Well, before reading how to, why should one erase data on a cell phone? Quick answer, when you are giving away your cell phone to some one dear or donating to a charity mission or throwing away completely.
If you remove all contacts and messages and any other data on your cell phone using regular interface using which you added them in the first place, that data is not completely removed from the cellphone. Trust Digital, a McLean, Va. security firm explains,
"The file system on your cell phone or PDA is just like the one on your PC's hard drive. If you delete a file, you're not really overwriting the data. All it's doing is changing the index of the file system, or the file's pointers."
A few months back, Trust Digital reported that most used cell phones and PDAs contain personal information that their former owners neglected to adequately delete, Trust Digital examined a small sample of used phones and personal data assistants purchased from sellers on the eBay online auction site, and recovered data from 9 out of 10 of the devices.
Because phone and PDA data is stored in flash memory, it's retained even if the device's battery is drained or removed. To delete flash memory data, users have to do a "hard reset," which returns the hardware to a factory-fresh condition. Each phone and PDA maker uses a different hard reset procedure; some, in fact, can only be down by a technician or after contacting the phone service's help desk.[ via Techweb news article]
Wireless Recycling has setup a webpage where you can download step by step instructions to completely erase data for most of the mobile handsets. You can download the instructions by choosing the Manufacturer name and the model number of mobile on the webpage.
[tags]mobile-handsets, mobile-security, wirelessrecyling[/tags]