In a world where refurbished smartphones are becoming increasingly popular, savvy consumers are turning to pre-owned devices as a cost-effective alternative. In 2024, the market for used phones is projected to skyrocket, with over 350 million units expected to be sold, amounting to a staggering 65 billion USD. This burgeoning trend is undoubtedly contributing to the dip in new smartphone sales worldwide.
If you’re contemplating the sale of your old phone, there’s no better time than now!
Regardless of your chosen sales method, it’s imperative to cleanse your phone of all personal data. Failing to do so might leave the new owner privy to your digital secrets. Imagine a stranger perusing through your private photos, videos, or sensitive information – a scenario you’d want to avoid at all costs.
Here’s a rundown of steps to ensure your Android or iOS (iPhone and iPad) devices are scrub-ready for the next owner.
Note: These instructions are equally applicable if you’re preparing to dispose of your devices.
Erasing Your Android Device
First and foremost, back up your media (photos, videos, documents, etc.), contacts, messages, and call logs. Once this is done, eject any additional storage, such as an SD card. It’s wise to have multiple backups, whether physical or cloud-based.
Sign Out of Everything
Ensure you’re logged out of all social media profiles, miscellaneous services, and your Google account. Erase any stored payment methods. After that, detach your Google account from the device. Don’t forget to remove your SIM card.
Encrypt Before You Wipe
Before you reset, encrypt your device. This step is crucial because a standard factory reset doesn’t fully prevent data retrieval. Encryption will significantly hinder any attempts to access residual data.
The final move is a factory reset to return your Android device to its original state. This process varies across devices, so consult your manufacturer’s guidelines.
Clearing Your iPhone
Back Up Everything
For iPhone or iPad, utilize Apple’s Quick Start for data transfer to a new Apple device, or back up to iCloud or your macOS computer. If paired with an Apple Watch, unpair it. If you’re switching from Apple, deregister iMessage and secure your data on an external device or the cloud.
Sign Out of Everything
Log out of all Apple-related accounts, including iCloud and iTunes, as well as third-party services.
Reset Your Device
Under Settings, navigate to General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. Then, remove the device from your list of trusted devices.
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Wiping your smartphone ensures that your data, including photos, videos, and sensitive information, is not accessible to the new owner, protecting your privacy and security.
While a factory reset is a crucial step, it's recommended to back up your data, log out of accounts, and for Android devices, encrypt your data before the reset for added security.