Changing a phone? What to do before discarding an old cell phone

By Shubhangi Shah

Exploring a brand new phone and the multiple features that it comes with can be exciting. However, before that, you need to decide what you would do with the old one. Selling, recycling, or simply giving it away are the options you can explore unless you want it to end up in a landfill or a drawer. In today’s age, a smartphone is like a constant companion, and it knows much more about you than you think. Your browsing history, WhatsApp BFF, images, videos, important docs, your phone has much info that you wouldn’t want to end up in possession of someone else. Removing SIM and microSD cards is the most basic thing you do while switching to a new phone. However, there are steps you shouldn’t dare to skip while transitioning.

Data backup

It’s nothing but foolishness to discard an old phone without resetting it to factory settings. You must wipe your phone off all data before switching to a new one, otherwise, it can be hacked easily. Once you do that, all the information will vanish, including your priced memories in the form of images, videos, and crucial documents. Hence, data backup is the first thing you should do.

Most smartphones these days come with the option of cloud storage. If not, Android users can use Google Photos for backing up their images and videos. For doing that, you just need to open Google Photos and tap on your profile icon that shows up in the top right corner. If it shows ‘Backup complete’, you are sorted. If not, turn on the option.

iPhone users can use iCloud for the same. Just go to Settings and click on your name at the top. It will take you to your Apple ID page. Based on what phone you own, choose either iCloud, iCloud Backup, or Backup Now.

If your phone doesn’t have the cloud storage option, you can always use third-party apps, such as OneDrive and Dropbox.
Another option is to use a Windows PC or a Mac for the same. When using the former, connect your Android phone to it with a USB and transfer the needed files. Just make sure that your phone is in MTP (file transfer) mode and not charging.

Similarly, you can back up your iPhone data using a Windows PC. While using the latter, plug your iPhone into your MacBook, and open Finder. Do note, that you can use Finder for data backup with macOS 10.15 or later. Otherwise, use iTunes. On Finder, click on General, which you can find at the top. Select ‘Back up all of the data on your iPhone to this Mac’.
You can also encrypt data by selecting ‘Encrypt local backup’ and clicking on ‘Back-Up Now’.

WhatsApp is among the most-used apps worldwide. Gladly, it comes with backup options. For chat backup, open WhatsApp, go to Settings, click on Chats, then Chat backup. You can back up this app’s data on Google drive.

Manage passwords

Once you are done with backing up your data, shift your focus to passwords. Apart from the usual features of making calls and receiving messages, we use multiple apps. From messaging apps such as WhatsApp and social media ones like Facebook and Instagram to banking and payments apps such as PayTM and Google Pay, there are several apps that we commonly use, and each of them requires a username and password. While discarding an old phone, logging out of these is a step you shouldn’t skip.

Evidently, on your new phone, you need to download and log in to all of these. However, it might not be humanly possible to remember all the usernames and passwords.

A remedy: use another app that helps manage passwords. LastPass and ZohoVault are some of the password manager apps you can explore. LastPass doesn’t just save your usernames and passwords but auto-fills when you log back in on your new phone.

Log out

Once you have all your usernames and passwords in one place, log out of all the apps. Don’t forget to log out of your Gmail account.

Unpair with other devices

Now that you are getting rid of your old phone, you also need to unpair it with other devices, such as a speaker, Apple Watch, etc.

Reset to factory setting

The final step before bidding adieu to your old phone is resetting it to factory settings. More commonly known as formatting or hard reset, it will erase all the data from your phone, including images, videos, apps, docs, etc. The only items remaining will be those pre-installed when you bought that phone.

Although this feature differs across phones, you find it in Settings. Once you format it, your phone will be as good as new for someone else’s use. No matter how tempted you are to use your new phone and get rid of the old one, do not do so before checking everything off the above list.

BLURB: apps like LastPass or ZohoVault help manage passwords. LastPass doesn’t just save your usernames, passwords but auto-fills when you log back in on your new phone

Originally appeared on: TheSpuzz