How to remove data from your phone, how to stop annoying notifications, and more – Android Q&A

January 12, 2014
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Welcome to this week’s edition of Android Q&A! As always, we try to answer as many of your great questions as possible. This week, we talk about how to remove data from your phone, how to stop annoying notifications, and more. Let’s get started!


Question 1

I want to sell my Android phone, and I have cleared all my data, but I heard that it could be restored by using some apps and could be used against you. Is there anything I can do to prevent that? – Fahd Nassr

Answer

To erase all your data, there are three important steps to follow that you’ll need to keep in mind –

1) Remove your SIM card  – There’s absolutely no reason the new owner will need your SIM card, so make sure that you remove that.

2) Remove your MicroSD card – Make sure that you remove the microSD card, which holds a lot of your personal data. If the microSD card is a part of the sale, don’t forget to format it before handing it over. Formatting the microSD card can be done directly on the phone.

3) Factory Reset – The third important step is to do a full factory reset. You can do so by going into Settings – Backup and Restore/Reset – Reset Phone. Depending on the make and Android version of your device, you’ll get additional options to clear all data including settings, contacts, accounts, and apps, as well as clear all personal items in internal storage or microSD card, such as photos, music, videos, and more.

Granted, even after taking all the above precautions, it is conceivable that someone with the right tools and experience can recover your data and use it with malicious intent. If you’re worried about this happening, another layer of security you can add is Android Encryption. You can check out our detailed guide on how to encrypt your Android device here.


Question 2

Remember when the (Samsung Galaxy) Note 10.1 2014 came out, it came with a a tablet optimized Twitter app, and it was said that it will be coming to the Play Store by end of 2013? Well, we’re in 2014 now and still no Twitter for tablets. I know there are many better alternatives for the Twitter app, but sometimes, certain things are better on it. Any idea when it will come out? – A. Shazlan Kamarudin

Answer

The obvious question is here why the tablet-optimized Twitter app is available only for the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014, and not all tablets in general. In this case, the app was built specifically to play nicely with the various features of the Note 10.1, including multi-window, while also being optimized for S-Pen functionality. For example, with this app, you have a way to draw on photos with the S-Pen, and then share it directly on Twitter. You can find out more about the Twitter app for the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 here.

Of course, since Twitter mentioned that a tablet-optimized Twitter app would be available by the end of 2013, there has obviously been a delay, and unfortunately, there have been no rumors or leaks suggesting that this app is on its way. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing one as soon as possible. Till then, you can check out some of the best alternate Twitter apps for Android that are available on the Google Play Store here.


Question 3

Question – Why is it that carriers can stop the use of mobile payment like NFC payments with Google Wallet? Please explain – Cameron Ring

Answer

The main reason for this is that network carriers Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile have teamed up to create their own mobile payment option using NFC technology, called ISIS, which is a direct competitor to Google Wallet. Of course, carriers cannot directly mention that they do not want to compete with Google Wallet, as that would be construed as “anti-competitive” behavior, which could result in a lawsuit. Instead, they say this –

Google is free to offer its Google Wallet application in a manner that doesn't require integration with the secure element.

Now, the secure element the network carriers are talking about here is a tamper resistant platform that is capable of securing your confidential data, such as your credit card information. It’s another issue altogether that their own ISIS Mobile Wallet app requires access to the very same secure element. You can find out more about how NFC (and NFC payments) work here.


Question 4

How do I disable app notifications? I did go to settings and disabled it there, but it keeps showing up! Please help. – Rabar Rizgar

Answer

The basic steps to do this is to go to Settings – Apps, then select a specific app, and in the App Info section, deselect “Show Notifications.” A request for confirmation will pop up. Select OK, and that should do it. Unfortunately, there are a few apps that feature persistent notifications that can be spam-like. With the release of Android 4.3, this issue was dealt with quite effectively (more details here), but unfortunately, not everyone has a device running Android 4.3. A great alternative, if you don’t have a device with Android 4.3, is an app that is available from the Google Play Store, called “Notifications Off.” This app has been very well received and is a useful utility for controlling application notifications in a centralized way. Instead of toggling notifications for applications individually from the settings screen you can turn off notifications for all applications from one place. You can find this app from the Play Store here.


And another edition of Android Q&A comes to a close. This weekly show exists because of your great questions, so keep ‘em coming! Let us know what you’d like to see Android Authority cover, and don’t forget to send in your questions in the form below, or by commenting on the Google+ posts and Youtube videos of this show.

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