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How do I wipe device that has only 2% battery?

Discussion in 'Android Help' started by AtlRob, Oct 17, 2019.

  1. AtlRob

    AtlRob Lurker
    Thread Starter

    I did not post this in the LG section because my question applies to android in general, not just my device. I have a new LG Stylo4 that has a bad charging port. Tracfone sent me a new phone and a label to send back the defective phone. I don't get that phone back. I keep the new one and assume they repair and resell the return. The problem is that the defective unit has only 2% battery remaining so it won't allow a factory reset. When they get this return back and replace the charging port all of my personal information will be available the next time it is turned on. I have no screen locking enabled because I only use the phone at home (no lectures please, I know...).

    Is there a way to secure my data on this phone that I am sending back? Will the "erase my device" in android device manager work if I allow the phone to go to 0% then when it is powered on it will erase the information immediately? I'm at a loss how to do this properly but I have to think there is a solution as this seems like a potential security risk for people in similar shoes. Any help would be appreciated!

     


  2. Best Answer:
    Post #6 by Unforgiven, Oct 18, 2019 (1 points)
  3. Steven58

    Moderator

    I got nuthin'. I'm sorry about your predicament. Here's what I would do. I would call Tracfone and explain your situation. If I were in your shoes I wouldn't surrender my 2% phone. Why? All my investments and banking and social media and credit cards and etc are on my phone. I'd burn it to a bloody pulp.
     
    AtlRob and Dannydet like this.
  4. svim

    svim Extreme Android User

    Iif the charging port is bad the repair shop will probably replace the motherboard so the NAND Flash chip (the internal storage memory) will get scrapped as it's physically part of the logic board itself, or just as likely the phone will just be scrapped and/or disassembled for parts. Profit margins aren't very much for brand new phones, so spending money to repair a rejected/damaged phone is a profit loss. Phone repairs are done because of warranty obligations or the buyer paying for it. But even in the event your old phone will be repaired keep mind most smartphone internal components aren't very modular and are not readily replaceable individually. So if one part goes bad, it's easier to swap the entire board -- de-soldering individual parts and re-soldering replacements requires a lot of time, effort, and when it involves items like microprocessor parts, specialized equipment. So even if the wipe is never done, your data isn't retrievable anyway (new mobo, new internal storage). But don't forget to remove your SIM card and your microSD card.
    Of course this is dependent on if the charging port is bad. If it problem is actually just a software issue, or something to do with the USB cable or the power adapter, than that changes everything. How did you determine the charging port itself is the problem?
     
    Unforgiven, AtlRob and ocnbrze like this.
  5. AtlRob

    AtlRob Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Hmm, I had not thought of that. I'm actually wondering what their recourse would be since it is all prepaid. I bought the phone originally from HSN and it went bad in 3 weeks. I called them for the swap but they said that since they had sold out of it I needed to call tracfone for the replacement. I wonder if either company would actually realize the return did not arrive. I'm almost afraid to call them as it might raise a red flag. But I will call as I would hate to be charged $200 for a brick. Would an accidental drop in a swimming pool make the data disappear? :batdroid::mustachedroid::nailbitingdroid:

    (edited to add seasonally appropriate android emoticons, natch :maskeddroid:)
     
    #4 AtlRob, Oct 18, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2019
  6. AtlRob

    AtlRob Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Hi, thanks for the reply. I suspected it was the port because if I pushed the charger down the connection would work and the battery would charge.Unless I attached a rubber band or something it would stop charging as soon as i put the phone down. After a day, bending the cord down no longer works. The phone is less than 3 weeks old and to be honest I am not sure it ever charged. These new batteries have so much standby time and I was out of town for 15 days, It came 95% charged and I simply may not have realized it until battery got lower.
     
  7. Unforgiven

    Unforgiven ...eschew obfuscation...
    Moderator

    I know you mentioned no screen lock. Why not use that last 2% to enable the lock so it will force a data wipe if they attempt to get access?
     
    MoodyBlues, svim and AtlRob like this.
  8. AtlRob

    AtlRob Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Oh snap! :spitoutdroid: Because I did not think of it and I am now at 0% and phone is dead. That would have solved it. Do you think the google device manager lock would work in this situation? I still can access that.
     
  9. Unforgiven

    Unforgiven ...eschew obfuscation...
    Moderator

    I'm not sure, but it is designed to recover lost / stolen phones, so if they power it up you could initiate a wipe. I just checked and I have the option of locking or wiping my Kindle Fire (with Play services sideloaded) and it has no lock screen set up, so you may be all set.

    I'm waiting on my old Galaxy S3 (no lock either) to get enough charge to test that as well. It doesn't show up in my google device manager right now though. :(
     
    MoodyBlues likes this.
  10. svim

    svim Extreme Android User

    Keep in mind that once you do send this phone back, even if there is no screen lock and some tech staffer starts it up, the phone won't have any online access to receive the remote wipe signal anyway. With no SIM it won't have any cellular connectivity and with none of the saved WiFi networks you added being out of range it won't have any WiFi connectivity -- unless you had it set to automatically access any available open (no password) WiFi network (or you have something like Comcast's privacy-riddled public Xfinity WiFi network at home and this service shop is also using Comcast for broadband). But again, this is all just supposition, the odds are the phone gets scrapped, there's no profit margin in repairing it.
    But your description on the charging problem 'could' be due to the USB cable you're using. The plug on the end of the USB cable is held in place simply by friction fit so it's a matter of tolerances -- if the crimp in that metal sleeve in the plug isn't making enough physical contact with the metal sides of port in the phone, the plug won't be firmly held in place (the metal contacts in the plug can't transfer power to the metal contacts in the port). Have you tried a using a different USB cable? This won't make any difference if the problem is with the port in the phone of course (e.g. a bad solder joint that connects the port's internal metal contacts to the motherboard). If a different cable does work, this might at least be enough for you to charge the phone so you can copy off any data you need and do a Factory Reset.
     
    MoodyBlues and Unforgiven like this.
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