How to Prepare Your Android Phone for Re-Sale

The smartphone industry is a fickle world and many users choose to swap out phones to stay up to date with the latest hardware. I, for one, never buy phones tied to any sort of contract so i’m able to easily sell or pass on old hardware to make room for the latest and greatest.

With a large market for second-hand phones and a plethora of businesses who will take your phone off your hands if you can’t find a independent buyer, it’s a practice you can easily get involved in. In this How To article, we’re going to take a look at preparing your phone for sale (both hardware-wise and software-wise).

Clean Your Device

Cleaning your device is just a matter of courtesy to the next owner because no-one wants to handle a dirty, unsanitary device — not even the guy who checks your device when you send it off to a recycling company. Not only is it simply polite to do so, but having a clean phone versus one covered in dirt makes the device look better, newer and of better value to the buyer.

While most buyers care mostly about the screen — you’ll see a lot of phone-buying companies will accept devices with light damage to the casing and will only reduce prices for damage to the display — you should pay attention to all areas of the phone, including inside small crevices and removable parts such as inside battery covers.

Be sure to clean all of your phone before sending it off for sale, particularly making sure the display is perfect.

Remove the SD and SIM Cards

No-one wants your SIM card (and you don’t really want anyone to have it), and it’s pretty much standard practice to not include an SD card when selling your phone. So, you’ll want to remove and keep any SD cards or SIM cards in your possession.

Your SIM card is really the heart of a GSM phone and carries data unique to your subscription. Not only is it pretty much useless to the new owner — aside from allowing them to make calls and use data at your expense — but you’ll need it for your next device. Make sure you hang on to it.

Reset Your Phone

One of the most important things to do when preparing your phone for sale is to make sure all your sensitive data is removed from the device. You don’t want to send your phone off to someone new, only for them to then have access to your email or Google Play account. You can go ahead and remove these accounts manually through their own settings — although, if you do the next step, it’s not necessary (other than for peace of mind).

Factory resets and formatting will wipe everything off your device and restore it to a state, software-wise, that resembles how it would have shipped out of the factory originally. Performing a factory reset ensures your phone is clear of your data and media so compromised accounts aren’t something to be worried about.

Resetting a Nexus 7 tablet.

How exactly you go about resetting your device is different depending on who makes your device. The action is pretty much the same on any version of Android, but where you’ll find it may differ. It’ll always be referred to as a factory reset, but can be hidden in the Backups section, the Privacy Settings or somewhere else. Hunt it out, and then go!

Once your device reboots, open apps like the email client or the Google Play store and double check it has no idea who you are, if only to reassure yourself that a future owner won’t have access.

Depending on who you’re selling to, you may also want to consider restoring the device to its original ROM if you’ve since customised it. I just recently sold an HTC One X that had CyanogenMod installed but restored it to HTC’s original Sense UI before sending it off. Same goes for switching back from S-OFF to S-ON, if appopriate.

Charge It Up, Send It Off

Again, charging your phone prior to sale is more of a courtesy than anything else, but it does ensure the buyer can check out the device first to make sure they’re happy with it’s condition. If you’re sending it off to a company versus an individual, it may even be a requirement so the representative can be sure your device meets the condition requirement to be offered at a specific price.

Once reset, cleaned and charged, you can send your phone off safe in the knowledge that a future owner will be happy with their purchase and free of your data.