If you are going to sell or give away your mobile, or plan to stop using it because you have bought a new one, you probably already know that the first thing you should do is make sure to delete every one of the data stored in its memory, both the internal one. such as the external microSD –if there is one–, and thus prevent the future use of the device from accessing the information, thus endangering your privacy. This process is commonly known as “formatting.”
And it is known that way since, in computing, “formatting” memory or a storage disk implies reverting it to its original state or modifying its logical structure to a new state that allows data to be stored again through other devices. Whatever the objective, one of the consequences of formatting a memory is that all the information is eliminated.
In the case of Android phones and tablets, there are several ways to format the storage, and then we are going to see the most effective ones. It should be noted that this guide is used to format Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, LG, and any other brand of Android phones.
What happens when formatting a mobile?
As we said at the beginning, the objective of formatting a mobile is to leave it as a factory, which implies the elimination of all the data and files that we have stored when using it.
This means that if you have WhatsApp images, photos in the gallery, games installed, and any other type of file, they will no longer be after formatting.
How do you format a mobile? the best way to do it
From what has been said in the previous paragraph, before formatting a mobile, it is worth making sure that we are not going to lose anything of value or that we want to keep.
And it is not a bad idea to make a complete backup of the mobile and save it on an external device or in the cloud if we regret it at some point.
How to format a mobile from the system settings
The first of the options that we recommend making is also the one that comes directly integrated into the operating system settings. This option is intended to delete every one of the data that is included in the internal storage of the phone, such as email and user accounts, app and system settings, downloaded applications and games, music, videos, photos, and all those data that, during the period of use of the phone, you could have stored in it.
Logically, this process will not delete the data stored in the cloud or the settings of your Google account. Still, it will delete the accounts associated with those services so that the future owner of the phone cannot access the information. The steps to follow are those:
- Open the system settings and go to the “System” category.
- Find the category “Recovery options” and go to “Erase all data.”
- Read the instructions carefully, and when it is clear to you, click on the “Reset phone” button.
During the process, the device will reboot several times. Once finished, the internal storage will be completely clean.
Format a mobile through recovery
At the time, we already explained what the recovery partition is and what it is for, along with the rest of the partitions that make up the operating system.
In short, it is a recovery partition to access in case of an emergency. Among its functions, it offers the possibility of formatting the device’s storage, as well as the possibility of carrying out other more advanced procedures.
Deleting the mobile information from the recovery menu is very similar to the previous process, with the difference that, unless we select it, user data such as images, videos, or photos will not be deleted. To do this, you have to follow these steps:
- Enter the recovery menu. The key combination will be different depending on the mobile, but the most common is “Volume Down + Power” while the phone is off.
- Once inside, look for the option “Wipe data/factory reset.” Use the volume keys to navigate the menu and the power button to select.
- Accept the process, and wait for it to finish.
When and why you might need to format your mobile
In the beginning, he commented that formatting the mobile is a recommended practice when changing mobile and having the intention of selling or giving away the old one. However, going through this process can be useful, even when you continue to use the same device.
For example, if your mobile is not working well and you have been using it for several years without interruption, the internal storage of the phone may be full of garbage that is weighing down its performance, and the operation of the phone may have little to do with what you enjoyed when you bought it. If so, even if it seems like something from the last century, it can be useful to format the mobile and start from scratch, which will also help you recover all that storage space occupied by unnecessary files.
Another time when it is recommended, but sometimes it is mandatory to format the mobile, is when changing ROMs or trying to return to the software with which the phone originally came into your hands. Given that some ROMs use different structures than others, and the memory needs to be manipulated in a specific way, it is not recommended to install one ROM over another without formatting the mobile – which is known as a “dirty installation” -. Therefore, before installing a ROM, make sure of its requirements.
Finally, another of the cases in which you might need to format your mobile happens when some type of malware or virus has infected it. Your mobile does not need an antivirus, but that does not mean that it is immune to all threats. One of the fastest ways to kill any malicious software that has managed to sneak inside your phone is to remove all data from your internal storage completely.
Sharlene Meriel is an avid gamer with a knack for technology. He has been writing about the latest technologies for the past 5 years. His contribution in technology journalism has been noteworthy. He is also a day trader with interest in the Forex market.