Is it safe to send out your Android phone for repair?
Best answer: If you can factory reset your device before installing it, as well as remove or erase your eSIM card, yes. However, if the phone is damaged too much to turn on, there is a risk that someone will gain access to data even if you wipe it. Because of this, you need to take steps if hard reset is not possible.
Why you have to be careful
At the end of 2020, game designer Jane McGonigal said that after she installed her Pixel 5a for repair work, someone slipped into her phone and got access to “Gmail, Drive, photos, mail account d backup, Dropbox ”and other files while redirecting any email security alerts. to her spam folder. According to McGonigal's interview with The Verge in December 2021, she reported remotely deleting her phone, so wipe it as soon as it's connected to the internet. But someone still overcame this failure.
This worrying privacy leak has led many to question whether it's safe to send out their Android phone for repair.
A Google spokesperson later stated "After an in-depth investigation, we can confidently say that the issue that affected the user was not related to the RMA device," or the Returned Product Authority.
So in theory, e Yes still safe to send your phone to the manufacturer or official third party dealer for repair. However, this event highlighted the importance of Android phone factory reset before provide it to a repair dealer whenever possible.
A bad player can easily use a Faraday cage to block internet or cellular access, so that they have time to bypass your passcode and access your files before a remote wipe takes effect. From there, since they have your phone and inbox, they can usually bypass most 2FA blocks and gain full access. Most repairers would not. However, you should not take the risk.
How to repair your broken or damaged Android phone for repair
Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central
Since the damage is not terrible, and you can still access your phone, the steps to prepare your phone for repair are simple.
First, make a backup of your Android phone. Sync your photos, back up your files to Drive or Dropbox, then back up your contacts, texts, apps, preferences, and anything else you need to save.
Do you have an eSIM? Factory reset can erase or erase it, and you do not want a bad performer to access it. You will want to delete your eSIM profile, either manually or during the reset process.
Now you need to do a factory reset of your Android phone. If you have full access to your phone, this should only take a minute of navigating through your settings to find the right tablet. These instructions have different steps based on which Android skin your phone is using.
Source: Android Central
Lastly, please remove your SIM card before posting. That's easy to forget, but plugging in another phone and using it to bypass two - factor SMS checks can cause all sorts of frustrations, even if the phone is blacked out. out. Other online accounts may still be vulnerable.
Now, it's safe to send out your Android phone for repair. If you follow all the steps, there should be no data to steal someone. Starting with Android 7, the OS started using file-based encryption which is very difficult to crack. Factory reset should be able to recover data is almost impossible, even with an undeletion app.
One more quick note: As soon as your phone is returned, make sure you factory reset it again before you begin your mediation process. Although unlikely, a malware repairer could have installed the device before returning it to you, which could remove a reset.
What to do if your Android phone is too damaged to reset
Source: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central
If your touch screen is too broken to go through menus, or if your phone does not turn on at all, it's much harder to protect your phone from malware. But you probably have more options than you might think.
Let’s say your phone is turned on, but you can’t use the touchscreen. If you buy a USB-C hub, then connect a keyboard and mouse to your phone through the outlet, you should be able to access all of your phone's settings and go through Backup process and factory reset above.
If you are having trouble accessing your phone OS at all, you can try a factory reset through recovery mode. First, turn off your phone. If, for whatever reason, you can't let it run out of battery, then plug it in, so that only power goes off. Then you need to use the special button combo to enter the recovery mode: press Power and Volume down buttons air Pixels no stock Android, no Power and volume buttons on a Samsung phone. You should then be able to navigate to a Erase data / factory reset option using the volume buttons, and then press the power button to do so.
The above solution will erase your data and cause Factory Reset Protection to kick in. It is an anti-theft measure that prevents people from cleaning and selling stolen phones without accessing the associated Google account. That means, even a legitimate repairman would need your Google account password to unlock and check the phone. That's okay if the damage is completely physical, but it limits the ability to check if the phone is working properly after repair.
Source: Android Central
If the phone does not turn on anyway, you cannot 100% guarantee that a malicious repair companion will not have access to your data. In that case, you should start by wiping your phone. Go to https://www.google.com/android/find, select the broken phone, and select Wipe device. This will ensure that the phone is wiped off as soon as it connects to the internet.
Unfortunately, as we have seen with the McGonigal case, this does not always work. Before breaking your phone, we hope you have created a strong passcode that is not easy to break in a few attempts. But once they're beyond that, they'll have access to any Android password managers on your phone, as well as your inbox for 2FA emails and any private photos or files .
At this point, it's just a matter of trust. If you are sending your phone directly to Google, Samsung, or another OEM for repair, it is doubtful that they will try to access your files because of the potential bad visibility. So a remote sweep would work.
Another thing, you could try to place an order with a reputable repair center and ask the partner to repair it in full view, so that they do not have a chance to try anything surreptitious while you watch. Still, they can say that the repair policy is the reverse. And this option does not solve the problem for people who want or need post replace it for repair.
All in all, if you have to choose between repairing a badly damaged phone for removal or simply buying a new Android phone instead, you need to decide if it is worth it. risk posing or not. 99% of the time, no one will have the tools or inclination to prevent remote wiping. You just can't barantas it will not happen.
Wipe your broken phone
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Works with all your devices
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