Is Deleted Content on Your Smartphone Gone for Good?

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Mobile phone innovation is as intense as it’s ever been, and there are no signs of it slowing down. Their continued evolution has transformed them into mini-computers that have completely changed user habits – be it for work, shopping, entertainment or other aspects of our lives. The ever-increasing use of these smartphones means they’ll handle nearly as much data as our normal desktop and laptop computers do. And it’s in that – data – where the real value lies for the consumer.

Importance of Smartphone Data

Sure, the actual handset itself with up-to-date camera functionalities and internal processors make it an expensive piece of kit. But when it comes to damaging or losing a phone, most users will tell you it’s the content stored within the device which causes the most concern. Be it for emotional, convenience or privacy reasons, they dread the idea of losing that data.

So with that in consideration, have you ever wondered how data is treated when it’s deleted? With no visible recycling bin, is it even possible to retrieve messages, photos, calendar entries and call history? Or does deleted content get permanently deleted? Well, to serve your curiosity – especially if you’re thinking of recovering content – read on to see just how smartphones handle the data they store.

How is data saved?

Smartphones store information using flash memory – a storage medium that allows data to be retained without the need for a power supply. It’s a non-volatile method of storing data that can be electronically erased and reprogrammed. This makes flash memory ideal for digital cameras, portable storage devices and smartphones.

Depending on the make and manufacturer, a smartphone will store data in different ways. iPhones, for example, are known to provide only built-in internal memories for their handsets. Android phones are more flexible and, in addition to the internal memory of the device, will give users the option of expandable memory through micro SD cards. Both, however, offer the convenience of cloud storage – the ability to save and back up data to an online source.

How is data deleted?

Although there are many ways to break a smartphone, here are the three most commont:

  • Physical damage – be it an accidental drop or some water damage, the memory chip within the handset can stop functioning properly if the circuit board has failed or various components have worn out.
  • System errors – corrupt / incorrect file formats or malicious apps can break links in file structures, making some data inaccessible or not displaying correctly. Although these broken files may not appear to be recorded or recognised by your phone’s system, they do still exist in the memory.
  • Manual deletion – when you choose to delete a file, the operating system simply marks that location as being available for something else to save in its place. The actual file itself is not permanently wiped. Instead, the path to the file is removed and the data (all of the ones and zeros that make up the file) is shredded into an unreadable format.

Is Smartphone Data Recoverable?

Normally on a computer or any other storage device, the ghost of the deleted file will remain there until the computer has no option but to overwrite it. So if you already have 500mb of spare space, your computer will opt to save new files in those previously unused locations. The space where your deleted file is sitting remains reasonably safe, and it’s for this reason that recently deleted files are easier to recover than old ones.

How data recovery software works

Smartphone recovery works much in the same way. Their NAND flash memory disks are designed so that re-writes are minimized. And as mentioned above, NAND simply treats deleted data as a spare spot for future data to be put in its place. This swift method of deletion takes up less resources and allows users to recover files they otherwise thought were entirely deleted.

A specialist data recovery software attempts to rediscover the path to the previously saved file, and then re-constructs the fragments of the broken data into a readable format once again. These programs have enhanced in recent years and are able to recover files of almost any type and size – messages, photos, videos, contacts, etc.

So despite what you may have thought previously, smartphone data is very much recoverable and not always deleted for good. There are many solutions on the market in helping you retrieve lost content, and none of them require you to seek the help of a professional. Trial any available free software to see what’s possible.

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