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I recently sold a Nexus 7 (1st generation 2012 model) online after performing a factory reset. Today, I learned that factory resetting does not completely erase your data. I am very paranoid about selling this tablet now. I read that the best thing to do is to encrypt your data and then do a factory reset. Am I correct to assume that if I've already done the reset that won't help?

If encryption is still a solution in my case, then I have a further problem: the microUSB port is broken, the device will not charge and is not detected when plugged into my computer. You can't perform the encryption without a fully charged battery, so that no longer seems like an option for me.

Given that I've already sold the tablet and am expected to ship it out on Tuesday, is there anything I can do at this point to assuage my fears of personal data theft?

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If the battery lasts long enough, you can use a tool to perform a Secure Wipe. As you've already factory-reset the device, one that cares to sanitize free/empty space should suffice, such as Secure Eraser or the free version of iShredder.

What those apps do is overwriting empty space with random patterns (or just zeros, or just ones) – so all a potential "restorer" can find afterwards is garbage.

If your battery gives up inmidst of the process, you've got at least something sanitized – and cannot do anything about the rest anyway. Still better than nothing I'd say, so I'd give it a try.

  • Thank you, I ran iShredder, leaving me with enough battery to do it a second time (probably won't matter but I have enough battery left, so why not). – Andy Forceno Sep 7 '15 at 9:56
  • Unless you expect the real experts being after you, the second run really shouldn't matter – but as you wrote, doesn't hurt either. Now the effort needed to restore data for sure exceeds the value of what bits might be recoverable (if there are any left at all :) – Izzy Sep 7 '15 at 9:59

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