A Guide to Safely Selling Your Old Smartphone

Smartphones have become somewhat disposable devices as people upgrade to a new one every year or so. But whatever you do, don't throw your old gadgets in the trash can. Any old tech that goes to the bin will only contribute to toxic chemicals leaching into the land and your city's water supply. Instead, look towards resellers or recyclers who can take your mobile off your hands, including its accessories, chargers and all.

Once you decide to sell your old smartphone, follow these best practices on backing up and clearing data before passing it on to a stranger.

Creating a Backup
The first thing you'll want to do is see if your mobile still turns on. Then, connect the device to a computer via USB cable and transfer all your data, including contacts, messages, calendar, notes, photos, videos and other files. This sets up the old phone for a clean factory reset later on, while allowing you to transfer the data to your new phone.

Signing Out

Sign out from all the services you have in your old phone. Any financial apps, social media accounts, streaming services (YouTube, Netflix, etc.) should be logged out as well. Uninstall all apps and make sure to sign out of App Store or Google Play, too. You wouldn't want to risk having your banking passwords, social media data and photos stolen or taken by unscrupulous individuals.

Completing a Factory Reset
Once you're certain that all the data in your old phone has been erased, it's time to do a clean wipe. A factory reset is the easiest method in wiping a mobile phone clean of personal traces of data.

If you have extra time, you can take an extra step and encrypt the phone so a stranger wouldn't be able to harvest erased files using a data recovery software.

Android User's Guide to Selling Old Smartphones

Have an old Android smartphone you want to get rid of? Here's a step-by-step guide on how to do it.

Step 1. Back It Up

If you're upgrading from one Android phone to another, make sure you have Auto Backup enabled. Go to your phone's Settings menu, then choose System and Backup. Activate the feature and all your app data, call history, photos, SMS and personal settings will be saved to your Google account.

Step 2. Sign Out

Sign out of your Google account by checking Settings, Users and then Accounts. Your profile should be visible and an option to 'Remove Account' will be visible. Samsung phone owners may have to go to their Samsung Account in Settings, then tap the corner and choose 'Remove Account'.

Step 3. Encrypt for Good Measure

Encrypting is optional and may be done just before doing a wipe or factory reset. It can be found in the Settings section, then under 'Encryption'. You can see the status of your phone here- if it says data is being encrypted, then good. If not, push 'Encrypt Phone' and wait for the process to be completed. Then, do a Factory Reset.

iPhone User's Guide to Selling Old Smartphones

Step 1. Back Up

Activate your iCloud feature if you haven't already. Go to Settings, iCloud and iCloud Backup and enable it. There's another way to back up data using iTunes. Connect your iPhone to a computer via USB cable, open the iTunes app and allow the program to sync and back up all the data from your old iPhone.

Step 2. Sign Out

Next, remove your Apple account from the device. In Settings, choose the option 'Sign Out' at the bottom. If you have an Apple Watch this is the place to unpair it as well.

If you're migrating to Android, de-register on iMessage to continue getting messages on the new phone. Go to Settings, Messages and disable iMessage options.

Step 3. Encrypt your iPhone

Keep in mind that newer iPhone models will automatically have encryption enabled. To make sure, you can go to Settings, and General and Reset. Opt to 'Erase All Content' and confirm your actions.

Selling Your Old Smartphone

At this point you should now have a mobile phone that's wiped clean of data and personal information. The files have been backed up, and encryption will have ensured that there's no way to recover deleted files on your old phone. Remember to take out any external storage chips, such as microSD cards and the SIM card, if applicable.

Never throw out old phones into the bin because it's not good for the environment. It only takes a few minutes to get it properly disposed of, and you can choose among several options. Online recyclers such as Plunc can take your used tech and give you money for it. You can also put up old mobile phones for sale on Amazon, Craigslist or Facebook and give it a new lease in life.

After you sell or recycle your old phone, it's time to enjoy your brand new, upgraded smartphone.

*Collaborative Post