Protect Your Sell Phone!
Are you about to sell or give away your old smartphone so you can upgrade to a new one? Before you do, it’s important that you take certain precautions to make sure that your private data remains private. It’s not hard for a determined thief, with the right software, to recover any sensitive data you may have deleted.
Simply deleting your data isn’t enough – you have to do more. You also might want to back up your data before you erase it completely, so that you can transfer it into your new phone.
To help you avoid needless trouble, here’s our quick guide that tells you everything you need to do before selling your smartphone.
Backup Your Data Online
The first thing you should do before selling your smartphone is back it up. The easiest way to back up your phone data is to use your Google Drive account, for Android phones, or your iCloud Account, if you’re using an iPhone. You can back up everything important in your phone, like photos, bookmarks, apps, passwords and even your home Wi-Fi network settings. That way, when you get your new phone, you won’t have to spend hours customizing it.
For Android phones, backup options can be found under Settings > Accounts > Google account. Here, select the data you want to sync.
For iPhones, go to Settings > iCloud. Here, set the slider to green on everything you want to back up then tap Storage & Backup. In this submenu, select Back Up Now (at the end of the list). The backup process can take a long time, from a few minutes to a couple of hours, depending on your internet speed and the amount of data you have stored on your phone.
Instead of using Google Drive or iCloud to store your photos and videos, we recommend you to use Flickr. Google Drive and iCloud only offer you a few gigabytes of free storage; where as Flickr lets you use 1TB of storage for free. You should use those services only to back up critical apps and settings.
Backup Your Data on Your Computer
If you have limited bandwidth or a slow connection, or you just want to play it safe, you can backup your data to your computer too. Simply connect your phone to your computer with its USB cable, find the important data and back it up.
If you’re using an iPhone, you will have to use the iTunes software for this step. There are several third-party backup software products on the market that you could try, though we don’t you really need them.
Thoroughly Wipe Your Phone
This step is, perhaps, the most important of the lot. Before you pass on your phone, we highly recommend that you wipe it clean.
If you own an iPhone, the process is just a couple of steps long. First, sign out of your iCloud account and then delete the account from the phone.
Next, go to Settings > General > Reset and then tap on the “Erase All Contents and Settings” option.
This will delete everything you have stored on your phone, including photos, videos, apps, passwords and debit/credit card data. For a full guide on the process, see this official Apple support page.
If you are moving to a non-iOS device it would be a good idea to de-register your cell number from the iMessage service. You can do it here: supportprofile.apple.com.
Remove Your SIM Card and Memory Card
As the final step, you need to remove your SIM card and memory card from your phone. Your SIM card will go on your new phone (you may have to cut it to fit your new phone, if it has a nano SIM card slot) and you can do the same with your memory cards. Never pass on your memory card to the buyer, as it is fairly easy to un-erase any erased data from one.
Please note: Do not delete any data like your photos, contacts or reminders manually, as it will lead to deletion from the iCloud servers and you would not get that data on your new device or any other iCloud connected device like your iPad or Mac. Same thing is true for your Android device if you use Google Drive to back up your data.
Even after taking all these precautions, there is no guarantee that you will be safe from data theft. The question you should be asking yourself is whether you really need to sell your old phone. Sometimes the reward is not worth the risk! If you follow our guide, though, the chances of you falling victim to data theft will be reduced dramatically.