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How to Prepare an Old Phone for Sale

October 21th, 2015

With record iPhone sales being reported and the holiday season fast approaching, getting rid of an old phone is bound to appear on the to-do list of many of us. And whether you are selling it, handing it down, donating it or converting it to an iPod for a younger member of the family, it's important to back up the data on it and also wipe it clean before handing it over.

Smartphones today are filled with all sorts of personal data including contacts, schedules, photos, videos, documents, and more...and yours is probably no exception. So when you are giving your old phone a new home, you'll want to take the time to follow the steps below so that you aren't also handing over personal data along with the device itself.

Here are a few tips and directions on how to prepare an old phone for sale:

iPhone

  1. Back up the data on your smartphone using iTunes – iCloud users may be able to skip this step.
  2. Deactivate apps which lock your phone to your online identity, such as iMessage and Find my iPhone.
  3. Remove your sim card to protect your contacts and call logs.
  4. Perform a factory reset to return your device back to it's original state. Within settings, go to “General" and then "Reset.” Next, select “Erase all Content and Settings.”

Android

  1. Make sure your contacts, calendar entries, documents and settings are synced with your Google account. You can also use an all-in-one backup software of your choice.
  2. Back up your photos and videos to your own computer or a cloud storage service such as Dropbox, Flickr, or Microsoft OneDrive.
  3. Back up your text messages and call log using the app of your choice, or the option supplied by your service provider.
  4. Deactivate any apps which lock your phone to your online identity, such as Android Device Manager.
  5. Remove your sim card to protect your contacts and call logs.
  6. Remove any memory cards which may otherwise contain sensitive information.
  7. Enable encryption (usually found in Settings under "Security") to ensure that no-one can recover any data from your device after you perform the following step.
  8. Perform a factory reset to return your device back to it's original state.

Once you've reset your old phone to its factory settings, you may want to unlock it. Unlocking a smartphone allows it to be used with various service providers. If you don't unlock your phone, it will be tied to your service provider and may be harder to sell.

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