How to Wipe Your Android Phone So No One can Recover Your Data
With flagship models launching every year now, there is a new dilemma that is haunting the smartphone buyers and sellers. How to wipe your Android phone before selling or exchanging it? There are tools available in the market, rather easily, that can recover your mobile’s data even if you wipe it clean! Scary, right?
Mobiles have become an integral part of our lives with much our personal and professional data being stored on it. In such a scenario, properly wiping your Android phone before selling it to someone else becomes extremely important. Otherwise, you might be a victim of ID theft or something much worse. In this guide, you will learn how to wipe your Android phone, the right way, without having to worry about your data falling into the wrong hands.
There is another thing that you need to keep in mind, and that is backup. Before you go all terminator on your Android phone, make sure to backup everything from your contacts to your app settings and media files.
Before you wipe your Android phone
Here is a small list of important steps that you need to take care of before you can begin with the wiping process.
- Remove your sim card
- Remove your memory card (if any)
- Note serial number of your phone somewhere
- Take a backup
Data Recovery Softwares – How They Work
As mentioned above, there are data recovery software and tools that can recover your Android phone’s data even after you have wiped it clean. Storage is handled the same way whether you are using Windows or Android. If you can recover lost files on Windows, why not the same is possible on Android? So, how it works?
When you hit the delete button, data or file goes to trash. When you empty trash, the file simply becomes invisible to the naked eye and the area on your memory card or internal storage is marked free. As you add new files, old ones are removed in the background. Not a pretty sight but true all the same. In this guide, you will learn how to wipe your Android phone the right way so that no one can recover wiped files and data. Let’s begin.
How to wipe your Android phone
With the launch of Android Lollipop, Google launched a new feature called FRP (Factory Reset Protection). What this means is that if you factory reset your Android device, the buyer will not be able to use it unless the previous Google ID/password is re-entered. We will disable FRP. Keeping this thought in mind, let’s begin with the process.
1. Disable screen lock
You cannot reset your device with the screen lock enabled. Whether you are using fingerprint or passcode or pattern lock, you have to disable it.
Settings – Security and Fingerprint – Screen Lock
Depending on the type of lock that you are using on your phone, disable it. Test it once by locking and unlocking your phone to make sure that it is disabled.
2. Deleting Google Account
All Android devices need an active Google account to run and operate smoothly. Afterall, Android is a Google product. Delete your Google account so that you can it use on your brand new and shining Android phone.
Settings – Accounts – Google
Tap the remove button next to your Google ID. This will remove the account and all associated data from your Android phone.
In fact, remove all the accounts that you have connected your Android phone with. All social media accounts, IMAP accounts… everything.
3. Factory Reset your Android phone
As mentioned above, we now know that a mere factory reset is not enough. This is why I decided to write this guide. Because you must know about it and share it with everyone you know. In order to overcome this hurdle, we will do a hard reset after encrypting our data. Here is how:
- Encrypt your mobile
When you encrypt your mobile, all the data on your device will be scrambled and you will get a unique serial key to unscramble it. Only you have this serial key.
Settings – Security – Encrypt
- Factory Reset
This is where you factory reset your device. So why scramble? Sometimes, factory reset fails to delete all your data making it easy to recover using available tools and apps. Once you scramble it, no one but you can unscramble it as you alone have the serial key.
Settings – Backup and Reset
Before you wipe your Android phone, I would like to remind you again that if you haven’t taken a backup yet, do so immediately. Hit the factory reset button and you will get a warning. Read through and continue. It will take some time and you can eat popcorn while you wait.
And… you are done.
Remove Access from Online Accounts
Security – Device Activity Notifications
You must revoke access to your Android device by visiting your Google Account. Remove the Android mobile model from the list. Also, to be on the safer side, go to Facebook and remove your device from there too.
There is a software called Safe Wiper that will permanently delete all the data on your Android phone for free. It will available for Windows and Mac.
Although there is a software, I would still recommend following the above tutorial. It is easy to follow and more secured. This way, you are in control and running the show.