With Christmas just around the corner, and the possibility of replacing your existing device with a shiny new one, you need to ensure that your old device doesn't contain any sensitive information that may be recoverable.

Every year, thousands of people receive new phones for Christmas ... and they generally just swap the SIM over, and setup the new phone - but be wary - data may be recoverable on your old phone ..

Wiping an Android device isn't difficult, but there are some critical steps you don't want to overlook

Whatever the reason for swapping your old phone for a shiny new one, it’s common nowadays to find yourself with an extra phone. And while there are plenty of practical uses for an old Android device, there’s also a time when you will pass the device along (to freinds, family or charity).

Before you do this, you’ll want to be sure that you’ve securely erased it and removed any traces of you – because the last thing you need is to have your device re-appear with personal or corporate data on it.

Follow these four steps, and you can let your Android device go without worry.

  1. Make sure that your Android device is encrypted

The biggest fear with wiping an Android device is the possibility of someone later using data recovery tools to find and assemble any lingering bits of data.

The first and most important step in securely erasing your Android device is to Encrypt its local storage. That way, even if your phone does make it's way into the hands of a dodgy character – your sensitive info will remain virtually unreadable.

If your phone is relatively recent, there’s a good chance it’s already encrypted by default. But it’s worth double-checking to make sure.

Go to System Settings - Security, and look for the option labelled Encryption. There, you will be able to find out if your device is already encrypted - if it's not then we recommend that you start the encryption now.

Be warned that the actual encryption process may take a while, and you won’t be able to use your device while the process is under way. Once it’s done, though, you can rest easy knowing your data has a powerful layer of protection from prying eyes in the unlikely event that it’s even  recovered.

  1. Remove your SIM card and any storage cards

Now that your device is encrypted, and your data is secure, take a moment to confirm that your carrier-issued SIM card and any external memory cards are removed from your device. 

  1. Perform a factory reset to fully erase your device

This part is the actual wipe of your Android phone: Go back into the system settings and look for a section called Backup & Reset. If you don’t see that, try opening the System section and then look for either Backup & Reset or just Reset.

Find and select the option to perform a factory data reset and select any subsequent options to erase all types of data and accounts. The system will likely give you a confirmation screen or two and then ask you to input your PIN, pattern, or password for protection. Complete all those tasks, then sit back and wait while Android does its work.

  1. Remove any remaining account associations

Finally, take the time to manually remove the phone from your Google account and any other accounts that might be associated with it.

Once all this is done, you can rest easy that your device is secure, and that no personal data remains on it ..

 

Enjoy your new phone!!

 

 

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