People are excited about migrating to a brand new iPhone or Android phone. But, often they ignore the importance of a secure wipe of their device’s storage after performing factory data reset before selling/recycling it.
When & Why Should You Perform Factory Data Reset?
Factory data reset often performed when you are selling it or it has a lagging performance. Assume, if your phone gets into shady hands, there is a possibility even if you erased all data from your phone still some advanced data recovery tools can recover bits of data and make it virtually readable.
There is an option to wipe your personal data from the lost/stolen phone remotely, which will discuss further in the article.
People also often reset their phone when it becomes lagging and hangs while using apps.
What Should You Know Before Performing Factory Data Reset?
You must that performing a factory data reset will not completely erase all the data from the device, it requires a ‘secure wipe’ to completely remove your personal information from the device.
It will also retain the previous logged in email id in part of the “Factory Reset Protection (FRP)” feature, which prevents the device from resetting and being used by untrusted parties.
Why is it Important to Securely Wipe Your Phone’s Storage?
Experts say, “your personal data can be retrieved even if you have factory reset your phone. Information such as your emails ids, credit cards, banking, photos, videos, and other personal data that was stored in your phone’s internal storage.”
All those data can be easily exploited with advanced data recovery tools if your phone gets in the wrong hands. “So, you MUST SECURELY WIPE your old phone before selling it instead of just performing a factory data reset” – recommends experts.
What if You Lost Your Phone or it has Been Stolen?
Well, Android’s security is not up to that mark when comparing to iPhone. People can still get through the security barriers to access their personal data in case of a lost or stolen phone.
Still, you can reset your phone remotely, while you have no physical access to it.
How to Prepare Your Smartphone for Factory Reset?
Note: Sequences or settings will vary depending on the device model, location, and the Android version it runs, please try searching for particular terms in device settings or refer to the devise manual.
Disable Factory Reset Protection:
Factory reset protection (FRP) is introduced in Android 5.1 and later versions, which will prevent the devices from being used in untrusted environments. Disabling FRP is simple, it will be automatically disabled by resetting the phone from the settings menu unless your manufacturer has built an extra layer of protection.
However, you just need to head to the accounts menu from the settings and remove your Google accounts. Also, disable the ‘Find my Phone’ option from the security settings.
To remove a Google account from an Android phone, go to Settings > User & Accounts > select your account > Remove Account.
Backup Your Android Phone:
Most devices will automatically sync/backup critical information to your Google account. Don’t forget to make sure that all synchronized and backup settings are properly configured and working.
There much more things to backup, including messages, call log, settings, app data, other personal files, and folders. All these can automatically be backed up if you perfectly configured all the settings.
Go to Setting > System > Backup, find Google account, choose an account, play around with settings if you want and tap on ‘Back up’.
Go to Settings > User & Accounts > select your account > Account Sync, Make sure ‘Sync’ is enabled for all the data you want, tap on the three dots menu, and click on sync now.
Make sure all your accounts up to date synchronized, so they can restore the most recent data when you logged back from a new device.
Android backup tips:
- To backup sensitive data from your phone’s storage, configure Google Drive settings to back up your choice of folders from the device’s storage.
- For all your photos and videos configure settings from the Google Photos app, there is a free unlimited storage option for high-quality images until June-2021. Later on, all the images and videos will be stored in standard 15GB space which will come with a free Google account.
- For all other app-specific backup go to the concern app setting for back options.
- If you have a large file (usually in Gigabytes) and you want to backup to your PC. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to wireless back up large files from Android to PC.
Just assume that a bad guy recovered your data from a lost/stolen phone but still he can’t access/read it because you have encrypted all your data. This is how data encryption plays a vital role in data protection.
Go to Settings > Security & Location > Encryption & Credentials > Encryption and make sure your device is encrypted.
How to Factory Reset Your Android Phone?
Resetting an Android is simple if you’ve remembered your Google account credentials. If you forgot your credentials please head to the Google account recovery tool to reset your password.
Resetting Your Phone to Factory Data:
Go to setting > System > Reset options > ‘Erase all data’ or ‘factory reset’ and tap on the ‘Reset Phone’ button.
In case, if you want to format your SD card as well, tick the ‘Erase SD card’ box before going to factory reset your phone.
If your phone is ‘Factory Reset Protected’ it will ask for your Google account credentials to proceed further. By providing your Google account credentials your phone ‘Factory Reset Protection (FRP)’ will be disabled.
How to Secure Wipe Android Device?
Well, you have backed up all the data, encrypting your phone, and factory reset done, it’s not the end. To ensure personal and professional data privacy, you need to take a few more steps.
This is where you need to be a bit cautious. Now login with your Google account and set up your device as a new one. But, “DO NOT OPT FOR RESTORE FROM BACKUP AND DO NOT ENABLE SYNC” this time.
Feeding Junk Data:
The best way to fill your device with junk data is to stuff it with old movies or record a high-resolution blank video until the device’s storage gets full.
Well, now repeat the process again, reset, login, and fill with junk data at least 2 more times.
How to Wipe Android Phone Remotely?
Note: To wipe the phone remotely, the ‘Find My Device’ option has to be enabled on your phone.
Now go to https://www.google.com/android/find, and log in with the credentials that you used to login to your device. There you can see all the devices list if you have logged in to multiple devices with the same account.
Now tap on the ‘Erase Device’ option and proceed with authentication using your account credentials. You can feed lost/stolen devices with junk data, but the ‘Erase Device’ option will securely wipe your device.
Note: Also, there is an option to show the device’s location, remote backup, device locking, and can also ring the device too. Just play around with the options and find what can you do to your phone.
Most people think that after performing a factory reset on their Android phone, their data will be completely deleted and it is impossible to access. But, this is not true, there are chances to recover data even after doing a factory reset.
Thanks for reading, keep sharing. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more updates from techlurn. Let us know your opinions in the comments section.