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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger
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    Prepping an Android phone for safe disposal




    MOBILITY

    Prepping an Android phone for safe disposal


    By Fred Langa

    Most smartphones accumulate a trove of personal information about their owners, and much of that data is sensitive. As with our computers, before you dispose of a smartphone, the data it contains needs to be securely deleted.

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/top-story/prepping-an-android-phone-for-safe-disposal (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

  2. #2
    Lounger jdaw1's Avatar
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    Put it in a box of old things

    One small change to the phone-cleaning routine.

    Obey Fredís instructions. But recognise that you might have made an error. You might have failed, for whatever reason, to remove the data completely. So when it is all done, donít sell the phone. Donít give it away. Put it in a box of old things, and leave it there for a decade. If possible, separated from its battery.

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    3 Star Lounger Backspacer's Avatar
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    A friend, who used to work for Qualcomm, and I were sitting at the patio table looking at my wife's old Samsung Galaxy S2 and wondering about the best way to do this. We were also both curious what it would look like inside, so we dismantled it. Completely. When our curiosity was satisfied, we mashed the memory with 3# hammer and went our merry way. (Well, neither of us is particularly "merry" but it sounds good.)

    But it was a tedious process and I appreciate your simpler, gentler method. Also, her phone had problems, but I think a donated working phone can be re-issued to someone needy or bedridden.

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    Very helpful and thorough. But I found two of the "wipe" software packages disappointing, with no assurance that they'd done the job. One was a total failure; no matter what you did it would always say "nothing selected" - and it wanted you to buy the Pro version to do a useful job. So I was very glad of the encrypting step.

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    I thought Fred wrote a timely article, as I was just getting ready to donate an old Android phone.

    But there was one step I did not understand, and therefore skipped it. Fred said to encrypt the phone's contents with a password, and THEN do a factory reset, which eliminates the encryption key.

    So how can the person who receives the phone use it, if everything is encrypted, and the password on longer works?

    Harry

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    Silver Lounger wavy's Avatar
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    Because it is a factory RESET. Meaning its back to how it left the store or telecom.
    David

    Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.

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    2 Star Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by wavy View Post
    Because it is a factory RESET. Meaning its back to how it left the store or telecom.
    So if I had done the encryption step and then the reset, the phone would work just like a new one would--only there might be a small amount of memory used for whatever files I was not able to delete. Is that what you are saying?


    Harry

  8. #8
    Silver Lounger wavy's Avatar
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    Mostly that is my interpretation. The reset operation may differ based on the seller/manufacturer's firmware choices. I do not have access to the article so I do not know what was even said, I just wanted to give a quick answer. If you don't get a definitive answer here that satisfies you there are Android forums with very knowledgeable folk.
    Please post your findings here if you do...

    David

    Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.

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