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How to securely wipe data on your Android smartphone before selling

When selling your smartphone or tablet, ensure that the data is erased, not just formatted.

android factory reset data

While buying a new smartphone, most of us end up selling our old smartphone or a tablet to save on some money. That’s probably a good idea if it’s just going to lie around your home. Online service providers such as Cashify let you enter a few details about the smartphone, and pay you in cash. However, there is one important thing most people tend to forget when selling their old devices – and it could potentially put your personal data at risk.

Even when a device is formatted, hackers or cybercriminals can use recognized software data tools to restore your personal data. There is also a risk of your data bring passed on to the buyers who purchase second-hand devices.

How to securely wipe your Android smartphone

Google had made changes to its operating system, and devices running Android 6.0 Marshmallow and above are encrypted by default. However, if you own a smartphone that runs Android 5.1 Lollipop OS or lower, you will have first encrypt it, and then wipe it.

On your Android smartphone, head over to Settings > Security > Encrypt phone. Depending on the smartphone manufacturer, the menu options may be different. For instance, on Google Pixel or Nexus smartphones, you will find the option under Settings > Security & Location. Similarly, in case of Samsung smartphones, the option will be under Settings > Lock screen and Security > Encrypt phone.

I checked for the option on a Google Pixel XL and Samsung Galaxy Note 8, and both were encrypted by default. If you own a smartphone that runs an outdated operating system, then the above step is a must.

Login to each app such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram among others, and sign out manually. Then head over to Settings > Accounts and sign out of your Google and all other accounts. Once that is done, you can head over to Settings > System > Reset options > Erase all data on your Pixel or Nexus smartphone.

Similarly, on a Samsung smartphone, you can head over to Settings > General management > Reset > Factory data reset. In case of Xiaomi, the option is available under Settings > Additional Settings > Backup & Reset > Factory data reset. OnePlus, on the other hand, has the option under Settings > Backup & Reset > Factory data reset. Lastly, in case of Honor smartphones, you would find the option under Settings > System > Reset > Factory data reset.

Following the above steps is one way to ensure that your smartphone data is securely wiped before selling it. In case you have any doubts about the process, do let us know in the comment section below. We’d be happy to help.

  • Published Date: December 26, 2017 12:57 PM IST