4 Key Things to Do Before Selling Your Smartphone

Whether you keep your smartphones until they turn into paperweights or you like to trade in your current model every year, chances are you’ll need to upgrade your phone sooner or later. However, unlike selling an old car, which usually involves simply handing over the keys, you should not merely hand your smartphone to a buyer without doing some serious work to it first. After all, that handheld computer of yours probably contains quite a bit of personal info about you including bank account numbers and more — not to mention your scads of photos, emails, songs and emails.

With this in mind, please consider taking the following steps before selling your cell phone:

Back Up All of Your Data

The first thing to do before selling your old smartphone is to back up your precious data. The simplest way to do this for iPhone users is to use an iCloud account, and Android owners should use the Google Drive account. This will allow you to back up everything on the phone, including photos, passwords and bookmarks. If you have an iPhone, go to Settings and then iCloud, slide to green all of the things you wish to backup, and then tap “Storage and Backup.” For Android users, go into Settings, then Accounts and then Google account.

Check on Your SIM Car

If you are going to stay with the same carrier when you switch to the new phone, then you should be able to switch your old SIM card into your new phone before selling your old one. The only potential issue with this tip is the size of your current SIM card versus what the new phone uses; sometimes one phone will use a micro-SIM card while the new one will use a nano-SIM. It is possible to cut a larger SIM card down with a proper tool, or you can ask a customer service representative at your current carrier how to go about this process. Or you might find it is easier to get a new SIM card for less than $20.

Wipe the Old Phone

Every type of smartphone — from an old BlackBerry to the newest Android and iPhone — will allow you to do what is called a factory reset. This will let you wipe the smartphone’s memory completely clean. Once you have taken the steps to back up your data, go ahead and wipe the phone before selling it. T-Mobile offers easy-to-follow instructions on how to reset an iPhone to the factory settings. After being sure that all of your personal data has been backed up, go into Settings, tap on General, then Reset, and then choose Erase all Content and Settings. If you have an Android phone, Digital Trends offers helpful advice on how to wipe it clean. First, disable the Factory Reset Protection by following the instructions and then go to Settings, then Backup and Reset and choose Factory data reset and Reset phone.

Avoid the Landfill

If your phone is on the old side, you might not find many eager buyers. After backing up your data and wiping the phone clean, you might be tempted to toss it in the trash can. Try to avoid this impulse — smartphones do contain toxins that can leach out into the soil. If no one is interested in your old smartphone, you can always give it away to a worthy organization. For example, some domestic violence shelters welcome old smartphones to give their clients a way to reach help. Google “local smartphone donation” and see what your options are.

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