If you are planning to sell or give away your android smartphone, or simply plan to stop using it because you bought a new one, you probably already know that the first thing you should do is make sure you delete all the data stored in its memory, be it internal. such as the external microSD, if present, thus preventing the future user of the device from accessing your information, endangering your privacy. This process is commonly known as formatting a mobile.
In computer science, formatting a memory or storage disk involves restoring it to its original state or restoring it to factory settings. Whatever the goal, one of the consequences of formatting a memory is that all information is deleted.
In the case of Android phones and tablets, there are several ways to format the memory, so we’ll look at the most effective ones. It should be noted that this guide can be used to format Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, LG and any other brands of Android phones.
Format the Android mobile
As we said at the beginning, the goal of formatting a mobile is to leave it at the factory, which involves deleting all the data and files we have stored while using it.
This means that if you have WhatsApp images, photos in the gallery, installed games and any other type of files, they will no longer be present after formatting.
The first of the options we recommend doing is also the one that is integrated directly into the operating system settings. This option has the purpose of deleting all data included in the phone’s internal memory, such as e-mail and user accounts, app and system settings, downloaded applications and games, music, videos, photos and all those data that, during the period phone usage, you may have stored it.
Logically, this process will not delete the data stored in the cloud or your Google account settings, but 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 “Recovery Options” category and go to “Erase All Data”.
- Read the instructions carefully and when you understand, click the “Reset phone” button.
During the process, the device will reboot several times. Once finished, the internal memory will be completely clean.
Format by recovery
At the moment we have 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.
It is a recovery partition to be accessed in case of emergency, and among its functions it offers the possibility to format the device memory, as well as the possibility to perform other more advanced procedures.
Deleting cellphone information from the recovery menu is a very similar process 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 need to follow these steps:
- Access the recovery menu. The key combination will differ depending on the mobile, but the most common is “Volume Down + Power” when the phone is turned off.
- Once inside, look for the “Wipe data / Factory data reset” option. Use the volume keys to navigate the menu and the power button to select.
- Accept the process and wait for it to finish.
Format the SD card
If your mobile has a MicroSD card, you will probably want to format that too. Unlike the internal memory, the MicroSD card is removable and, therefore, you can remove it from your mobile, connect to a PC and format it as usual. You can also format it from the mobile itself. It is recommended that you do this before formatting the internal memory.
To format the MicroSD card of an Android mobile, you need to go to the system settings and tap Storage. Then tap the name of the MicroSD card in the Storage section. In the file manager that opens, tap the menu button ⋮ and choose Storage settings.
A memory card information window will open, including the total and available space, as well as one or two buttons, depending on whether the mobile accepts sd cards as internal memory.
If you want to format the card so that it stays mobile independent (that is, you can take it out and use it on other devices), tap Format. A confirmation window will then appear where you need to click Format SD card again.
This will erase all data from the SD memory and format it with the Android recommended settings. The result is basically the same as if you remove the card, connect it to a PC and use the usual format command.
When and why you may need to format your android phone
Formatting your mobile is a recommended practice when you change your mobile and intend to sell or give away the old one. However, doing this process can be useful at other times, even when you will 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 memory of the phone may be full of junk which weighs down its performance, and it is possible that the current functioning of the phone has little to do compared to when you bought it. In this case it might be useful to format your phone and start from scratch, which will also help you recover all that storage space occupied by unnecessary files.
Another time when it is not only recommended, but sometimes mandatory to format your mobile, is when you change ROMs or try to revert to the software the phone originally came into your hands with. Since some ROMs use different structures than others and the memory has to be manipulated in a specific way, it is not recommended to install one ROM over the other 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 where you may need to format your mobile is when it is infected with some kind of malware or virus. Your phone, if you are careful, 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 into your phone is to completely remove all data from the internal storage.