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Wiping a Smartphone Before Selling or Recycling

Consumers are constantly going through new smartphones. New products are seemingly always released and consumers are often urged to upgrade once their contract ends. If you’re savvy then you’ll sell or recycle the smartphone before it becomes obsolete. In fact, some phone companies will offer you money directly if you trade in your old phone. Of course, there’s nothing to stop you just bunging it on eBay, or giving it to a charity or a firm that that can recycle it (often it’ll make use of the functional parts and then use them on refurbished models).
One thing that is absolutely essential you take care of before selling or recycling your smartphone is your data. Your data means everything from your sent and received text messages, your emails, your documents… basically every personal bit of information you’ve stored on your phone.
Don’t be under the assumption that removing the SIM card and SD card gets rid of all your data. Smartphones also have internal storage (or might only offer that) which often stores things like internet cache and text messages.
It’s pretty easy to wipe your phone of all personal data, although the process of doing so will vary depending on your handset. First of all, take out your SIM card and the SD card if you have one. A lot of phones will default the SD card to store things such as camera photos. Whatever it has stored on it, you’ll be able to plug the SD card into another device and view all your data on there instantly – be it a computer or another smartphone, for example.
If you want to back up your internal data then there are various ways to go about it, although this too will vary on the handset. Some will allow you to sync the data into the cloud (like tying it to your Google account on Android, for example). Other times you might need to use an app to back some data to your SD card, like SMS messages for example. However you go about it, before following the wiping procedure below it is essential that you have all the data you want to keep backed up off the device.
To wipe the data on an iPhone, go to the ‘Settings’ menu and then ‘General, ‘Reset’ and ‘Erase All Content and Settings’.
To wipe the data on an Android device will vary depending on manufacturer and operating system version. It’ll likely be under ‘Settings’ and then a submenu like ‘Privacy’, ‘Security’ or ‘Backup and reset’.
That’s all there is to it! Now your smartphone will be reset to factory settings, ready to sold or sent off for recycling.
Take note that it isn’t sensible to leave any data on your smartphone and assume the person on the other end will wipe it, be it a buyer or the company recycling the parts. Although the latter might offer the service, don’t leave anything to chance. There have been complaints online from consumers who forgot to wipe their data on their phone and then found that their online accounts were being accessed by an unknown party (the person who purchased the refurbished phone!).


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