IN this spirit of the infamous economic recession that seems hell bent on not going away anytime soon, and with the yet, ever-increasing dish-outs of smartphones, there will come a time that you will need to sell off or dispose your used smartphone.
Whether to raise some much-needed extra cash or to upgrade to a more recent alternative, it is important to remember that smartphones have become a significant part of the lives of many people and carry a wealth of information.
From Personal Identification Numbers (PINs), to passwords, contacts, pictures of memorable events, videos, movies, games, emails, and even research work, among others, smartphones have become even more important than personal computers and it is necessary to ensure you are not selling off yourself along with your smartphone. Below are some things to note before disposing off your smartphone:
Back up as much as you can
For phone contacts, messages, files, social media apps, especially those on which you chat such as WhatsApp, it is very important to take advantage of the backup feature to save your old chats before you do a hard delete. There are also apps you can take advantage of to make this easier by always ensuring you download such apps from your operating system’s playstore.
Remove all contacts
Smartphones have a way of, sometimes, hiding contacts, especially those not available on the sim card. Sometimes, you may have saved the same number twice. You should also take note of contact details available from your WhatsApp directory. Even contacts you deem unimportant should be erased from the phone. However, you should only perform a hard and complete delete after you are sure you have copied all contacts you want. Even unimportant contacts such as that of a former tailor or mechanic, must be deleted because you can hardly control whose hands the phone gets into after it is sold. When removing contacts, also take note of messages, events, notes, among others.
Transfer all files
Firstly, copy all files – videos, photos, documents – on the phone to the memory card. After that, take out the memory card for safekeeping, then look through the phone itself for stray files that you may have forgotten and transfer them through Bluetooth or similar applications to another storage device such as another phone or your computer.
Log out from social media apps
Social media, for many people, is an open cheque to their entire lives, and whether you fall into that category or not, be absolutely sure you log out from all your social media sites, whether you are active on them or not. If you wish, which is usually preferable, delete the social media applications as well. They have a way of retaining saved usernames and passwords, and either of the two is enough to hack into your account.
Delete other important apps
You may not necessarily have to delete all apps available on the phone, but apps such as mobile banking applications, email applications, antivirus, games, among others, should be deleted. Games, as unimportant as they seem, should be deleted, especially if you post on social media from them. Mobile banking apps should be logged out of and deleted too. You can never be too careful. Like they say, it is better to err on the side of caution.
Wipe the slate clean
Some experts suggest encrypting your date before the hard reset. Afterwards, before you sell off, do a factory or hard reset, depending on the operating system your smartphone works with. This will ensure that even the personal data you cannot trace at the moment are deleted. Online tech giant, CNET, offers additional tips:
“Before you start, back up all your data, including contacts; remember to remove the SIM card and any external storage such as a microSD card; log out of services like email and social media, then clear the data from these apps if you can; perform a separate encryption and wipe of data on the microSD card as well if you don’t plan to use the card in a new device; keep the serial number of the phone or tablet on file for your records.”
Preferably, visit trusted merchants
Somehow, even after a hard delete, smartphones have a way of retaining information, especially if you registered the phone in your name at the point of purchase. As such, even if you would lose a few thousands, it is safer to sell to trusted merchants.
There are even mobile networks that offer the option of exchange. You can even visit where you bought the phone to find out if they can help with the sale. This is to prevent your phones getting into the wrong hands.