The issue of data protection on mobile phones is as relevant as ever before due to recent trends. Companies are releasing new phones each and every year, enticing their customers to upgrade sooner. This increased pace in turnover has meant that more people than ever are selling their phones onto the second hand market. The problem is compounded by the fact that smartphones are growing ever more sophisticated and are now used for many purposes including business and finance. It is also extremely difficult to permanently delete data off of a phone and so many people are gambling with their sensitive information when they pass their devices on.
It is more difficult to wipe data from mobile phones because of a technique used called wear levelling. This technique is used to prolong the life of solid state memory but it also means that data cannot be permanently removed from a basic factory reset. Fortunately there are more stringent methods available to remove data but nothing is 100%. For example, erasing the internal memory and following the manual when performing a factory reset can make a big difference. It is also advisable to download a reputable remote wiping application like iErase or ShreDroid which allows you to delete your phones data even if it has been stolen. Apple users can also use the iCloud to find and if necessary wipe their lost or stolen devices. This can only happen if Find my iPhone has been set up on the device beforehand and the process can be reversed if the phone is returned again.
Although there is specialised software available to help users to remove data from their phones more effectively, many experts have their doubts. If your phone has been connected to a BYOD network and contained very sensitive company information, the only guaranteed method of keeping your data safe is to destroy the device.