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7 Things to Do Before You Get Rid of Your Android Phone

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Phones are a major part of our lives. New devices can cost over a thousand dollars so it’s not unheard of to sell, trade in, or upgrade your phone. They’re becoming a major investment like cars. Phone carriers have built in programs where they take significant amounts off the cost if you turn in your device. By selling your phone, you can recoup some of the cash you put it in. But what can you do to ensure Sprint, AT&T or some random online buyer does not have access to your private data?

Our data is for sale, from our social media accounts to the apps on our phones. How can you protect yourself from the last few months or years of your life getting handed over to a stranger? How can you protect your privacy and ensure you don’t just scrub your device but get everything you need?

There are certain steps you will want to take to scrub your phone as best you can.  After all, certain deleted information doesn’t get deleted. Here are the 7 things to do before you hand off your Android phone. 

1. Update Your Phone Number on All Accounts 

If you’re changing your phone number you’ll want to update that number before you lose access to your old device. The hardest thing can be to update certain accounts and apps with your new phone number. You likely may keep your number but if you do not you’ll want to make sure to update certain accounts so your two factor authentication and recovery options on your email, bank, and social media accounts still work. If not, your number could be long gone and your recovery could be a huge hassle.

2. Back up Your Google Account 

You likely have a Google account to manage your various passwords, links, and accounts. By backing up your settings and phone numbers to your Google account you can make setting up your new device much easier. From your device go to Settings > Accounts and Backup. From there, select a Google or Samsung account you’d like to sync with your data. 

3. Back up your Files 

Of course you’ll want to ensure you keep your photos, videos, music and other files. The fastest way to delete them is to get them off your device. Transferring files is fairly simple with Android phones. You can plug it in with a USB cord. You’ll want to unlock your phone, and then select Use USB for File Transfer. On a PC. your phone will behave like any drive or USB device. You’ll be able to access your DCIM file to pull your images. There are also a few different apps you can use to access your files on Macs and PCs like Android File Transfer and Samsung Data Manager. From these options, you can delete your files. 

4. Delete or Backup all of your SMS Messages 

You may want to clean out your phone of your private messages. You can manually delete them but they can still be recoverable. There are apps available like Safewiper that can help you permanently delete all of your device’s SMS messages. 

5. Encrypt Your Data 

A Factory Reset is a given. But before you do, you’ll want to encrypt your data. This ensures that if your information is ever recovered, at least it’s encrypted. From biometrics and security you can encrypt your SD card. You can also choose to remove your SD card before turning in your device. 

6. Delete Your Google Accounts & Disable Factory Reset Protection 

Factory reset protection is a way to protect your information if your device gets reset. The easiest way to disable factory reset protection is to delete all associated Google accounts. This keeps any automatic back-ups, etc. This is an important step before initiating a Factory reset. If not, some of your information could potentially be recovered. You’ll also want to delete your Samsung accounts.  

7. Initiate a Factory Reset 

From your Settings you can select Reset and then Factory Reset. From there, perform a factory reset. When you do, you can see if the device has successfully reset. 

We manage our entire lives on our phones.These steps are vital to ensure that you don’t hand over your private information or secrets of your personal life to a random person. Cleaning up as much as you can from your device ensures you don’t give away valuable information for a few bucks off your next device.

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