A Checklist Before Trading Your Phone In

Checklist Before Trading Your Phone

So you’ve finally given in to the urge to upgrade your smartphone for something brand new. Whether your current one is the worse for wear or you simply have the compulsion to get the latest version of your favorite model, you can satisfy your technophile itch with a new device.

But what do you do with your old one? You can repurpose it by using it as a gaming machine or an MP3 player, you can donate it or give it away, or you can trade it in towards the cost of a brand new smartphone with all the bells and whistles worthy of a flagship smartphone model.

When you consider that top models from the likes of Apple and Samsung can cost you US$1,000 or more, you can appreciate how trading in your current mobile device can make sense. One the one hand, it will reduce the amount you have to pay for a new smartphone. On the other hand, it’ll satisfy your desire to get the new smartphone model that you crave.

However, there are things you need to do before you part with your old smartphone. You can’t just take out your SIM card or memory card and hand it over as part of a transaction to get a new smartphone. No, there are steps you have to take to avoid getting burned.

Follow this checklist to ensure that you you take the right steps before you trade your phone in:

STEP 1: Backup Smartphone

You’ll want to begin by ensuring that you backup the contents of your smartphone. This is especially important if you’re sure you’ll want the contents for your new smartphone. But it’s still a good idea if you’re not sure you’ll need the data. Have a copy just in case.

  • Back up the contents that are on your old device to your computer, USB drive, portable hard drive, cloud service or on anything else.
  • Once you’ve completed this step, check to ensure that it worked. Mistakes happen, so you want to verify that the files, documents, photos and other things are backed up.
  • Make a note, if necessary, of where the information is backed up to so that you won’t have trouble finding it if needed in the near or distant future.

STEP 2: Wipe Smartphone Clean

Before you trade in your mobile device, you need to restore it to the state it was in when it first came off of the assembly line. That’s the only way you can ensure it’s safe to trade in. You can do this by, firstly, encrypting your smartphone and by, secondly, initiating a factory reset. There are different steps depending on whether you have an iOS or Android smartphone.


If you have an iPhone with iOS 5 or later, you’ll be glad to know that it already has encryption as long as you set up a passcode. Do the following and you’ll be fine.

  • Turn off all services
  • Sign out from iCloud

If your iPhone has iOS 7 or newer, you’ll have a slightly different set of steps to take.

  • Head to the delete account function
  • Sign out of services
  • Head over to settings, go to general, go to reset, and then head to erase all content and settings

This will ensure that your iPhone is wiped clean of the contents that had been on it — and this, of course, will make it safe to trade in.

Checklist Before Trading Your Phone

Android & Samsung

If you have an Android mobile device that has Android 6.0 or later, you won’t have to encrypt your device since the data is automatically encrypted. But if you have an Android with an earlier operating system, you’ll need to encrypt. Complete these steps to encrypt.

  • Head to settings
  • Go to security and privacy
  • Go to encrypt phone

If you’re using a Samsung Galaxy smartphone, the steps will be a bit different. Here they are.

  • Head to settings
  • Go to lock screen and security
  • Head over to protect encrypted data
  • Sign out of any accounts on your phone and then, just for an extra measure of protection, delete those account
  • Do the factory reset to wipe your smartphone

STEP 3: Other Things to Do

By all means, remove your SIM card and SD card from the device before trading it. While some devices give you the option of wiping your SD card, there’s no reason to trade the mobile device with a card intact. So remove it and then to use the SD card for some other personal purpose.

If you really want to cover all of your bases quickly and efficiently, you should find a provider of mobile diagnostics software that will identify possible defects and ensure that your phone is ready to be traded. It’s also a good idea to pursue a mobile data erasure solution that will permanently erase all data from smartphones running on iOS and Android operating systems.

Once you’ve completed these steps, you’ll be able to trade in your old smartphone with full confidence that your personal information won’t be part of the deal. So follow these steps and get ready to enjoy a new smartphone in short order.

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