So You Are Selling Your Old Phone. Are You Sure All Your Data Is Permanently Erased?
So you got yourself a new phone or are looking for a new phone. And if you’ve decided to make a few extra bucks by selling your old one – good for you. But as your phone is on its way to the new owner – are you sure that you have completely erased all your private data off it? After al,l the thought that someone may be quietly going through all your swimsuit sellfies may be quite embarrassing.
“What are you talking about? I have reset my device before selling it!” – you may reasonably think. But the question is this: does deleting your data from the phone make it unrecoverable?
This question was answered not too long ago by a small, yet scary experiment, held by Avast Security. In one of their blogs, Avast “boasted” having recovered over 40 000 photos (among them women’s and men’s selfies in various stages of undress), 1000 Google searches, 750 emails and text messages, 250 contact names and addresses and MORE from 20 used phones purchased over Ebay. So the questions is – how is that possible? And what can we do to not let that happen to us?
The truth is there are plenty of applications out there that can recover deleted data from your phone’s memory. When you delete a file from your phone, you will see that the space has freed up and can be used to store new information. However, until that new information has made it there, the data remains in Nand Flash storage and can be recovered if such effort is made.
What it means in simple terms is that if you want to delete your files permanently – you will have to reset your device, load it up with some unspecific and unimportant data and reset it again. That should get the task accomplished – but it sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it?
The faster way to do it is to encrypt your data. No, this is not something from a Dan Brown novel, but simply one of the options in your Security Settings. So before you restore your device, head over to Security Settings and tap “Encrypt”. This way, if someone does make an effort to restore your data, all they will find will find is a bunch of letters and symbols.
So when you are selling your next phone, don’t hesitate to take a few extra precautions to make sure that your personal data stays within the sight of one person – you.
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