from the phone. The data can be recovered with freely available data recovery software.

Also read: Best Free Data Recovery Software

This is the reason forums are filled with questions like “How to clean my Android Phone?“,”How to clean Android Phone?“, “How to Properly Format my Android Phone“, “How to properly wipe the phone’s data” and many similar kinds of queries.

In this post, I will tell you what to do to make sure your sensitive information has been wiped completely from your phone.

Before you know how to completely wipe the data, you should start using encryption on your phone. If you have not been using the Encrypt, you should first Encrypt the phone before performing the hard reset.

Step 1: Encrypt your phone

Android phones come with the option to Encrypt the phone. After your Encrypt your phone, your experience will not change and all the apps and your phone will continue function as it used to work. But people retrieving information from your phone will not be able to do anything with retrieved data. If you have been using this for long, you can skip this step and start reading Factory reset the phone.

To Encrypt your Android device, go to Settings and select Security. In this section, you will see the option Encrypt Phone. It is simple and available in most of the Android Phones.

Step 2: Factory reset the phone

Next step is to perform the Factory rest. For this, Go to Settings > Backup & reset > Factory data reset and then tap Reset phone or Reset device.

After this phone is done, your phone will be wiped and any data that could be recover will be encrypted. Now it is safe to sell your phone without any worry.

Step 4: Overwriting with junk data (Not Necessary)

In the last, you can do another step if you want to be sure that your data is safe. This step is not necessary because the data that could be recovered has already been encrypted.

Now, you can overwrite your encrypted data with junk data. As I already said, after your perform reset, OS only deletes the pointers in file table and new data overwrites the existing data over the time. You can manually transfer the junk data in the phone to replace your encrypted data (that is still somewhere in the phone). You can save lots of long videos to easily fill up space in the phone. Try to fill smartphone’s storage as much as possible. After saving too much junk data, yo can again perform the factory reset.

After saving too much junk data, yo can again perform the factory reset.

After the second factory reset, only the junk data will be in the phone to recover and that junk data is also encrypted. So, another person will only waste his time in guessing the possible ways to decrypt the junk data.

Use third-party apps to delete the data.

There are few apps that allow you to delete the personal data from your smartphone before you sell it. Security company Avast offers Avast Anti-Theft app. This is a free app available in Play store. Install it and Turn on the thorough wipe feature within the app.

After this, Log in to your My Avast account from a desktop and wipe your phone. This will delete and overwrite all of your personal data saved in the phone.

Final Words

Now you know how important it is to completely wipe your Android device before giving it to someone else.

Most of the personal photos and videos from the phone come to the Internet by recovering the data from sold devices. You may have already sold your old phones without properly wiping it. But be prepared for future. You can also bookmark this article for future reference.

Do not forget to share this article with friends and let them know how to completely wipe Android phone’s data to keep it safe from unknown persons.


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Deepanker Verma
Author Deepanker Verma

Deepanker Verma is a well-known technology blogger and gadget reviewer based in India.

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