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How to securely erase your Android device in 4 steps

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It’s an inevitable moment in the smartphone-owning cycle, the point at which a newer, shinier model comes along and your trusty old device is no longer needed.

Maybe your company bought you a new Android phone. Maybe your old one was getting too slow. Or maybe you just love electronics and couldn’t resist the lure of whatever sexy new Android device your favorite manufacturer started selling.

Whatever the case, 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 the best choice is to sell, donate, or otherwise pass it along.

Before you do so, though, you’ll want to be sure you’ve securely erased it and removed any traces of your past — because the last thing you’d want is for your phone’s new owner to resurface your personal or corporate data.

Follow the four steps below and you can let your Android device go without worry.

1. Make sure your Android device is encrypted

The biggest fear with wiping an Android device is the improbable but not impossible prospect of someone later using data recovery tools to find and assemble lingering bits of data.

That’s why the first and most important step in securely erasing your Android device is to make sure its local storage is encrypted. That way, even if your phone makes its way into the hands of a shady character — and even if said scoundrel is able to recover the data you’ve erased — your sensitive info will remain virtually unreadable.

If your phone is reasonably recent, it should almost certainly be encrypted by default. But if you’re getting rid of an older Android phone, it might not be. Either way, it’s worth double-checking to make sure.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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