I've got an Android One-unit with Android 10. However it refuses to boot and I've decided to get rid of it and I think I get get some money by selling a broken phone online. However since it refuses to boot I can not perform a factory reset or similair procedures. Is is safe to sell it (assuming the person buying fixes it and boots it) or can personal data get in the wrong hands?

Some information:

  • I have not changed the encryption settings, so I think it's encrypted by default
  • I got two factor authentication turned on on my Google account and removed the device from my "trusted devices"
  • I have screen-lock turned on with pattern needed to unlock it.
  • Uh, unless someone fixes the phone? You are placing a ton of trust in your assessment that the device can never function, your memory of encrypting the storage was done, and that your google accounts are the only things to secure. And from this you are asking "is it safe?" This is no longer a question of being "safe" but your comfort with risk.
    – schroeder
    Commented Jun 6, 2020 at 7:44
  • No, I do not plan to trust that the device can never function, what I want is to assume that the device will be fixed and booted and instead hope to trust that a locked phone with encryption on can not be compromised in any way. I've updated the question to clarify that I assume that the phone will be fixed and booted by the person bying it.
    – Cleared
    Commented Jun 6, 2020 at 7:49
  • Ok, this is a little better, but you still have the open question of whether or not encryption was enabled. But are you saying that you want an answer as if it was encrypted? You could boil down this question to simply: "how easy is it to crack an encrypted Android phone?"
    – schroeder
    Commented Jun 6, 2020 at 7:53
  • I say I want an answer as if it was encrypted. And if I understand everything it is full disk encryption, meaning noting on the device can be accessed without cracking the encryption, right?
    – Cleared
    Commented Jun 6, 2020 at 8:07
  • 1
    Maybe you can still boot into recovery mode and reset it there? Commented Jun 6, 2020 at 12:59

1 Answer 1



You have to see which you value more, peace of mind vs the scrap money you get selling a phone that is clearly faulty & close to unusable

Retrieving data from a locked/faulty phone is definitely a thing, it is a craft people possess, it is a possibility which you have to face, and you can't simply rely on us to assure you that the possibility is close to zero.

I honestly would value privacy & data-security over extra pocket-change any day of the week. I hope you can see where I am coming from, it's just not worth it.

  • Yeah, I'm leaning towards this as well. Since it is broken i will get scrap money for it, but I would not sell it for the money, but for the feeling that it will come to use again instead of ending up in a drawer or in the trash. If it was working and I could do a factory reset it would give me a bit more peace of mind (even thought I guess data could still be retreived), and in that case I would get more money out of it as well.
    – Cleared
    Commented Jun 6, 2020 at 10:35
  • The word "greed" doesn't answer any of the questions that I can see, and it seems unduly harsh. Am I missing something?
    – Mathieu K.
    Commented Jun 20, 2021 at 14:52

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