How to sell a second-hand smartphone without giving your personal data to third parties

Selling a second-hand smartphone requires something more important than physically cleaning it. The versatility of smart phones has made them the most widely used electronic devices and the amount of personal and professional data they store is enormous. And you must make sure that you do not give them to third parties .

The last third of the year is a good time to renew your mobile phone, taking advantage of the back-to-school offer campaigns and the previous ones carried out by large retailers to lead to Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday. And it is that the sale of the used mobile is a good option to lower the price of buying the new one.

And the sooner the better because the loss of value is high as the new generations are launched. Apple’s iPhones are the ones that best maintain their price, but even they drop in price and a lot. In addition, companies specializing in reconditioning are putting downward pressure.

How to sell a second-hand smartphone… safely

Once the renewal and the sale of the used one have been decided, the promotions of the manufacturers that offer the delivery can be evaluated to make the purchase of new ones cheaper. We already told you that they are usually not very generous and direct sales from user to user may be the most profitable. In all cases it is convenient to carry out a series of tasks to safeguard the privacy of the data . We remind you.

Data copy

The first thing we must do is create a backup copy of all the terminal data. This includes photos, videos, documents, messages, contacts, and more. There are several ways to do it. Personally, I like to make a  complete copy to a PC or external drive, both of the internal memory of the terminal and of the microSD  (if we have it installed) in case there is a problem in the change of terminal or in the synchronization after the services Cloud that we are surely using.

We must also make sure that these cloud services are updated with the latest changes and files added to the terminal. This includes general online storage services such as Dropbox or OneDrive or those specialized in photography such as Amazon Photos.

The same with the rest of the applications that we use. Most have their own backup system and  are usually synced regularly , but make sure of it. One of the most used, WhatsApp, creates automatic backup copies of chat history (and content) connected to Google Drive, but it must be managed by the user in the settings.

Both Android and iOS have a backup tool integrated into the general settings and it is another point that we must review to make sure that they have made a last backup of the data. On Android, it is likely that you are using a Google account and this makes the task easier, since it automatically saves the important section of contacts, calendar, Gmail, Play Store applications, and even other settings such as wallpapers, language, time zone etc Manufacturers like Samsung offer their own ‘Cloud’ in case you want to make copies there.

As for the rest of the applications, there are free tools to make a backup copy of them. Personally, in a change of device, I prefer to install the apps “by hand” taking advantage of the cleaning, but if you are interested in something more automated, tools like Titanium Backup are one of the best, although it requires that the terminal be rooted. There are several general applications of this type and also others for specific tasks such as saving all SMS. An example is SMS Backup & Restore.

Data transfer

If you have acquired the new mobile before parting with the old one, you can try to transfer all the data. However, it is not easy to transfer external app data between Android devices. There is no official Google solution for this and although some original equipment manufacturers do offer it, it generally  does not work well with devices from other brands due  to the customizations implemented.

If you are going to switch between Samsung devices, you can make use of the Smart Switch Mobile app. Other manufacturers have theirs like OnePlus, which offers the OnePlus Switch software. The results tend to be unpredictable and even with terminals from the same brand there are errors when it is performed (as is common) on different models and versions of Android.

If you do not want complications or errors, you can opt for a  clean installation , make a good backup copy of files, data and apps, if applicable, and then start your terminal from scratch. On most consumer smartphones it will be a matter of a few minutes.

Data deletion

After a good season working on a SAT, I must tell you that I have found everything. And in this case I mean equipment or components (oh! those hard drives)  delivered with all kinds of personal and professional data . It is not uncommon to purchase a second-hand mobile and verify that the internal memory has installed apps and usernames and passwords to access different services. Or the microSD full of images, some compromised…

If the mobile falls into the hands of someone unscrupulous and you have not deleted all the information, it can mess you up a good deal. We must eliminate absolutely everything before selling it  so as not to leave our personal information in the hands of third parties. In addition to files, this includes user accounts and subscriptions to streaming services, Cloud storage, etc.

Removal of any link

If your old terminal is Android, it is very likely that it has  Factory Reset Protection  (FRP). It is an additional layer introduced by Google as a security measure, which prevents the reset of the terminal in situations of theft or loss of the terminal. Obviously,  you have to remove that protection  before selling a smartphone so that a third party can use it. To do this, you’ll need to remove all Google accounts that are signed in to the device. Go to the Settings tool > Accounts, select and remove the Google account that you first used to sign in to the device.

Factory reset

Once you have finished saving your data, you must  restore the terminal to its factory state  to finish completely disassociating yourself from it. This will remove all accounts, files, and data from the internal storage and will essentially put the software back into an unused state. In this way, when the new owner of your phone has the device in his hands, he will configure it from scratch just as we will do when we buy the new mobile.

SIM y microSD

Once the software tasks are complete, it is time to remove the SIM card that we are going to use in the new terminal and also the microSD memory card if it is installed. Personally, I do not like to deliver the microSD with a second-hand smartphone for the data security reasons discussed in previous points.

If you are going to include it as part of the second-hand mobile,  make sure you put a good low-level formatting on it . There is quite effective specialized software with which you can recover data from memory cards where the data has simply been deleted from the explorer.

Now yes: external cleaning and shipping

It would be necessary to carry out a thorough cleaning of the terminal. You have to do it always and in times of COVID and other bugs much more. If we keep the original packaging (as recommended), we only have to keep the mobile phone, the charger, the accessories that it brought as standard and additionally what we have purchased separately such as covers, covers or screen protectors. It is also convenient to add the invoice if the terminal is still under warranty. If the battery is removable, it is better to include it outside the smartphone.

Do not include used headphones , in this case for sanitary reasons. The buyer will already have their own. If you want to include them, they always have to be new, unused models. Also, both basic wired and entry-level wireless headphones are fairly inexpensive.

It is time to take some good photographs of the smartphone and the accessories to hang them in the places where we put them on sale. If it is in good general condition and the price is reasonable, we will have an opportunity to sell that second-hand mobile. Giving it away to discount the purchase of a new model is another option, although manufacturers are not usually very generous and it will usually be more profitable to sell it to another user. If you are going to do  it, do not waste time  because the loss of value will be constant with each passing day.