All good things come to an end, and when that happens to your smartphone, you should wash it. And, no, I don’t mean what my one-and-a-half-year-old grandson did to his mamma’s new iPhone 6S.
In a pawnshop context, washing your phone means scrubbing it of personal information before you sell it. Older model smartphones lose value quickly but they still have some value: A Pew survey last year found that 68% of American adults have a smartphone.
That means 3 in 10 don’t and probably would like to acquire one if they could afford it. Pawnshops are one place that can happen
When Kamaaina Loan (or any other pawnshop) buys a smartphone for resale, it will scrub it. The simplest way is to do a factory reset.
However, at least with Android phones (which is most of them), a reset does not necessarily wash the phone clean.
Earlier this year, Avast, a software security company, purchased 20 used smartphones from pawnshops in Europe and America. 60% had not been reset: an error on the part of the person who sold the phone to the pawnshop and of the pawnshop as well.
However, here’s the problem: of the 40% that had been reset, half still had recoverable personal information on them.
Avast said that was because some older versions of Android’s OS have a factory reset that does not clear data.
Worse, some sellers just deleted their files without doing a reset. That left the files easily recoverable with commonly available and free software.
Avast says the thing to do is to overwrite your unwanted files, which is what the reset does.
We’d add that destroying old files in unwanted equipment applies to anything with a chip in it. Even copiers save everything they see. The old copier itself may be dead but its brain lives on.