Our smartphones are privy to some of our most important secrets. Sensitive business emails, financial details, contact information, and perhaps even arisqu photo are not things you want falling into the wrong hands.Performing a factory reset is always a good idea, but it might not always be enough. Whenthe security firm Avast bought 20 Android smartphonesfrom eBay, for example, it was able to recover photos, Google searches, emails, text messages, and contact details.We’re going to show you how to wipe your Android phone properly, to make sure that can’t happen to you.
You’ll want to start by removing Factory Reset Protection (FRP). Google introduced FRPin Android 5.0 Lollipop as an extra layer of security. It’s designed to prevent thieves from being able to steal your phone, wipe it, and then use it or sell it.
When you factory reset a phone with FRP enabled and try to set it up as a new device, you’ll be prompted to enter the user name and password for the last Google account that was registered on the device. If you don’t have those details, then the phone will remainlocked and you can’t gain access. Obviously, this is no good if you’re trying to sell it or give it away.
Here’s how to disable it:
Once your Google and Samsung accounts have beenremoved, you can proceedwith the factory reset.
When you do a factory reset on your Android smartphone, it’s supposed to wipe it clean, but it doesn’t. It deletes the addresses of all of your data, so it no longer knows where it’s stored, but it doesn’t actually overwrite the data. That being the case, it’s possible for someone to employ off-the-shelf recovery software and get some of that data back. Let’s look at how to wipe your Android smartphone properly.
The first step is to encrypt your data. This option is built into Android, and requires you to entera PIN or password every time you turn yourphone on. It means that anyone attempting to recover data from your phone after you will need a special key to decrypt it, and they won’t have the key.
If your phone came with Android 6.0 Marshmallow or above, it shouldbe encrypted by default, and you can skip to the next section. If you’re unsure about which version ofAndroid your phone is running, then take a look in Settings > About device/phone > Software info.Keep in mindthat it will only be encrypted by default ifAndroid 6.0 Marshmallow was installed out of the box.
Make sure that you have anything you want to keep backed up before you do this because it will wipe everything. The steps are generally the same for most Android devices, but some manufacturers like to be different.
When the process is done, your phone will be wiped and any data that could be recovered will be encrypted and should be impossible to decrypt. It’s now safe to sell your Android smartphone, or pass it along to someone else.
If you want to be absolutely certain, you can overwrite the encrypted data with junk data and then perform another factory reset then it would be genuinely impossible to recover any of your old data. This is probably overkill. If you want to do it, however, then simply load a bunch of dummy data onto yourphone until the storage is full a few large videos should do the trick and then perform another factory reset.
You can also get an app to do it for you. There are a few options in the Play Store, such asSecure Erase with iShredder 6.
There you have it. That’s how you completely wipe your Android phone. Let us know if you have a better technique.