Security has always been concern for the mobile users and it has intensified with the revealing of NSA hovering over all the data currently floating around the internet. Well, most of us won’t give a dime to the thought of securing our data but many of us actually do. Today, we will clean our phones of any data and make sure that no one gets hang of it.
This is useful in many scenarios: one being you are throwing away your phone or gifting it to someone else and don’t want them to look at the data anyhow.
Other scenarios could include to intentionally deleting data that you think is too sensitive to keep, data like bank password, private photos.
The most popular OS used in the market today and yes that is Android. Android is one of the powerful OS for the mobile device we carry, it is more powerful when jail broken. But, be cautious jail breaking your Android phone can have much diverse effect like making your phone a brick or voiding the warranty of it.
Caution: The steps we discuss through could vary in your Android phone, as different manufacturers have different skins installed or might have a lot of jellybeans spoiled over.
Though, the general instructions remain same across different android devices.
The micron way of seeing things
MicroSD sits beside the phone, catching everything you throw on to it with ease until it gets full of course. If you are changing phone and the new phone has a microSD card slot, then just eject and insert is what you have to do. The only scenario that is left is when your new phone doesn’t have any microSD card. Then, you have to delete all the data from your MicroSD to be felt secure. Before, we proceed it is highly recommended to backup all your data.
- The first step includes connecting your phone to the computer using a USB cable. On Mac, this has to be done with Android File Transfer Application installed, before starting anything.
- Go to My Computer (PC) or Finder(Mac).
- Copy all your SD card information into your computer by creating a separate folder for it.
- Once done, unplug your phone.
The real game begins now
- Go to Settings > Storage on your phone.
- Get down to the bottom by scrolling and activate Erase SD Card. Warning messages will popup warning you that “all messages will be lost”.
- Again tap on Erase SD card to continue the process of cleaning your SD Card.
You might have to enter a password, if your phone is password protected. Enter PIN to continue the process.
Not so fast, anyone can still go through the microSD card and retrieve everything that you wished shouldn’t be there. This can be warded off by a simple technique called “layering”. Refill the microSD card with gibberish data and repeat the process N-1 times (repeat to your heart’s content).
In layman terms, complete wipe takes place when you are replace all old data with new ones. This looks like a lot to do, but is essential to complete the whole process.
Keep your data safe
There are chances that you may want to keep all your contacts intact and this can be done simply by synchronizing your phone with Google account. This is super-useful as it automatically backup your data.
To enable synchronization, do the following steps:
- Go to Settings > Backup & reset on your phone.
- Tick the option called “Back up my data”.
- Go back and scroll down to ACCOUNTS Press against Google.
- Your Google account will be shown with a green sync symbol next to it. Tap the account.
- Once the option is ticked, all your data including contacts, calendar etc. get automatically backed up by Google+.
- Complete the backup process by connecting your phone to the PC using the USB cable.
Be cautious though, some of your apps data can also be saved during the process. This is generally not a bad thing but sometimes can be unwanted.
The final step – Deleting Everything
After being completely sure that all your data is secure and backup, you can proceed to safely delete everything from your phone. Let’s go through the process.
Erase the SD card as explained above.
Caution: Doing a factory reset will does the job, but anyone with right tools can get back all your data. To overcome thing, we are going to do the following steps.
- Tap Encrypt phone by going to Settings > Security. This might take time so make sure the phone is fully charged or connecting to charger.
- Once completed, reset the phone.
- Now go to Setting > Backup and reset Press Factory data reset and then move to next screen and put a tick on Erase phone data.
- A warning screen will pop-up, tap reset phone to continue.
- The process will take some time, once done, the phone will reboot and ask you to choose language and sign-in all over again.
Yuppie! The phone is now free from any burden of data whatsoever.
Transferring data into new phone
This step is super easy and can be achieved by just inserting your microSD card within your phone. And you can also synchronize your new phone by just logging into your Google account.