While the recent idea of donating, recycling and trading old cell phones is a great way of keeping these electronic devices out of our city's landfills and garbage dumps, cell phone users should take care that they are not giving away any of their personal information, or the information of their friends, when trying to take care of their outdated phone in a responsible and eco-friendly manner.
If you're an Android user, you may have been fooled into thinking the generic factory reset option is enough to wipe the sensitive data off from your phone. However, this is incorrect. In some cases, determined hackers are still able to access old data from an Android phone that has undergone the generic factory reset process.
For those who want to ensure their data is completely gone before giving that old Android phone away, follow the tips and techniques outlined below.
Once you've decided that you'll be donating, recycling or trading your old phone in lieu of a brand new device, the first thing you should do is encrypt the data that is currently on the phone. This is done by accessing the Settings menu within your phone, tapping on Security and then choosing either Screen Lock or Encrypt Device, demanding on your exact device. This will prompt you to create a password or PIN before proceeding with the encryption process.
Perform a Hard Reset
After the encryption process is completed, it's time to perform a hard reset on your Android phone. The exact method to do this depends on the specific phone and operating system you are using, so you'll have to do an Internet search to figure out how to start this process on your device. It is a rather straightforward process, however, and is usually performed in a manner that is similar to the process of encrypting your data, which is outlined above.
Remove the Memory Card
The final step in the process is to remove the physical memory card from the phone itself. If you don't follow any of the other steps outlined in this article, you should at least make sure to pay attention to this one.
Because each Android device is different, the process of removing the memory card varies between phones. If you can remove the back cover of your phone, there's a good chance the memory card will be located either next to or underneath the phone's SIM card. Other phones house the memory card within a sliding tray along one of the edges, which is usually accessed by sliding a narrow pin or paper clip into a tiny hole on the side of the phone.
To be completely and totally honest, there really is no foolproof way of preventing hackers and malicious computer users from accessing your data if they are truly determined. However, by following the steps described above, you can minimize the risk and greatly reduce your chances of falling victim to identity theft in the 21st century.
Safeguard The Data in Your Outdated Android
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