How to Completely Wipe An Android Phone!

The internet access and thousands of applications must be on the top of your list among the number of ways to distract you from work. But, honestly, would you blame only smartphones for distracting you or keeping you from your work? Because, if you look objectively, smartphones serve as one of the key devices to help increase your productivity. You can schedule appointments, manage tasks, set reminders and do a lot more through your smartphone, on the go. One great example is BlackBerry Hub that gives the phone a productivity boost, whether it’s integrating all your email, text and social messages into one place or giving you a really smart Calendar. It makes sure that doing stuff on your smartphone is effortless and really smart, therefore, increasing your productivity dramatically. Here are five useful tips to help you tap into your smartphone's productivity power: Note down THAT idea now: Keep track of your to-do lists or your bucket list, make notes for a presentation or action items from a meeting, all on your smartphone, anytime, anywhere. Suddenly hit up with that great idea? Just note it down on your phone. Some phones also offer features that synchronize your notes with Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Outlook. So you can shoot these ideas when you believe you are ready to. Smoothen the process: Make use of applications such as launcher that turn multi-step actions like sending an email or calling a friend into a one-click task. It lets you organize apps, widgets, and shortcuts on customized home screen panels for instant access. You can view any application widget by simply swiping up or down across the icon on your home screen, giving you fast access to the information you need, whenever you need it. BlackBerry Hub is another great feature that BlackBerry devices offer, it integrates all your email, text and social messages into one place. This unified inbox is an irreplaceable tool for consolidating all of your messages in one place – whether it’s email, calendar, social or phone calls. Collaborate without worrying about security and privacy: Handing memos to co-workers is a thing of the past and should stay there. We live in a hyper-connected world, with a propensity for instant access to information and things. Smartphones come in handy for sending texts, voice, video or having a group chat. However, this also imposes severe privacy and security vulnerabilities on the individuals and the organization. Therefore, security-conscious individuals and organizations consider BBM, which is complete instant messaging platform and meets regulatory compliance standards, protecting data with a high level of encryption from end-to-end (in transit and at rest) across Android™, iOS, Windows®, and macOS. Meetings and Calendar: Your smartphone can help you schedule a meeting and also act as a reminder. Moreover, for example, when you use a calendar on your Blackberry phone, you don't have to worry about double booking. When you create or change events, you can avoid double bookings by viewing if you’re busy. Using the Join Now feature, you can instantly dial into your meetings directly from your event reminder. Isn't that like having a personal assistant on the go? Stay focused: Sometimes, all you need is to give deadlines to yourself and set reminders to get the work done. And what could act as a better reminder than your smartphones that stays with you almost 24*7. Blackberry Task is an interesting feature that will increase your efficiency at work by creating tasks, and setting due dates and reminders to help you stay focused and meet your deadlines. You will receive notifications for upcoming tasks. It also syncs recurring tasks, due dates, and reminders. So go on and get the work done. You can either blame all evil in the world on smartphones, new technologies, and internet or you can make use of these to enhance your productivity and simplify your work-life and beyond. The options are available and the choice is yours!

It is always a good idea to wipe off your smartphone thoroughly before considering selling it or even giving it away to a friend. Contrary to the popular belief, the traditional data reset does not do the trick completely, leaving all your data under the danger of recovery and misuse of information. In spite of the data being hidden after the reset, there are still means of recovering the same and tools by which the information can be easily withdrawn.
A study from the desks of the popular security firm, Avast carried out the purchase of twenty old smartphones from eBay to see how far they could go on to prove this point – the results were drastic as they were able to recover over 40,000 photos, emails, contacts, text messages and even the names & other personal information about the device owners. This is when you realize exactly how vital it is to get rid of your existing data before lending, selling or even considering getting rid of your android phone.

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It is not that difficult to figure out how Avast was able to recover the files that were assumed to be deleted and gone. What OS does is delete the pointers on the table only to mark the space taken by the file as now free. The truth however tells you that the file still does exist and very much exists so on the device storage.

