What To Do Before You Sell Your Smartphone

What to do before you sell, give away, or trade-in your smartphone

Our phones are a treasure trove of personal data. This thought can often hold us back from extending the lives of these devices, which is how so many end up in a drawer gathering dust. But that’s not good for your pocket or the planet. 

So, here’s an easy guide to follow so your trusty phone can make a smooth and safe transition.

Transfer data to keep it safe

You should back up your data in a safe place before you wipe your old device clean. You may not even know what you need or why right now, but we keep our lives on those devices. You want to know that you (and only you) can access what you need, when you need it. Those hundreds of screenshots will come in handy one day, right?

There are 2 key things that will protect your privacy and make sure you don’t lose a single photo or file.

  1. Copy all of your important personal data by transferring it to another device (like your computer or the Cloud).
  2. Wipe your data from your old phone in a secure way.

Let’s be real, there’s something weird on your phone that you’d rather not end up having to explain. And just think of all the photos, messages, contacts, documents, calendars, reminders, login details, passwords, and other sensitive data that you’ve saved - you don’t want it to fall into the wrong hands or get lost forever.

The biggest concern for many when switching devices is the possibility of losing data (we’ve all been there). Our complete, fool proof guide on how to back up and wipe both iPhones and Androids will make sure you’re always covered. 

How to wipe your data from your iPhone

It’s easier than you think, but you need to make sure you’ve got everything prepped if you don’t want to lose all those years worth of memories. 

  1. Unpair your Apple Watch if you have it connected to your old iPhone.
  2. If your new phone is not an iPhone, turn off iMessage. You can do this by connecting to Wi-Fi, tapping on Settings, then going to Messages and turning off iMessage.
  3. Remove your SIM card. You can also remove it at the end of the process avoiding all of those annoying ‘No SIM’ pop-ups, but come on, you’ll probably forget if you don’t do it now.
  4. Make sure you’ve written down* your Apple ID password and saved it somewhere safe. You might think you’ll remember it, but password fatigue will quickly prove you wrong.

*Destroy this properly once you’ve recovered it. Paper passwords are a big security no no.

How to back up your iPhone using iCloud

A graphic animation of phones in the cloud

Backing up your phone via iCloud will make it seriously easy to restore everything to your new iPhone. It’s important not to manually delete any iCloud information while you’re signed in with your Apple ID, because if you do, this erases all data from the iCould servers and you won’t get it back. 

If you’re using iOS 11 or later, you can use Quick start to automatically transfer information from your old device to the new one. Quick start allows you to transfer all of your data wirelessly, but you can’t use it if your new iPhone is enrolled in Apple School Manager or Apple Business Manager.

Connect your device to Wi-Fi and make sure you stay connected until the process is over. You definitely don’t want your phone dying halfway through, and we all know how temperamental an old iPhone battery is, so make sure you plug in the charger before you click start.

  • Go to ‘Settings’
  • Tap on the Apple ID banner 
  • Click ‘iCloud’
  • Scroll down and tap ‘iCloud back up’
  • Click ‘Back Up Now’

If your new phone isn’t Apple, or you’ve got a lot to back up, it’s worth taking a bit of extra time to do that onto your computer:

  • Connect your old iPhone to your computer
  • Open iTunes
  • A message might pop up requesting a device password and to ‘Trust This Computer’
  • Accept this step to continue and fill in any details it asks for
  • Choose the device when it appears on iTunes
  • Open the ‘Summary’ menu in iTunes
  • Click ‘This Computer’ as the back up destination
  • Enable the checkbox ‘Encrypt iPhone back up’. 
  • Create a password
  • Click ‘Back Up Now’

And once that’s completed, you’re all done.

How to wipe your old device safely

After you’ve transferred all your data to your new iPhone or computer, you’re able to delete all your personal information from your old device. There’s not much left to do after this, honest.

