Samsung Galaxy S3 maintains metadata of S Note files after a factory reset - should I be worried about recoverable data?

by Wuschelbeutel Kartoffelhuhn   Last Updated May 15, 2019 23:11 PM

I have an AT&T Samsung Galaxy S3 that I would like to sell. In order to maintain my privacy and save important data, I:

  1. Connected the device via USB to my PC and copied the entire file system to my PC, used SynciOS to backup individual components, and went through every app to save any data I might care about.
  2. Filled up the device storage with bogus data to the maximum capacity in order for previous whitespace not to be recoverable.
  3. Encrypted the device.
  4. Removed any SD and SIM card.
  5. Factory reset the device.

However, after all of this (i.e., after Step 5), I went to the S Memo app on the freshly reset phone (S Memo is Samsung's default/stock note taking app on this phone) and found all my original notes (that were created prior to Step 1 above), without the text contents. I could still see the boilerplate picture backgrounds of the notes, and the creation time of all the notes I had created and saved.

How is this possible? I had encrypted and factory reset the phone. Furthermore, I also removed the SIM card.

Should I be worried that other files are also recoverable?



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