Updated Guide on How to Sell Used Smartphones Safely

A new round of iPhones has hit the shelves and thousands are upgrading as we speak—and this brings up an interesting question. In an age where phones are an investment of a few years at best, and where those phones can store treasure troves of valuable personal data such as birthdays, bank account numbers, passwords, credit card info, and more, how can you sell cell phone models that have expired (recouping a few hundred dollars often) but do it in a way that protects your valuable personal data?

IPhones: when you sell iPhones units that have been used in conjunction with your credit card, email, and bank account information you want to be sure that you enter the device and proceed with a factory reset before selling or recycling it. Go into your phone Settings app to the General Menu, then Reset Menu. The factory reset will read Erase All Content and Settings. This will clear not only your data but the encryption keys as well; making that was stored inside virtually irrecoverable unless someone has a an advanced data recovery experience.

Android phones: Android phones are less secure. A factory reset, found in much the same sequence, doesn’t actually remove or write over the data found on the phone but instead obscures that data’s location. Basic programs and hookups can still glean that information relatively easily. While experts at a phone or tech center can help clear the data, the safest way to protect your information is to physically pull the SD card from your old android smart phone before you sell it.

Blackberries: Blackberries, while in decline, were made with very sharp security features. A factory reset on these devices is typically enough to secure all old data permanently just like iPhones. Go into Options, Security Options, General Settings, and then Wipe Handheld (or something similar depending on model).

Data breach and data theft needs to be a concern for those recycling their old phones and upgrading, especially since smartphones have become so integrated into our financial existence, and with phones now linking directly to garage doors or home deadbolts the ability to clear that information securely is vital.

Cesar N

Blogger at Gadget Salvation since 2014. Technology enthusiast.