Wiping an Android Doesn't Remove All Your Personal Data

If you're passing on an old Android handset to someone else, you may want to go further than using the default data wipe tools—because, according to a new report, they don't effectively remove all of your personal data.

In a small study, security company Avast purchased 20 Android smartphones from eBay which had been supposedly cleared of personal data. But they managed to recover over 40,000 photos (including 250 nude selfies), 750 emails and text messages, 250 contacts, the identities of four phones' previous owners, and one completed loan application. Eep.

The problem is that the default data wipe tools only cleans phones "at the application layer"—which means that data can still be recovered using drive-imaging programs (like Forensic Toolkit, which is free to download). Instead, anyone choosing to pass on their phone should completely wipe their handset. The best way to do that? Allow LifeHacker to show you how. [CNET]

Image by Rob Bulmahn under Creative Commons license.