Photo by raasiel, CC BY 2.0

If you are planning to bid goodbye to your old phone and switching over to a new one, you should take care of certain things before disposing it off. It is very important that you save and transfer important data from your current phone to a secure place (laptop, another phone or a cloud storage) and then finally remove all the personal information from the phone to avoid any misuse by another owner. You might want to sell your smartphone at websites like for a good deal or donate it to a needy one; but before going ahead you should go through below mentioned pointers.

1. Take a Backup of All Stored Files

The first step you should take before disposing your old phone is to backup all your important data; preferably after you have bought a new handset. Most of the latest devices give the option of transferring data from the older phone during the initial setup. Another way to back up your data is to unmount the SD card from the old phone and insert it into a PC or laptop using a SD card reader, where you can extract all files like music, pictures, videos etc. You can also use a Micro USB Cable to connect your phone directly to a computer and then ‘drag’ and ‘drop’ all required files from phone’s memory to the computer.

2. Copy Contact List

Your phone has that all important list of your Contacts which you don’t want to lose at any cost. You also don’t want strangers to have unwanted access to your contacts if you are selling or donating your phone. As the contacts are mostly stored on the phone’s internal memory, it is very important to safely copy the contacts and double check if there aren’t any contacts stored into a different location. If you have Google account, sync your contacts with your mail account and get immediate access to your original contact list. You can also use the different apps to copy your contacts depending upon whether you are using an android or an iPhone.

3. Unlink All Your Accounts

If you were using an android phone till now, you might be running various social networking apps that are linked to your phone. For example, a Facebook account has personal information, which you might not want other people to see. Besides, one or more of your Google accounts which are linked to your mobile handset should be delinked or sync settings should be set ‘off’ before discarding.

4. Encrypt Your Data

Even factory reset phones have been found to retain old photos and personal information sometimes. So, what you need to do to completely wipe away all old information is to encrypt your data. This means that you have to set a password for accessing your phone data. You can go to Phone Settings, and then enhance your security by setting a password to Encrypt Phone. If you want to preserve your SIM card (which you should) and SD card, do not encrypt them and remove them before handing away your phone.

5. Reset Your Phone Settings

Putting files into the garbage can on the screen does not mean that the files have been deleted permanently. Go to Settings, then Backup and Reset, and then choose Factory Reset. This should be the final step as you cannot return from here. So ensure that you have taken a reliable backup and only then think of resetting to factory settings.

Most users who buy second hand smartphones make sure that they receive a clean phone after purchase. But if someone is really trying to get a sneak peek into your phone’s personal data, you should check twice to keep it from falling into other’s hands.