How To Erase Your Phone Securely Before You Sell It

How To Erase Your Phone Securely Before You Sell It

The first thing that comes into the minds of people when they are selling their old mobiles is that whether all the data on the mobile phone is successfully removed or is there something left still. This is truly a genuine concern because most people store their most personal things in their mobile phones ranging from bank account numbers, passwords, images, and videos etc. The extent of the concern increases with the additional personal data you store in your mobiles.

For many people, the best thing to remove the data completely from your mobile is Factory Data Reset. Most people use this method to erase data completely from their mobiles. Nowadays, it has become a genuine concern that whether Factory Data Reset is sufficient for removing all the data or not. While there are concerns, there are suspicions as well regarding the capacity of this feature to erase all data.

We have made a step by step guide to give you detailed information about how you can remove data permanently from your mobile before selling it anybody else.

No matter which mobile you have, there are few things that are common in all the mobiles and which should be taken seriously.

Removing SIM from Phone

Removing SIM Cards

All your personal contacts are saved on the SIM card; therefore, if you are planning to sell your mobile, make sure that you remove the SIM card first. Not only contacts, but there are also many call logs that are stored on the SIM card. Besides, the person to whom you are selling your mobile will find your SIM of no use.

Removing Micro SD Card

Removing Micro SD card from your mobile before selling it to anybody else is also very important because it is certain that you will have certain data on your SD card. Most people also store contacts and other backups in their SD cards; therefore it is better to remove it before selling it to anybody else.

Some people also save lots of data on their mobile internal memory – provided the mobile offers a significant amount of space – when the SD card is filled. Before selling your mobile, make sure that you have transferred all that data which is stored in the internal memory of mobile to any external hard drive. You can explore many external hard drives at Groupon, where you can get many discounts as well, for more discounts you can checkout Groupon coupons as well.

Formatting the SD Card

If you really have to include your card with the mobile when you are selling it, then the best option is that you make sure that you have formatted it completely. There are different ways to format a card. You can format it in the settings menu or you can format it by connecting it to the PC. Again, there are chances that the data on your SD card can be recovered even if it is formatted; therefore the best option is that you keep your memory card.

These are simple practical things that you need to consider before selling your mobile to somebody. One thing that isn’t considered yet is how to erase all data from the internal storage. The methods to erase data may vary depending on whether you are using Android or iOS, but both are straightforward. Before we discuss how to erase all the data from the internal storage, it is better to be aware of how flash memory works first.

How Flash Memory Works

You might be aware of the fact that in platter hard drives, when you delete something, it isn’t deleted at all, and most people compare the memory of their mobiles with the platter hard drives. There is no need to compare these two storages because both are different.

What platter hard drives have is called magnetic storage medium, while the mobile phones’ storage doesn’t work on this magnetic storage medium. Therefore, it follows that the methods that can be used to recover data on the platter hard drives cannot be used for the mobile phones, because platter hard drives have magnetic storage medium, and mobiles don’t have any.

It follows from the above discussion that the traditional method of rewriting your data for seven times may erase all the magnetic data on the hard drives; it won’t be any good for the mobile phones.

That being said, it must be now clear that the hard drives and mobiles’ memory work on different principles, and using the method of one to erase the data on the other – in this case rewriting data for seven times on mobile as we do for the hard drives – won’t be of any use.

Mobile phones are equipped with their own methods to remove data permanently. Here are two different ways to remove data from iOS and Android mobile.

Default Erase in iOS

There is good news for all the iOS users because their mobiles are equipped with, beforehand, the most efficient tool of privacy and which can also be of great advantage in removing the data. In the old Apple mobiles, data was deleted by using a long and secure process, but in the new mobiles and the iOS higher than 3.0, the data is removed by using the hardware encryption.

All the data you store in the internal storage is automatically encrypted in the Apple devices. Your device generates and uses a key that is never stored anywhere except your own mobile. When you wipe the data on mobiles that use this specific hardware encryption, your mobile deletes that specific key that works for your mobile. After that, even if someone tries to recover your data, he can’t do that without that encryption key which is deleted forever.

All you need to do to erase all data is head to Settings, and there in the General category, you will find the option “Reset”. Once you erase all content and settings, in the iOS higher than 3.0, the encryption method is used while in the devices with iOS 3.0 or less than that, the mobile will overwrite all your data with random information to protect it being read in the future by anybody else.

This is why older iOS takes extra time to erase all data, while the latest ones take only a few seconds. Also if you have forgotten your restrictions passcode on the iPhone, read this guide.

Android Mobiles – Encrypting Data and then Erasing

Android mobiles are built slightly different from the Apple iOS; therefore the method to erase data in Android mobiles is also different from that of iOS. The methods may also vary from Android to Android.

Data Encryption & Protection

Unlike iOS, Android mobiles do not encrypt all your data automatically; rather, you have to do it manually in the settings. Once all the data in your Android device is encrypted, you will have to enter a key every time you reboot your mobile. The encryption key cannot be confused with the Pin key. There are few slight drawbacks of this method: you might feel some performance decrease once you encrypt your data. In a similar manner, you cannot reverse the process without wiping your phone.

Now, there are two options to remove data in the Android mobiles: the first one is the simple Factory data reset, which might be present at different places depending on the mobile. For many users, this method is sufficient to ensure that no one will be able to probe into your personal data which you once stored in your mobile.

In Android mobiles, the removal of data also depends on how the manufacturer implemented the factory wipe. There are few Android mobiles which leave behind some traceable data even after factory reset.

You can choose from these two methods: either you can simply reset your mobile, or you can first encrypt your data and then reset it.

All these methods will ensure that all your personal data is erased permanently.


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