PSA: This NFC Secure Element Will Self Destruct In 3… 2… 1…

We have to share this next bit of information because, unfortunately, Google does not. There’s been an ongoing issue with Google Wallet, NFC, and its secure element. Since devices that carry the three are far and few between, you may not have heard much about the issue. However, it has made its way back into the spotlight thanks to an unfortunate owner of a newly released HTC EVO 4G LTE.

The HTC EVO 4G LTE comes equipped with all three of the aforementioned utilities and is one of the highlighted features of this newly touted device. Unfortunately for one user, his new HTC EVO 4G LTE was having issues with the proprietary skin “Sense” that HTC insists on smothering our beautiful Android with. More than often, the only remedy for issues such as the one this user was experiencing, is to perform a factory reset.

A factory reset is not that uncommon, and in the world of hackers, rooters, flashers, rommers, etc. it can sometimes be a daily procedure. Unfortunately the secure element in NFC chips doesn’t play nice with factory resets and performing one without taking the appropriate steps can result in the self destruction of the secure element and the inability to use any program that relies on it — such as Google Wallet.

The secure element is a separate chip where Google stores all your encrypted payment data that only trusted programs can access. So how do you protect the secure element from self-destruction? It’s actually quite simple.

Before you decide to perform any kind of factory reset on your NFC enabled phone, open up Google Wallet, go into Settings, and check the option to “Reset Google Wallet.” That’s it. That should delete all payment information and give you a clean slate to proceed with your factory reset.

Keep this bit of information in the back of your mind should you ever need to perform a factory reset on your NFC enabled device, otherwise you may end up with an unusable Google Wallet — sort of like the one you have now.

Let’s hope Google fixes this lack of communication by either giving users a warning or fixing it so that the first thing an NFC enabled device does before a factory reset is to reset the secure element.