Trading in smartphones has become much more popular over the years due to the skyrocketing prices of new models. But, before you trade in your phone you must ensure your personal data has been correctly erased.
In this video blog, we show you how to do that.
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Hi, it’s Mikey here from Ontrack data recovery. In this video, we’re going to talk about getting rid of data from old phones because nowadays most of us own a smartphone but most us probably don’t know what to do when it comes to getting rid of it when you get a new one. It doesn’t matter if you’re on a contract or if you bought your phone outright. If you give the phone back to your network provides it or you’re selling it on a secondhand auction site you want to make sure that your data is gone so that no one else has access to it when they buy it off you. You don’t want to give it back to your provider with your videos, pictures, messages or even banking details still on them. Ensuring people don’t find them if essential, so you want to make sure that the data on your phone is wiped correctly, so in this video, we’re going to show you how to do that.
Okay, so we’re gonna break it down in four simple steps. So step one, you’ve got to remove your SIM card. Now it sounds really simple but if you’re giving your sim card but it does have some information on it like call logs there, contacts and even some texts, so you really want don’t want people to be able to see those. If you are getting a new sim or changing providers, just make sure when you do get rid of your old phone you remove your sim card.
Step 2 is to remove any external storage like a micro SD card. If you’re an Apple user you can skip this step. If you have an Android phone the chances are that you have an external slot for a micro SD card and that’s where you will find all of your personal data. So you want to make sure it’s out before you sell as it’s very easy to forget that there’s something in there as it probably would have been in there a long time. Once you’ve taken out the micro SD it can be transferred to your new phone. If you want to wipe it clean, you can plug it into your computer and do a full format of the card. A quick format is not going to work as it’s quite easy to get data back from a quick format – that’s something our engineers do here every day for customers that have formatted their cards accidentally.
Step 3 is to turn on device encryption. Again, if you’re an Apple user you can skip this step. If you’re an Android user what you can do is go into the settings of your phone and you can turn on device encryption. This will encrypt all of the contents of your phone storage using a passcode that you set, so no one can access your phone without your credentials. What you can then do is factory reset your Android phone if you’re looking to completely get rid of the data and it will throw away that key that you set – the password or PIN – when you do the factory reset, which means no one can access the data, not even a recovery professional. It’s worth mentioning that Apple has that encryption built into its modern phones, so that’s why Apple users don’t have to worry about that step.
The final step is to wipe your device so if you were an Android user like we said before because you’ve had that device encryption enabled you can now go ahead and factory reset your phone safe in the knowledge that no one’s going to be able to recover anything afterward. Apple users, what you can do is go into your settings and choose the erase all content and that’s going to get rid of all the information on your phone and the hardware encryption that’s built-in on Apple devices, it’s going to keep you safe from being able to get that data back by anybody else once you’ve sold that phone or you passed it back to your network provider. Okay, so once you’ve done all of those steps you can now be pretty sure that as a personal user no one is going to be able to get your data back, not even a data recovery professional. If you are a company user or you’ve got a company phone or tablet you really want to be talking to your company about what their policy is for erasing different types of devices.
Mikey has been with Ontrack for 6 years and is the Partner Program Manager, based out of the Epsom, UK office. He is a regular contributor to the Ontrack blog, usually writing about how different types of data storage technologies work. Outside of work you’ll find him either with a guitar in his hands or learning about rocket science.