Is resetting to the factory settings for smartphones harmful?
Securely delete data: resetting your phone is not enough
Table of Contents
Do you want to sell your discarded Android smartphone or iOS device on eBay? Nothing easier than that. But before selling, you should delete your data from your mobile phone. Resetting the smartphone is far from over. You don't have to be a hacker to restore "deleted" files like photos and videos.
Therefore, deleted data can be recovered
Today's operating systems are clever. In order not to waste resources, areas on which data has already been saved are released for reuse when they are deleted. The “reset to factory settings” function known from smartphones simultaneously deletes all private data in the device memory - such as the link to the Apple or Google account, photos, addresses and the downloaded apps. None of these need to be removed individually.
There is one big but. Whether Android smartphone, iPhone or tablet, whether HDD or SSD hard drive: the function deletes the table of contents, i.e. the references and names of the data in the operating system, very quickly, but not the actual data.
In this way, supposedly deleted files can be restored
The deletion is only carried out very superficially. As long as this “theoretically deleted” data is not overwritten, it is retained - there is no time limit. Years later, photos and videos can still be retrieved from the digital realm of the dead. And you don't have to be a professional for that. Free programs like Recuva or Wondershare Data Recovery (Recoverit) scan data carriers and restore deleted data quickly and easily.
Securely delete data: that's how it works with Android
- Secure data: Make a backup of your Android smartphone before deleting and resetting to factory settings.
- Install the delete app: Install an app like "Shreddit - Data Eraser" or "iShredder" from the Google Play Store. However, do not start the application at this point.
- Delete all account links: In the settings of the smartphone, tap the menu item "Users & Accounts". Depending on the smartphone model, it can also be named "Accounts", "User" or "Accounts & Synchronize". Log out or delete any account you can find here. First of all, you need to delete your Google account. Otherwise, your smartphone will remain linked to your account despite the deletion of data and a factory reset. The new owner will then have to enter your email address and password when setting up the smartphone. And you shouldn't pass this on under any circumstances.
- Disable auto recovery: In the settings, tap on the "Backup and restore" menu item and deactivate the "Automatic restore" option.
- Delete data from the smartphone using the delete app: Now start the app installed in point 2 and use it to delete the data and files from your smartphone.
- Reset to factory settings: You can now reset your smartphone. This is also done in the settings of the device. The mobile phone then restarts and is in the delivery status.
Securely delete data: This is how it works with the iPhone
iPhone users have it easy. Apple smartphones are considered so secure by experts that even the FBI has problems getting encrypted data. Apple ships the iPhone with encrypted storage as standard. This ensures that the memories of the iPhone and iPad are automatically filled to the brim with random data.
Resetting the iPhone to factory settings is sufficient. And that's done in no time. In the iOS settings, tap on “General” → “Reset” → “Erase all content and settings”.
However, there is one point you should pay attention to before: switch off the tracking. Otherwise, the new owner has no way of registering the device under their own Apple ID. To do this, tap in the settings on "Accounts & Passwords" → "iCloud" → "Find my iPhone" and deactivate this option.
Cell phone display defective - save and delete data
Has your smartphone fallen over and the display is defective? The device can no longer be operated? Whether you are giving it for repair or selling it as a spare part - it is advisable to save and delete the private data on it beforehand.
There are several ways you can get your pictures and contacts and rescue your data. The process does not last long and does not require any specialist knowledge.
In the best case scenario, you have always synchronized your personal data via the cloud. This means that phone numbers, photos, videos and chat histories are saved on WhatsApp. Otherwise, you can connect your mobile phone to your computer and drag all relevant data from the phone memory and the microSD card to the PC or laptop. For example, the DCIM folder contains photos and videos, and the Downloads folder contains all downloaded files.
Now there are several ways to delete the data from the cell phone. With the "Android Device Manager" data can be deleted remotely. This works via the computer, provided this option is activated on your smartphone.
If you do not have this option, you can still reset your smartphone to the factory settings. Normally, the so-called factory reset can be found in the settings under "Backup & reset". Since you can't see anything anymore due to the cracked display, you can do this blindly.
To do this, you have to shut down the smartphone using a hard reset (press the on / off button for about 8 seconds). Then, before the smartphone starts up again, you have to press the on / off button together with the volume at the same time to start the bootloader. In the bootloader, use the volume button to navigate to "Wipe data" or "Wipe data / Factory Reset" and confirm with the on / off switch. The position at which the "Wipe Data" option is located cannot be generally stated and depends on the manufacturer. Then you have to confirm this entry again.
iPhone users do a similar thing. After the data has been backed up by an iOS backup using iTunes or iCloud, the "Erase iPhone" or "Erase iPad" function can be selected at the same point.
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