When people decide to sell their phone, they often do an initial wipe to get rid of messages and photos, however, more often than not, they forget to do an intense cleanse and a lot of personal data is left on the phone. For instance in a recent research project, out of 15 smartphones that were bought second hand, 7 of them still contained personal data, including messages, photos, contact and downloaded data.
A lot of personal data that is stored on phones is not stored in an obvious place, so you need to make sure that you focus your attention on clearing data before sending off your device to its new owner. This is especially important if you are selling on your phone to someone via eBay or another private sale route, as this means that literally anyone will be able to have access to your personal data; seeing your messages, pictures and more.
A lot of people take confidence that their personal data will be cleared off their phone if they perform a factory reset, however, with some phones this process will not clear everything, so please keep this in mind. Others believe that their phone will be clean of personal information if they have removed the SIM and storage card, however, this is not the case; the phone itself has an internal memory too, which will also need to be wiped.
Always double check your device before send
With smartphones getting even cleverer, clearing data before sending off your device has become even more important because these phones can store large and important documentation that may not be immediately visible on the phone’s interface but when connected to a PC can suddenly appear. This can get people into a lot of trouble and even violate data protection laws.
If you think you’ve wiped the phone clean, check and then check again to make doubly sure. Most people, on receiving a phone that still has data on it, will be honest and either contact the seller to inform them of the data still being stored, or they will just delete it.
However, there will always be some people that try to use the personal information that they find in a negative way. For organisations this can cause all sorts of problems, especially if the data found has pricing information or competitor research and for individuals, it can also be very embarrassing if personal pictures or messages are found.
Recycling companies that your can trust
Whilst it is important that you spend time clearing data before sending off your device, it is not such a worry if you are selling your mobile phone onto recyclers. This is because mobile phone recycling companies are actually required by law to wipe and delete all data that is stored on any of the phones that they buy. Whilst this can provide some comfort to people who are selling their phones, it is still a good idea to wipe your phone so that there is literally nothing personal left on there.