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Checklist For Exchanging or Giving Away Your Phone

14 September, 2021


As much as we hate it, we may have to change our phones at some time or the other. It could simply be because someone gifted us a new phone, or we wanted to get a better model with more features. There is simply no point in holding on to the old phone in such cases. On the other hand, we may have chosen to go in for an exchange offer, in which case we need to hand over the old phone. If not, we could give the phone to someone needy. 

In today’s pandemic times, many students need phones to attend their online classes. The old phones that we have collected may help many such students. So, one way or the other, we need to give away our old phones. However, before doing so, we need to ensure they are wiped clean of all our information. These could be photos, social media accounts, Whastapp chats, shopping app profiles, banking information, messages, mail accounts, and more. This is a crucial step as any such information could be misused by fraudsters. Take a look at some basic steps to be taken to bring the phone back to factory settings (just like when it was purchased, devoid of any personal information).

WA Backup

A whole lot of our communication and information is now through WhatsApp. This also contains a lot of important media, like photos, documents, and so on. The WhatsApp backup can be set up irrespective of giving away your phone. There is a frequency that you can choose, and it happens automatically. It means that even if something happens to your phone, you can recover the WA chats till the last backup. 

However, even if you had not chosen this option, you could do a complete WA chat backup to Google Drive. Follow these steps:

1. Open WhatsApp.

2. Tap the three vertical dots on the top right corner.

3. Choose Settings from the drop-down menu.

4. Tap Chats option.

5. Pick Chat backup option.

6.  Choose/Add the Google account you want to backup to, if not already being shown.

7. It will show you the last backup time with the Back Up button under it. Tap on Back up to Google Drive option, and you can choose from the Never, Only when I tap Back Up, Daily, Weekly, and Monthly options. To backup currently, tap on the Back Up button. It will ask you permission to access your Google Drive, click on allow, and the backup will be completed.

Uninstall and Log Out

There could be many apps that you have downloaded to your phone for your personal use. Please check each one, log out from these and uninstall all these apps. These may include shopping, banking, taxi apps like Ola/Uber, music, mail, social media, payment and wallet apps, etc. 

Backup all information

Google Photos can be used as a backup for media in your gallery. This can be done irrespective of giving up your phone. Click on Google Photos, choose your Gmail account, and choose the backup option. It will ensure that all media in the gallery are always available on your Google Drive. The other way is to connect your cable to a laptop and tap the option to copy files to a folder onto your laptop. It would be an external storage backup which is good to have. Similarly, any notes on the phone can also be linked to your Google account, or you could collate them into a document and backup, to your Google Drive.

Contacts can also be linked to your Google account, so it is always available for a backup. If not done, follow the below steps.

1. Go to Contacts.

2. Tap on the three dots icon on the top right corner.

3. Choose the Import/Export option.

4. Pick from the options under Export as you see fit. The contacts can be exported into a vcf file and to the SIM cards. But there are usually limitations to contacts that can be held on a SIM card. There are also a few third-party apps for contact backup available like Easy Backup, G Cloud Backup, Helium, Contacts Backup, and so on. Most are easy to use with simple instructions. You can even backup your SMSes and call records through some of these options.

Factory Reset option

Once all backups are done and you have logged out and uninstalled your apps, you could do a factory reset. This step will ensure that the phone is back to the original settings as when purchased. The factory reset may be under the Settings or About Phone option. When you tap on it, it will show you what will be erased so that you can use that as a checklist too. Once you confirm, all that data will be erased from the phone.

Remove SIM and SD cards

The next step is to remove the SIM card(s) and any SD cards you may have. 

Clean and Pack

This step is not a must, but it makes for a better feel and looks, whether you are exchanging or giving it away. Clean it with a disinfectant solution. Put the phone back in its box if possible with its accessories, like the charger, and pack it for giving away.

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