Securely Delete Phone Data for Resell

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Yesterday a report released by the security company Avast shows that a typical factory reset on your phone does not remove all personal data. Of the 20 secondhand phones purchased for the study the company was able to retrieve more than 40,000 photos, 750 emails and text messages, a loan application, and other personal data.

Take these steps to ensure your data is destroyed before you sell or donate your old phone.

From Lifehacker, instructions on how to securely delete your personal data.

SIM Card:

• For all phones with SIM cards, remove and keep the card. If you do not need the card, physically destroy the card.
• If the card needs to stay with the phone, first erase and format the card to remove all personal data. Generally the existing SIM card is not required when turning in a used phone.

iPhone:

Settings > General > Reset > Erase all Content and Settings

Android*:

1. Encrypt the phone using the built in encryption software
2. Preform a factory reset

*Encrypting the phone will take some time depending on the size of the phone storage.

Blackberry and Microsoft:

1. Encrypt the phone using the built in encryption software
2. Preform a factory reset

Note: No process is 100% guaranteed to make all your data unrecoverable. If you are worried that your data may be recovered do not resell or donate your phone.

Related Information:

Lifehacker: How Do I Securely Erase My Phone Before I Sell It?

ConsumerReports: Avoid ID theft and protect personal data when getting rid of a gadget

Image credit: Flickr – Vincent Lee

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