1. Sign out of iCloud and the iTunes & App Store

If you have iOS 10.3 or later:

  • Tap ‘Settings’
  • Scroll down and tap ‘Sign Out’
  • Enter your Apple ID password and tap ‘Turn Off’

If you have iOS 10.2 or earlier:

  • Tap ‘Settings’
  • Choose ‘iCloud’
  • Tap ‘Sign Out’
  • Click on ‘Delete my [device]’
  • Enter your Apple ID password
  • Go back to Settings 
  • Tap ‘iTunes & App Store’
  • Choose ‘Apple ID’
  • ‘Sign Out’

2. Now you can erase your data and settings.

  • Launch Settings app 
  • Tap ‘General’
  • Choose ‘Reset’
  • Tap ‘Erase All Content and Settings’. Here it’ll ask if you ‘want to update your iCloud backup before erasing’. If you’re not sure that you’ve backed up everything, here is your chance to backup to iCloud before you continue
  • Tap ‘Erase now’
  • Enter your password
  • Enter your Apple ID password to turn off ‘Activate Lock’ and remove the device from ‘Find my iPhone’
  • Choose ‘Erase iPhone’

This step will take either a few minutes or a couple of hours, depending on how much data there is and which iPhone you have.

3. Remove the device from your Apple ID account

If you don’t want your old iPhone linked to your Apple ID account (which you won’t if you’re giving it to someone else), then you might also want to unregister it from Apple’s website.

Now you should be backed up, restored and cleared, ready to sell, give away, or trade in your old iPhone. 

Pro tip, if you unlock your phone by contacting your carrier, you can sell it on for a higher price.

How to wipe your data from an Android smartphone before selling it

Steps before the back up

  1. Remove your SIM card and any external storage such as your MicroSD card if you have one. You can remove the SIM card at the end of the process avoiding the annoying ‘No SIM’ pop-ups, but the chances you’ll remember that are slim, so we say just do it now.

  2. Delete any payment card methods from apps, like for online retailers and the Google Play Store

  • Open the Google Play Store app 
  • Click on ‘Menu’ 
  • ‘Payment methods’
  • ‘More payment settings’
  • Sign in to ‘pay.google.com’ if asked
  • Choose the payment method you want to remove and tap ‘Remove’.

How to back up data on your Android

You want to make sure that all the personal information and content you need to save is being backed up on the Cloud through the Google backup services. To do that:

  • Open ‘Settings’
  • Tap ‘Accounts’
  • Choose your ‘Google account’
  • Check that all apps and services have been synchronised recently
  • For those that haven’t, tap ‘Sync’.

The easiest way to backup data saved on your Android mobile phone is by connecting it to your computer. It’s important to remember to put your phone in MTP (file transfer) mode before you start.

How to wipe and secure your Android 

1. Log out of your Google accounts.

  • Open the Gmail app 
  • In the top right, tap your profile picture
  • Click on ‘Manage accounts on this device’
  • Choose your account
  • At the bottom, tap ‘Remove account’

2. Delete and unsync all saved passwords from apps and browsers. 

3. Once you’ve logged out of all your Google accounts, we’d suggest you disable Device Protection.

  • Go to Settings
  • Tap ‘Accounts’
  • Click on ‘Remove account’ under each of your accounts

4. Disable any lock screen passwords you might have.

  • Go to Settings
  • Scroll down to to ‘Security & privacy’
  • Tap on ‘Lock screen password’
  • Tap ‘Disable lock screen password’

5. Encrypt your data. This will just make sure the new user won’t be able to access any of your data if they try to restore it. It’s well-known that a typical factory reset doesn’t wipe all data from your old device, so you want to be sure you’re covered.

This encryption can take anything between a couple of minutes up to an hour. When it’s done, you can continue with the factory reset. To encrypt your data:

  • Go to Settings
  • Scroll down to ‘Security & Location’
  • Tap ‘Encryption & Credentials’
  • Tap ‘Encrypt phone’.

You won’t be able to use your phone until the Encryption procedure is completed.

6. Deactivate the factory reset protection (FRP). Some Android devices have a factory reset protection that needs to be disabled so that the new owner can use the phone. To deactivate the FRP:

  • Go to Settings
  • Choose ‘Accounts’ (Google)
  • Click on your account
  • Choose ‘Remove Account’.

7. Now you can do a factory reset to erase all the data from your Android’s internal storage.

  • Go to Settings
  • Scroll down to ‘Back Up & Reset’ or ‘System’
  • Tap ‘Reset’ 
  • Tap ‘Reset phone’
  • If there’s a ‘Reset all settings’ option, tap on this one too.

With all that done, you’re good to go!

Want the best possible price for selling your Apple or Android phone? Check out live pricing data and set your own price for buyers to bid on. Or, sell it right now if you prefer life in the fast lane. We’ll even come and pick it up from your front door! 

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