Tips&TricksEnsuring data safety: Why you should wipe your phone before disposal

Ensuring data safety: Why you should wipe your phone before disposal

How to clear memory in an old phone?
How to clear memory in an old phone?
Images source: © Getty Images | tolgart
12:36 PM EST, February 9, 2024

On average, a smartphone user replaces their device every three years. With operating systems becoming outdated, cameras wearing out, and other possible issues, a device may need to be replaced. While the e-waste bin is an environmentally friendly disposal method, remember to properly prepare your device for disposal. Even if it's irreparably damaged, without certain precautions, your data could be stolen, spelling disaster for you.

Why it's necessary to wipe the phone's data before disposal

Most people today are knowledgeable about cybercrime. Thus, they're cautious about giving out personal information, including email addresses and phone numbers. However, despite attempts to prevent data theft, a simple oversight can make you vulnerable. Discarding a phone that hasn't been thoroughly wiped of data can unintentionally lead to data theft. Merely logging out and deleting files does not suffice.

Phone data usually isn't encrypted, making it easy to recover. If someone retrieves your data, they could use it illicitly. In the worst-case scenario, they could incur debt in your name or access your private correspondence. To prevent this, ensure that you restore the phone to its factory settings, this will guarantee the deletion of all files from your phone memory. Consequently, your wiped phone will be rendered useless, freeing you of anxiety over data theft.

Cleaning the memory of a damaged phone

What if your phone is irreparably damaged, and you can't boot it up to wipe the memory? Even if the phone seems useless, chances are the internal disk remains functional. The phone may not be working, but data recovery is still possible. In this case, consider visiting a phone service center. For a small fee ($5-$7.5), a specialist will remove and destroy the disk before your eyes.

The likelihood of someone trying to recover data from your old phone may be slim, but it's not guaranteed. To be safe, using the factory reset function is advisable. This feature is accessible in every phone's settings. It's better not to take chances as the potential cost of negligence could be significant. If someone fraudulently uses your data, pleading ignorance about data cleaning won't help.

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