How to properly clear your phone memory?

Did you know that when you sell your old smartphone, you are very likely to share your private data with the new owner as well? In most cases, manually deleting files and restoring factory settings does not solve this problem. So what should you do to avoid this common mistake made by users?

The typical process of deleting all private files from the phone, combined with restoring the factory settings, does not at all guarantee that this data cannot be recovered. Contrary to appearances, you don’t need the help of specialists – to read most of deleted confidential files and saved logins and passwords simple, free and, above all, widely available programs, whose operation comes down to a few clicks, are enough.

Private data are a valuable morsel

Smartphones collect a lot of information about their owners in their memory – these are mainly emails, text messages, call logs or photos and videos. Although we are not aware of it, private information also includes applications with granted access to social networks, bank, streaming services and cloud services.

If even one of the above information ends up in the wrong hands, it can cause quite a bit of trouble – with the loss of access to most services proving to be the least of it. It’s not hard to imagine what happens when a cybercriminal gets full access to your bank account, email and, for example, a photo of your ID.Factory settings are not enough

There is a misconception that restoring factory settings erases all photos, messages, apps and other data irretrievably. However, it turns out that just like in the case of computer disks, the vast majority of erased data can be easily recovered. This is prevented only by repeated overwriting of the memory.

– Modern smartphones resemble computers to some extent, so simply restoring factory settings and deleting memory content does not guarantee full security” – said Piotr GoRepota, – said Piotr Pachota of GoRepair “Before deleting the data it is worth encrypting, and after restoring factory settings additionally overwrite them with random files – he adds in an interview with us.

Data encryption – Android

If a sale is inevitable, it’s worth making sure that the smartphone will be “clean”. On Android devices, you should manually enable the option to encrypt the contents of the memory in the privacy settings before deleting the data. After restoring the factory settings, not even a trace of private files will remain in the smartphone’s memory.

For Android 5.0 or higher versions, you need to go to the Security tab and then select the option to encrypt your phone. Unfortunately, in the case of smartphones, which have firmware overlays prepared by manufacturers, the encryption option was placed in another place, although it is usually hidden under the settings having the name: Security or Privacy settings. Some manufacturers encrypt data without additional settings, immediately after turning on the phone – for example Huawei (overlay EMUI).

Data encryption – iOS and Windows Phone

In case of Apple devices the issue is much simpler – data encryption is enabled by default. The “Erase contents and settings” function built into iPhones removes not only the files but also a special key that is needed to decrypt and read the contents of the device memory.

Often overlooked in guides (although still willingly used) Windows Phone has no special mechanisms or settings for encryption. In the case of smartphones with this system, a method known from computers will work, which is repeatedly overwriting memory with random files. This completely prevents the possibility of recovering the correct data.

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