3 Must Dos Before Selling Your Phone

3 Must Dos Before Selling Your Phone
Don’t let the prospect of a new phone credit cost you when it comes to your data security.

3 Must Dos Before Selling Your Phone

Justin Lavelle
March 30, 2015

Apple announced today that it will be expanding its phone trade-in program and for the first time allow users of competing smartphones to trade in their devices for a credit towards a new iPhone.

For those who made the switch away from Apple and now have buyer’s remorse, to those whose resistance to the iPhone is crumbling in the face of cool new additions such as Apple Pay and connectivity to the forthcoming Apple Watch, this news is potentially exciting.

Before rushing off to your nearest Apple Store to make a deal, consider the contents of your current phone. If you’re like a majority of Americans now, your phone is a smartphone, which means there is a lot more of your life on it than in years past.

From photos to bank details and health information, your phone is a sensitive file, which could contain a lot of interesting data to crooks or snoops.

That new iPhone has waited this long, it can wait a few more moments while you ensure your data is protected. Take these three precautions before you resell your phone and sleep soundly:

Back It Up

If your smartphone is an extension of your computer, then crucial work, personal and financial details are likely on there. Not to mention some important apps. You don’t want to lose your historical steps in your health tracking app, priceless photos of your cat Alfred or any other data for that matter. Depending on your device, consult Apple, Google or Microsoft, all of which have step-by-step instructions on how to do back-up their devices.

Use a Third Party to Wipe Your Device

Relying on the factory-reset option is not bulletproof, as these unfortunate ex-owners found out a few years ago. Basic security apps can often recover phone data erased by the conventional wipe methods. In fact, there is a whole industry that specializes in such services. Likewise, it’s best to engage third party software providers such as Autowipe, Cerberus or Lookout to make sure the job is done right and your data is really deleted.

Don’t forget your SIM and Memory cards

If you’re trading in an Android phone for the new iPhone you likely have used an SD card to boost its memory. Remove that, along with the SIM card which keeps identifying info about your phone, including the phone number. You don’t want either of these falling into the wrong hands.

In short, don’t trade speed for your data security when upgrading your phone. Even a new iPhone isn’t worth that.

Disclaimer: The above is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.