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Checklist of 4 Things You Should Do Before You Trade In Your Phone

If you’re thinking about upgrading to a new phone, make sure you remove your personal information before you trade it in. Why? Because your phone could have a lot of sensitive, personal information on it – like your passwords, account numbers, emails, text messages, photos, and videos. If that information ends up in the wrong hands, someone could use it to wreak havoc. They could open accounts in your name, spend your money, hack into your email, or take over your social media accounts.

Here’s how to remove your personal information before you trade in your phone.

[Just got a new phone?  Find out how to protect it and your data. These tips work for not-so-new phones, too!]

Step 1. Back It Up

If you're going to trade in your phone, the first thing you should do is back up your data.

How To

Step 2. Remove SIM and SD Cards

If your phone has a SIM card, it may store your personal information. Remove the SIM card. If you'll keep the same phone number, you may be able to transfer your SIM card to your new phone. But if you don't re-use the SIM card, destroy it. If your phone has an SD memory card for storage, remove it.

How To

Step 3. Erase Your Personal Information

Remove information from your old phone by restoring or resetting it. After you restore, or reset your phone, confirm that you erased things like your contacts, text messages, photos, videos, and browsing history.

How To

Step 4. Disconnect Your Phone From Accounts and Devices

Before you turn in the phone, double check that it’s no longer connected to your online accounts or other devices. 

  • If your phone was paired to another device, like a watch or a vehicle, make sure it’s un-paired.
  • Make sure that passwords for your accounts or Wi-Fi are no longer saved on the phone.
  • If you use 2-step verification or multi-factor authentication to log in to any accounts, remove your phone from the list of trusted devices.
  • If you’re not keeping your phone number, change the number on file with any accounts or services that may be using it to identify you.

3 Comments


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Juana
November 15, 2019
I went to the TMobile dealer, to replace my phone. The new phone did not backup properly so, the told me to leave the old one, (they will place in a safe) until I check the new one has ALL of my contacts. A few days later, I called to let them know some contacts were missing, but the manager told me they have shipped the old one already. I tried to explain but with no results. I did a review in Google and the owner of the store replied with a link for me to contact him but the link did not work. So I do not know if they actually deleted all of my information before that phone will be given to someone else.
nakialjohnson83
November 27, 2019
This article really helps! Thanks for sharing.
Joelisthebomb
August 22, 2020
Thanks, this info was really helpful.