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.
But a quick reformat or factory reset of the phone isn’t enough; your data — especially sensitive information such as passwords, usernames, and account information — must be thoroughly wiped. It must be completely unrecoverable.
For Android phone users, the following steps, some of which use familiar Windows tools and procedures, will help ensure that your personal files, texts, emails, contact info, music, photos, and so forth won’t fall into the wrong hands when you sell, trade-in, donate, or otherwise discard your no-longer-wanted hardware.
Step 1: Back up the phone’s user files
Your smartphone probably contains a lot more personal data than you realize. One independent study by the Ponemon Institute sets the average value of a phone’s data at $14,000!
The tangible assets include banking and credit-card credentials plus those items you’ve paid for such as software, music, books, and movies. But there’s also the value of photos, contact lists, miscellaneous information, and so on.