I need help in this strange situation! I did a factory reset and cleared everything in my HTC One X, erased all files and photos, removed all accounts, and sold the phone.

Now all my photos (2150!) are all back there, as the person who bought it says! How is this possible? and what can I do to completely clear it up? I made sure after the reset that nothing was in my phone!

5 Answers 5


You mention Dropbox in the comments area of another answer. Merely deleting Dropbox data is insufficient to cleansing its folders. You MUST dissassociate the device from your account or the deleted items will re-synch to the device when next possible.

Start Dropbox.
Settings > Unlink device from Dropbox.

If this was not done, or done improperly, I can understand how the recovery occurred to the phone.

  • 3
    hello, and thanks for the input..But, deleting the associated Dropbox ACCOUNT, shouldn't be enough for the device NOT to be able to re-connect to that account?? you need an email address and a password to enter Dropbox, even to sync... So how would the phone would asocciate itself to MY Dropbox account, once that account was deleted on that device? for arguments sake, if the new owner would try to access Dropbox, would have to log in to his account, or create a new one, or not???this is a bit creepy though, regarding Dropbox's security!
    – TIna
    Commented Sep 3, 2013 at 17:30
  • And when I asked the new owner if she tried to acceess Dropbox, she said no!!the pictures just appeared in the gallery all of a sudden, so the mystery remains.. :(
    – TIna
    Commented Sep 3, 2013 at 17:35
  • In any case, from my desktop Dropbox application, I am able to see which devices are linked to it, right??so there, I can't see my old device anymore. so I can only guess it was unlinked..
    – TIna
    Commented Sep 3, 2013 at 17:36

If you thoroughly checked that nothing was left, that's a strange thing indeed (and I cannot imagine it returned "by itself"). But as a factory-reset usually only deletes/wipes /cache and /data, the SDCard (internal or external) are not touched in this process, so you might have missed that. Some devices offer to include the SDCard with the wipe/factory-reset, though.

For a real safe clean, however, even a wipe might not be enough, as files still could be restored using appropriate software. So if you're selling your device, you'd better make sure your data is completely nuked: not only "marked deleted", but really removed and overwritten. To achieve this, you can use helpers like Nuke My Phone.

  • Hello and thank you for your reply!! I DID check that everything-and when I say everything I mean EVERYTHING- was clean!!! I am more than flabbergasted at the situation, not to mention embarrased! the thing is that the mobile is already at the hands of the other person!!I suspected Dropbox, since the photos were identical with my "camera uploads" but this is also impossible!!! I removed EVERY account my phone had, so how could it happen??? now I need a safe way to explain how to thoroughly clean it..do you knowif the HTC ONE X offers a SD card wipe option?
    – TIna
    Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 9:50
  • and I will add that when I factory-reset my device, I made sure to check the "erase all data ' button, that offers to clean ALL data in storage!!!so I can't be more perplexed as to justify to the new owner WHY she has 2500+photos in her gallery!you think it might be enough to just ask her to delete all photos and be done with them, or she will have them ALL back again the next day?? or even worse, uploaded in her Dropbox every time she does a sync???
    – TIna
    Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 10:18
  • 1
    All that is quite confusing. I never heard anything deleted re-appeared by itself this way. If you've checked the box to also erase all data on SDCard, and afterwards were able to confirm it was all gone, it should not have done so. So normally, simply delete the stuff should be sufficient − but I'm hesistant with any advice in a case that seems to stick to no rules.
    – Izzy
    Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 10:51
  • lol maybe this is the case! my device was bought already rooted, so maybe it has its own rules!if this is the case, could this slip happened because of the root? any input in this? in any case, I was thinking to guide her to connect the mobile to her pc, and manually empty & delete all photos inside the DCIM folder..and hope it did the job..
    – TIna
    Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 12:43
  • 1
    Root or not: Deleted should be deleted. Most of my devices are rooted, and I never had such an issue. Unless some recovery app/program is used intentionally, this is completely strange behaviour I'd never expect.
    – Izzy
    Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 13:23

Factory reset means deleteing all app and leave just the one that were preinstaled. For the ones that were preinstalled just delete their data, like contacts msgs etc.

If you want to delete all data when you do a factory reset i think it will promt you if you want to delete exdernal sd card to(external sd card witch is actually the internal memory that you use for your photos etc, long story) If you don't have that option there then just go to storage and see if you have there an option to wipe everything.

  • thank you! But I DID suppose that a reset should clean ALL files!! now do you know how to prompt a SD card wipe in HTC ONE X?? my mobile is already at the hands of the other person, so I can only ask that she performs this action..otherwise, she will have all my 2500+photos uploaded in every single cloud service she has constantly, even if she deletes them from the album!!!!
    – TIna
    Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 9:53

If she has your pictures, you either didn't erase it properly, or the sd card was not connected when you erased everything. Or, if she is really evil, she downloaded a tool that gets back deleted data from the datablock. As you probably know, deleting files actually means that the disk will, instead of actually erasing blocks from disk, give the block free to be written over, which is why tools can be used to get (some of the) data back. Assuming that she would have done this though is quite a stretch, but I'm just mentioning it as a possibilty.

Let that also be a lesson: Always check at least the /Pictures, /DCIM and any application folders you may have with personal data (/Dropbox I guess) and delete the data you may find manually. If you want the files to be unrecoverable, apps exist that actually overwrite "empty" space, like Secure Delete Android (haven't tested it though). See http://www.securedeletion.com/

At this point though, the only thing you can do is ask her to delete the pictures and hope she is a thrustworthy person.


HTC phones are different from other phones and I don't know why that is, but sometimes when you reset the phone a variety of info stays on the phone. I know that for sprint the number can't change unless you put in a special code under one of the settings. I don't remember right now what that may be, but I'm sure that your service provider has run into this when folks swap there phones for whatever reason. Your service provider is the only one with this code. So you may need to ask them. Their techs might be the best source. Why do I know this? Because I have worked for both Sprint and Verizon, but it has been a while.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .