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Disposing Of Your Smartphone Safely

Most people in the UK now own a mobile phone, but do you know how to sell it safely?

Stewart McGrenary is the Managing Director of Plunc, one of Europe’s most trusted online recyclers for high-end electronic items. I wouldn’t normally include guest posts on my blog but it’s such an important topic that is relevant to us all.

The smartphone has become an indispensable tool that we use every day. It contains our most precious selfies, family videos, social media logins and sensitive information such as credit card details, emails and more.

Despite what most smartphone manufacturers say, the device you have now can stay with you for at least one or two more years. Extending its lifespan reduces your carbon footprint and makes the world a better place for everyone. You can contribute to a greener Earth when you protect your mobile phone from drops, accidental spills and scratches.

There will come a time when your phone reaches the end of its shelf life. Owners will have to make a decision- do I sell my phone on Amazon, eBay or Facebook, or do I go straight to online recyclers such as Plunc to get quick money? The bottom line is that you’ll have to responsibly dispose or recycle and get extra cash to offset the cost of a new device.

Before you hand off your smartphone to a stranger, remember that it still contains all those music, pictures, financial app logins, social media data and information that could be dangerous when placed in the wrong hands.

Here’s a step-by-step procedure on how you can safely sell your old smartphone.

Back Up Your Data

Backing up should be the first thing you should do, whether you’re handing a device off for donation, recycling or to an interested buyer. Copy all the photos, videos, important messages, contacts and other media onto external storage. This makes the factory reset a breeze, and you can restore all data from the backup onto your new smartphone later on.

Sign Out Of Your Accounts

Sometimes it’s not enough to delete or uninstall all the apps in your smartphone. For the more sensitive accounts, such as ones on social media, banking apps, iTunes, Netflix or your Google Play or App Store. You get peace of mind and the buyer too, as you won’t have any way of tracing the phone by location.

Wipe Your Data Securely

Once you have all your phone data backed up, it’s time to do a wipe. Essentially, a data wipe deletes all the files in a smartphone. But that’s not enough, as a meticulous and determined individual can try to retrieve the deleted files using data recovery software.

Encrypting is important so you won’t have to worry about leftover data that could compromise your identity.

iPhone Users

To Back Up Data:

iCloud users may already have essential data backed up to the cloud. Check by getting into Settings, then the iCloud section and iCloud Backup. The option should be set to “On”.

To Remove Your iPhone From Your Account:

If the backup has been completed, you can remove your user name by going to Settings, then to “Sign Out” which is at the bottom. Apple Watch users will need to unpair their wearable from the iPhone as well.

Moving from iOS to Android? You will want to deregister from the iMessage platform so you can continue getting SMS. To do this, make sure you’re on cellular data network before going to Settings, then Messages and turning iMessage “Off”.

To Encrypt Your Smartphone:

All newer iPhones have encryption technology automatically set to On. Secure encryption by going to Settings, then General and finding Reset, then choosing “Erase All Content and Settings”.

Android Users

The Android environment may vary from one phone manufacturer to another, but the general procedure is more or less the same.

To Back Up Data:

Calendar, contacts and email are automatically synced to your Google account, including SMS, photos, device settings, call history and app data. Ensure that auto-backup is turned on by heading to the Settings, then System and finally Backup section.

To Sign Out Of Your Google Account:

Navigate to Settings, then Users and Accounts, then choose your Google profile and choose “Remove Account”. For Samsung phones, users must get to their Samsung account in Settings, then Accounts and Samsung Account and tap the three-dot icon on the right corner and select “Remove Account”.

To Encrypt Your Android Device:

Android users may go to Settings, then the “Encryption” tab. If the phone system says that your data is encrypted, then that’s that, but otherwise, you can select “Encrypt Phone” and wait until the process is finished. Afterwards, make sure to do a System Reset on the same Settings section.

Older Android operating systems may not have the encryption option, but there’s still a way to ensure a complete data wipe. Carry out the factory reset, then download the Android data eraser app. Perform a final factory reset and you’ll be good to go.

Is Your Smartphone Ready For Sale?

Now that you’ve done a complete backup, unlinked your device from all personal accounts and performed encryption, there’s just one thing left to do.

Take out your SIM card via a paper clip or by using the included SIM remover tool for your smartphone. Remove any external storage as well, including micro SD cards which you can safely keep or insert into to your new phone.

You’re all set to put your smartphone up for sale or send off for recycling!

If you would like to help to declutter and organise your home, then please contact us.

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