What to do Before Selling or Trading Your Phone

So, you have decided it’s time to get a new mobile phone. Congratulations. There are a lot of great brands and amazing models to choose from. But, what do you do with your current phone? Well, you can sell it through a service like Gazelle, or if you have a cell plan with a major carrier, you could trade in your current phone towards the cost of a new smart phone.

According to Gazelle’s newsletter, The Horn, there are ten steps you should take before recycling your phone:

  1. Clean Your Phone

In order to turn in your phone in the best condition, start by cleaning it using rubbing alcohol (but do not use too much because you could cause liquid damage), a microfiber lint-free cloth, and cotton swabs for hard to reach areas.

  1. Back up Your Phone

This is a very important step. You need to back up all of your data so it can be easily transferred to your new phone.

For an iPhone, tap Settings, then iCloud, and then choose Storage & Backup. Make sure you enable the iCloud Backup feature, then select Back Up Now to move your data to the cloud.

For an Android phone, it’s a little more involved. For starters, Google Sync backs up most of your data for you – all you have to do is go to your Settings menu and select Accounts and Sync.

You can also back up your data the old-fashioned way, by using the USB cable to connect your Android phone to a computer, and then copy all your files.

  1. Reset to Factory Settings

Protecting your personal information is really important. A factory reset essentially gives your phone a clean slate by wiping it of all data and returning it to its condition when you first bought it.

With an iPhone, it’s pretty easy. Go to the Settings menu, tap General, select Reset, then Erase All Content. With an Android phone, conduct a factory reset by tapping Menu, then select Settings, Privacy, and Factory Data Reset. To remove all data, press Reset Phone.

  1. Encrypt Your Data

After you reset your phone, you’re not done. Reset will remove a good chunk of your data, but if you have an Android phone, be aware that even a full factory reset may not eliminate your email addresses, texts, and even selfies! This is why it’s essential that you encrypt your data before wiping it. When you encrypt your phone, everything becomes scrambled, and your data is made unreadable. With iPhones, encryption occurs naturally; with some Android phones, you have to do it manually via the settings menu.

  1. Remove SIM or SD Cards

If you know how, pull out your SIM card from your iPhone, or unmount and remove your SD card from your Android device. This is very important, as it will ensure your personal data is protected. How to remove the cards varies based on the phone model, and older iPhones can be more of a challenge. If you’re not sure, check your manual or ask your wireless provider for help. Once you successfully remove your SIM or SD card, place it somewhere for safe keeping.

  1. Find Your Phone Model

Before you trade-in or sell your phone, you need to determine your exact model. There are a couple of ways to do this. Probably the easiest is to go to Settings, and scroll down until you see About Phone. The name of your device and model number will be indicated there.

  1. Assess Your Phone for Water Damage

Most phones use stickers to indicate water damage. If the sticker turns a certain color — for an iPhone, it’s pink — it means the phone’s been exposed to water. The trickiest part is finding the stickers as their location varies depending on the model of your phone. For Samsung Galaxy phones, the watermark is usually underneath the battery; in the case of an iPhone, check the SIM card slot. Do a Google search for your phone model, and then follow the instructions.

  1. Perform a Function Test

Confirm that your phone is working without a hitch. Check your power button and volume, the charge port, touch screen, of course your camera, and the Wi-Fi antenna and backlight, to make sure they’re in good working condition.

  1. Evaluate the Cosmetic Condition of Your Phone

Let’s make this easy. If your phone doesn’t turn on properly, or its screen is shattered or cracked, then your phone is broken. It is what it is.

As long as your phone powers on and its blemishes aren’t severe, your phone in all likelihood is in good condition. Most phones Gazelle examines fit this profile.

Most used phones are not what Gazelle would call flawless. Select this option only if your phone still looks and works like it’s brand new.

  1. Calculate Your Phone’s Value

Gazelle evaluates your phone’s value by combining the results of your function test with its cosmetic condition. It takes just a minute here to see what your used phone’s worth. From there, Gazelle makes it easy by sending you a shipping box, and then paying you via check, PayPal, or an Amazon gift card.

Need Help?

If backing up your phone is proving too complicated, or if you need advice on wiping all of your personal information, visit a cell phone repair shop such as iRepair in the Trincity Mall. They can provide you with guidance on the safest way to get rid of your current phone and on your choices for your new phone.