As you keep adding data to your phone, the system gets the new data to somehow overwrite the existing data. But the entire thing will still be on your phone as soon as you format the device. Considering the fact that you go on to sell this phone to a stranger – that could be a major problem since all your data can very much, be extracted by this person. And not just that – to add to the horror this can be done quite easily with free existing data recovery software. Ever come across forums bombarded with queries such as “How to clean my Android Phone?”, “How to clean Android Phone?”, “How to Properly Format my Android Phone?”, “How to properly wipe the phone’s data?” and many more alike? Well, this is why.

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That should be put to rest now that we have come up with a post that tells you how – yes, this post will tell you how you can assuredly remove all your private data from your Android phones. Before we jump right to wiping off data, it is only wise to be familiar with encryption on your device. In case you are already not using the Encrypt, be sure to first Encrypt your phone before executing the hard reset on your device.

Step 1: Encrypt your Phone

 Encrypt your PhoneAndroid phones ideally come with the Encrypt option. Post encryption, nothing changes in terms of the functionality of your mobile applications or device in general. But the catch is that the guys looking to retrieve information off your device can do practically nothing with it. Of course, if you are an existing Encrypt user, you can jump on to the ‘Factory reset the phone’ section of this post.

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You will have to go to Settings and select Security in order to Encrypt your Android device. This part will take you to the Encrypt Phone option. Most Android phones have this and it shouldn’t be very difficult to get through.

Step 2: Factory Reset the Phone

The next step in order is to pull through the Factory reset. In order to do that, you need to Go to Settings > Backup & reset > Factory data reset and then press click Reset phone or Reset device.

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Once this is done, your phone is completely rid of all your private data and whatever data can still be recovered will only be encrypted, thus useless for any other individual. This makes your device entirely safe for selling or lending.

Step 3: Overwriting with Junk data (Not Necessary)

If you are still not convinced, here’s another step you can try out to make sure that your data is safe. Although, this isn’t exactly required post encryption of the data but if you are still going for it –

What you can do is, overwrite your encrypted data with junk data. As mentioned earlier, once you perform reset, OS only deletes the pointers in file table and new data overwrites the existing data, over time. Now, to do this you would need to physically transfer the junk data in the phone to alternate your encrypted data that still lingers somewhere on the device.

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If you are doing this, you should use long videos to fill up more space on the device. Your aim should be to fill up the storage to a deep limit. Once you are done piling up junk data, you are all set to push on the Factory reset again. After two factory resets, it is safe to assume that now only the junk data remains that too encrypted. Which means, the unlucky person who ever tries to divulge data from this device, will have a hard time trying to get to nothing, in the end.

Step 4: Use third-party apps to delete the data.

Junk Cleaner - Cleanup Your Android deviceSome applications do allow you to remove your private data from your smartphones before selling them out. Security company Avast, itself offers Avast Anti-theft app, which is a free application available at Play Store. All that needs to be done now is to install the app and turn on the thorough wipe feature within it.

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Once done, Log in to your My Avast account from a desktop and wipe off your phone. This should be good enough as it will remove and tape over all your personal data saved on your mobiles.

Final Words

Evident as it now is – it is beyond important to carefully remove data off your sets before you decide on selling, lending or even giving them away for the sake of it. Most personal pictures and videos are leaked on the internet through recovered data of sold devices. It is crucial to be alert. Now, we may all have sold devices in the past without being very careful but care needs to be taken in the future. Once again, please do be alert. If need be, bookmark this post for future references.

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Also, please do not forget to let your friends, family and colleagues know of the methods discussed here. Share this article with everybody you know so we all know how to accurately wipe off our Android smartphones before selling them to strangers.

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By Amrita Chanda

Amrita Chanda is yet another human in search of the light at the end of the tunnel. Writer by day, Humorist by virtue of being - Amrita, enjoys loud laughs and good pizza (on a loop). Drop by for some techniblogic you guys and life will never be the same.. Kidding. Life will probably still be the same but with better gadgets. Stay tuned.

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