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I just got my replacement Droid and will be sending my current Droid back to Motorola. I'm sure they are going to refurbish it and resell it. I've backed up everything and I'm going to be keeping my microSD card, but how to ensure that all the data is completely wiped off the internal memory so there is no chance that it can be recovered by someone else?

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4 Answers 4

As I understand it, factory reset only "deletes" user specific files and databases. They still could be recovered if not overwritten at least once.

Also internal android flash memory is partitioned into several areas with independent file system. Some of these partitions are not directly writable.

I would do the following: 1. Make a factory reset. 2. Install as many apps as possible to overwrite almost all of the data blocks in the "data" partition. 3. Make another factory reset.

If there were a stock ROM to overwrite the currently installed ROM, I would reinstall that ROM, too.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Perform a factory reset then write to the memory and reset again. This is the best way I have found to prevent data remnance.

I was aware that with a magnetic based drive there is almost always data remnanace. I believe the standard to effectively erase info on a magnetic drive is erasing and re-writing over the drive 7-20 times (don't quote me on those number). I was under the impression that once you erased data from flash storage it was gone for good but recalled the story of a woman finding porn on her refurbished Evo. So, I asked about data remnance at Superuser on flash memory and found that data sometimes can remain after it is deleted. The recommendation there was: formatting, writing to the memory and formatting again.

To format, as the answers above suggested, I performed a factory reset. This can be done one of two ways on the Droid:

  1. Go to the "Settings" menu, choose "Privacy" then choose "Factory Data Reset"
  2. Do a hard reset

Ultimately I just did the Factory Reset because I was too lazy to load the system memory up and I suspect that 99.99% the Factory Reset is sufficient, but it's good to know what the risks are.

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Keep in mind that creating a copy of your data and destroying the original data is a not a backup, just a transport action.

Create a copy of you data on another device/usb stick from your phone and use the move command. This will create another 'copy' and essentially makes sure you didn't forgot anything to move. Moving the data also 'deletes' is from the original device. (better save then sorry)

Now make a list of all things you don't want them to get and make sure they are deleted/removed. After this execute a factory data reset (from settings or boot menu) and check you phone if its really clean.

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Keeping the microSD is probably the main thing, so since that's the plan already it's just the phone to go.

I couldn't swear to this, but I used it when selling my g1: uninstall everything - except astro file browser or similar Use astro to wipe out any app related folders remove astro Use the "factory data reset" (on 2.2 its under Privacy) Power up and check it's greeting you as a new user Power off Remove sim card Power up and check it does even less Power off & send

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