How to Completely Wipe Your Android Phone

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Since I tend to tend to have a little paranoia at the best of times, before returning them to Motorola I wiped everything off the Moto G4 and G4 Plus that had been recently tested by me. As a result here’s a tutorial on how to wipe an Android phone, but keep in mind the slants going to be a little different – it’s going to have my over cautious paranoia voice showing through.

This tutorial, adds a step, that I believe is critical to you being able to wipe your Android device safely, because there could be an evil entity that extracts your personal information from Android phones lost, stolen, or discarded, and then sold on Ebay or Craig’s List. Perhaps that’s not quite true, but I don’t want to find out.

These instructions for wiping your android correct a flaw that exists in the majority of wipe procedures. The majority of people use a four-digit numerical PIN for locking up your phone. This PIN is also the same password that is used to encrypt the phone’s data. And for people like me who change their passwords regularly with two-factor authentication, that’s not good enough. The trouble it is easy to crack a four digit password. It takes just around 10,000 guesses to be tried before you find the right one, and it won’t take much more than a half hour, that is dependent on the computing resources applicable to the guessing the password.

How to erase the hidden files

Erase data on Android

First thing you need to reset the device Go to settings, select backup and reset. Then confirm you wish to erase all your data.

When the Android device returns to the setup screen, (the screen you first seen when you bought your phone). Now go through the setup process, and remove unnecessary actions like recovering apps from Google backup or adding email accounts. This will save you time.

When the setup dialog asks for you to select a screen lock, choose the password option. This is the key part of wiping the Android device securely. Use a site like Norton’s Identity Safe to generate a 16-character password, which will look something like this; Pc]Y)r%{+3dh9BAH. Print the password so you don’t make a mistake a little later in the wiping of the device process.

The reason you want to generate such a long and complex password is to increase the amount of time it will take for a hacker to guess the four-digit PIN – instead of 30-minuts it will take 100 years.

For your lock screen, use a long complex password

Set lock screen password on Android

The password generated is not one you are going to remember, such as your birth date, phone number, or your significant other’s name. The special characters, numbers, and uppercase/lowercase letters must be entered precisely the first time and precisely the second time to confirm you have entered it correctly while you set the device’s password.

Now you have plug your device into a power source. Return to the settings menu. If your chose screen locked, then you need to enter the password again. Choose Security from the settings menu, and now select encrypt phone, and again you will enter the password, carefully. Choose encrypt, enter the new, long difficult to guess password, which will re-encrypt the storage. This takes about an hour.

Finally, you will return to the settings menu, and choose Backup & reset, then choose Factory data reset, and now you’ll enter the long password for a final time.

Now the phone is ready to be sold, discarded, returned to the manufacturer, or given away.