The right way to prepare your phone for sale or upgrade

Factory resetting a smartphone Source: Pocketnow

Smartphone season is upon us, and millions of people are upgrading their smartphones as the new ones arrive in the coming weeks and months ahead. Many people have already upgraded to the latest OnePlus 10 Pro, and the Galaxy S22 series, and other interesting devices are about to be unveiled very soon, including the upcoming Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Z Flip 4 series, the new iPhone 14 series in September , and the Google Pixel 6A and the Pixel 7 series. Of course, there are many other brands out there, and we’ll continue seeing new flagship, mid-range, and lower-end devices throughout the year.

If your contract isn’t due yet, or you’re waiting for other devices to arrive, you’re in luck, as we’ll explain the few essential steps you must do before selling your device, or upgrading to a new one. The first on the list is crucial, whether you sell your phone, trade in, or pass it on to a family member.

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We also talked about how the process of switching from Android to iOS, and vice versa, has evolved over the years, and you can find out more about it here. We’ve also explained how you can delete your personal data from Google, if you want to disappear from some part of the internet.

Back up your data

The first and most crucial step is that you back up your data, either on a local, offline storage like a computer, portable hard drive, or SSD, or to the cloud using iCloud / Google Drive and other reliable services that you trust.

Having a backup of your smartphone (and other electronics) is crucial in this day and age. It can not only prevent accidental deletion of your data, hence, allowing you to recover all of your cat pictures and videos easily, but it also enables you to effortlessly transfer private information from your old device to the new one.

If you’re on an iPhone, it’s worth considering iCloud to back up your data, which allows you to easily save all of the contents and settings of your device. If you store your images in Google Photos, Amazon Photos, or other cloud storage services, your media files are likely already backed up, but you must double-check to ensure you don’t lose any files.

The Google One plan also provides you with extra storage and automatic backups.

Sign out of your accounts

This step isn’t necessary, but if your device isn’t encrypted by default, it’s something that you might want to consider doing. You can easily sign out, or remove accounts on Android in settings, giving you peace of mind that all of your private accounts are safely removed from the device.

Adding an account back onto the device requires you to input the email, username, and password, and often involves 2FA (2-factor authentication) to protect your account from malicious login attempts.

Remove the cloud lock

Find my iPhone and Find my Device Source: Pocketnow

iPhones especially, but also many Android devices have an extra step of security that prevents the new user from setting up a new account. This could also cause additional delays and other complications if you’re trading in. The extra security step requires you, the rightful device owner, to turn off the Find my iPhone feature on all iPhones. Different Android devices have other services and features, and you must check that the option or service is turned off before resetting the device.

If you forget to do it, you’ll often have to set up the device again, sign in, and then repeat the process to unassign the device from your account.

Fortunately, Apple has a handy guide that takes you through the entire process step-by-step.

Disable iMessage & Turn off Chat (RCS) features

iMessage and Messages by Google Source: Pocketnow

If you sell your iPhone with iMessage turned on and switch to an Android device, you might not receive text messages from your contacts. This is because the account is still associated with your Apple account, and it’s forwarding the content to your account that’s linked to iMessage.

If you still have access to the device, you’re in luck; the process is straightforward and takes only a few steps to complete.

To deregister iMessage from an iPhone that you still have access to:

  • Go to Settings
  • Tap Messages
  • Turn off _iMessage_and go back to Settings
  • Tap on FaceTime
  • Turn off FaceTime

If you no longer have access to your iPhone, you can deregister it by using the link below:

  • You’ll have to enter your phone number
  • Then enter the confirmation 6-digit code to deregister the device

You can use this Apple website for both guides to complete the process.

The same thing applies to the Messages app by Google on Android. Before you sell your Android phone and switch to an iPhone, it’s recommended that you turn off RCS, also known as Chat features, in your settings. You can do this by following the steps below:

  • Open Message by Google
  • Tap on the three dots on the top right corner
  • Select Settings
  • Select Chat Features
  • Toggle off then Enable chat features option

Remove the SIM card and SD card

It might seem like an obvious step, but many of my friends have accidentally left a SIM card in their devices. It’s a common mistake, and it could happen to anyone. To prevent shipping away your confidential information that’s stored on the SD card, and your SIM card, which may contain contacts, make sure you double-check your device.

I have purchased several used devices from eBay in the past, and often I’ve received devices with a SIM card in them, and twice, an SD card. In both cases, the SIM cards and the SD cards were dead, but it’s still worth double and sometimes triple-checking as some bad apples could attempt to scam you for additional money or steal private information.

I have also purchased a few devices from eBay that contained the SIM card from the previous owner. For security reasons, and to protect your private information on the SD card, you must ensure that you remove the SD card and SIM card from your device before sending it to the trade-in center, or the buyer.

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