How To Fully Delete Data From An Android Before Disposing It Of?

  • Posted on: 25 April 2017
  • By: sasi

Normal deletion of files does not completely delete them from the device. Data recovery tools can undelete a deleted file. You can reduce the chances of your data falling into unscrupulous hands when you dispose of your device.

  • Step I: Factory Reset
  • Step II: Overwrite using dummy data
  • Step III (Optional): Test with a data recovery app
  • Step IV: Encrypt data

Step I: Factory Reset

It deletes all app data and files. It restores the device to manufacturer settings.

Go to Settings>>Backup & Reset>>Factory data Reset>>Reset Phone

Detailed post: How To Reset An Android Tablet Or Phone To Its Factory Settings?

Step II: Overwrite using dummy data

Files that you normally delete are only hidden from your view and not actually deleted from the hardware. Those files can only be deleted when new files overwrite them.

Fill your phone with dummy files until no storage space is left. These files will overwrite the previously deleted data. A few large videos and games can do the trick.

Step III (Optional): Test with a data recovery app

If you know how to root your phone, install a data recovery app from Google Play and see if you are able to recover any old data. If you are able to recover old data, then you should repeat the above steps.

Repeat the above steps to reduce any chance of data still lurking in the hardware.

Step IV: Encrypt Data

Android encryption scrambles the data in your phone which can be viewed only with a decrypt password. Even if a thief is able to access your data, it makes no sense to him without the password.

First, set a screenlock for your Android.
Go Settings>>Security>>Screenlock.
Set a PIN, Password or Pattern lock. Note: Encryption provides no security without a screenlock.
Detailed post on Screenlock: Pattern, Pin and Password Screenlocks

After creating the screenlock, it is time to encrypt the phone
Go to Settings>>Security>>Encrypt phone
Full post on Encryption: How to Encrypt an Android Phone or Tablet for Better Security?

Your turn. What steps do you take before disposing of your phone?