Important things to do before giving away or selling your Android phone

We all want to upgrade our gadgets, including our phones. There comes a time when we have to either give away or sale our dear phone. The smartphone is probably the only gadget that we carry most often wherever we go. From the basis tasks such as making calls and texting, we now do a lot of tasks on the go like checking our emails, voice messages, shop online, bank transactions, instant messaging, social media updates et al. Most of our life is on the phone. So, do take a little time to take care of your data that resides on your phone before simply giving away or selling it. If you are unlucky, someone else can misuse your data.

Here are a list of some important things to do before giving away or selling your Android phone. If I missed some, do care to add in the comments.

List of some important things to do before giving away or selling your Android phone

A) Backup Data:

Before you start deleting data from your phone, do remember to backup first. Depending on what applications you use on your phone, you may need to backup your - contacts, SMS, WhatsApp messages, photos, videos, documents, music etc. Make sure you move all these backups to your external card on the phone or to some location on your computer later or backup on a USB drive attached to your phone (OTG supported phones only). Most of the online services such as Gmail, Emails, etc. don't require backups as they will return once you sign in with the same account on the new device.  

Backup Contacts:
I suggest every novice Android user to backup and sync contacts with Google Account. Almost every one has a Google Account nowadays and you need one to use Google Services. If you backed up your contacts on Google Account, you don't have to worry at all as your contacts are backed up on Google and will return once you sign in on the new Android Device (if you enable to sync contacts on the device).

If you did not backup on Google or similar online services, then you need to export your contacts manually which can be used later to import on the new phone. 

To export contacts:
  • Go to your phone's contacts app, and explore the menu. 
  • There should be an option to export contacts. 
  • Select all or only desired ones and export them to a file such as CSV or vCard. 
  • Make sure you export the file to external sdcard or you can copy from your phone your computer later.
Backup SMS:
Most phones do not have an option to export SMSs by default. But there are many free apps that can help you export your SMSs. I myself have used this SMS Backup adn Restore App available free on Goolge Play (SMS Backup & Restore). Explore some of these SMS Backup and Restore Apps on Google Play here.
  •     Download and Install the  SMS Backup and Restore App
  •     Open the App and Export SMSs to External SD Card   
Backup Photos, Videos, Documents, Music etc:
For photos and videos, if you sync to some online backup/sync services such as Google Photos, and you have synced recently then your are good to go. You may also use the phone manager provided by the manufacturer to backup on your local computer. Otherwise, you would need to manually backup your files. 
  • Open the file manager on your Android Phone
  • Move photos, videos, music, documents and any other files to external card or copy them to your computer using a USB cable.
Backup WhatsApp:
WhatsApp schedules auto backup on your phone. WhatsApp backups are located at sdcard/WhatsApp. To manually backup your most recent WhatsApp chats:
  •  Go to WhatsApp > Menu Button > Settings > Chats and calls > Back up chats or Chat backup.
The above step created a backup under the WhatsApp folder on your phone memory. You need to backup the WhatsApp folder.
  • Open File Manager on the phone
  • Copy the entire folder "sdcard/WhatsApp" and save it on external card or move it to your new phone at the same location. 
  • When installing WhatsApp on the new phone, WhatsApp will detect backup taken earlier and restore messages from it.
WhatApps users also have the option to backup with Google Drive (Read More Here). If you did, then you don'e have to do any thing. You WhatsApp Chats will restore from that backup when you are setting up your new Android Phone.

The above backups covered are some common backup tasks. You may explore other files that you may need to backup.

B) Erase Data on the phone

If you have taken all the required backups, it is time to erase data from your phone before selling it or giving it away to someone. Here are a few pointers.

Remove SD Card/Erase Data / Format SD Card:
If you are giving away or selling with the memory card in it, make sure you erased all data in it (if necessary). Just format it.
How to format memory card in Android Phone?
  • Some phones will allow you to format memory cards without the use of any external apps such as in Samsung Galaxy phones.
  • Go to: Settings > Storage > Format SD Card

Erase Data on the Phone:
The simplest way is to do a factory reset, also called "Hard Reset". A factory reset restores the Android phone to it's factory conditions. All your user generated data stored in the phone are erased. There is no going back after a factory reset. So make sure you have backed up all you need.

How to do a factory reset on Android Phone?
  • Go to Settings>Backup & reset> Factory data reset
  • You should get some warnings to confirm
  • Your phone should restart
The phone comes back to life and you will be asked to sign in to Google Account, just as you did when you bought the phone.

Remove SIM Card:
Quite obvious, unless you are giving away with your SIM card. Just make sure contacts are deleted from the SIM card if necessary.

 Hope I covered most of the common things we need to do before giving away or selling Android Phone. Hope you found it helpful.  If I missed some, do share with me in the comments.

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