Change a phone? What to do before discarding an old cell phone

Written by Shubhangi Shah

Exploring a brand new phone and the many features that come with it can be exciting However, before that, you have to decide what to do with the old one. Selling, recycling or simply providing are options you can explore unless you want to finish it in a landfill or drawer. In today’s world, a smartphone is like an endless companion, and it knows a lot more about you than you think. Your browsing history, WhatsApp BFF, photos, videos, important documents, your phone contains a lot of information that you do not want to be occupied by anyone else. Moving SIM and microSD cards is the most basic task when switching to a new phone. However, there are some steps you should not dare to skip when making changes.

Data storage

It is nothing but foolishness to leave the old phone without resetting it to factory settings. You must delete all data on your phone before switching to a new phone, otherwise it could be easily hacked. Once you do this, all the information, including your valuable memories in the form of pictures, videos and important documents, will disappear. Therefore, data backup is the first thing you do.

Nowadays most smartphones come with cloud storage options. If not, Android users can use Google Photos to back up their photos and videos. To do this, you just need to open Google Photos and tap on your profile icon in the upper right corner. If it shows ‘backup complete’, you will be sorted. If not, turn on the option.

IPhone users can use iCloud for the same. Just go to settings and click on your name at the top. This will take you to your Apple ID page. Choose iCloud, iCloud Backup or Backup Now based on the phone you own.

If your phone doesn’t have a cloud storage option, you can always use third-party apps, such as OneDrive and Dropbox.
Another option is to use a Windows PC or a Mac for the same purpose. Before using, connect your Android phone to it with a USB and transfer the necessary files. Just make sure your phone is in MTP (file transfer) mode and is not charging.

Similarly, you can back up your iPhone data using Windows PC. When using the next one, plug your iPhone into your MacBook and open Finder. Remember, you can use Finder for data backup on macOS 10.15 or later. Otherwise, use iTunes. In Finder, click General, which you can find at the top. Select ‘Back up all your iPhone data on this Mac’.
You can also encrypt data by selecting ‘Encrypt Local Backup’ and clicking ‘Backup Now’.

WhatsApp is one of the most used apps worldwide. Happily, it comes with backup options. For chat backup, open WhatsApp, go to settings, click chat, then backup chat. You can back up data from this app to Google Drive.

Manage passwords

Once you’re done backing up your data, switch to your focus password. In addition to the usual features of calling and receiving messages, we use multiple apps. From social media like messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook and Instagram to banking and payment apps like PayTM and Google Pay, there are a number of apps that we usually use and require a username and password for each of them. When canceling an old phone, logging out of these is a step you should not skip.

Obviously, on your new phone, you’ll need to download and log in However, remembering all the usernames and passwords may not be humanely possible.

A remedy: Use another app that helps manage passwords. LastPass and ZohoVault are some of the password manager apps you can explore. LastPass not only saves your username and password but fills in automatically when you log in to your new phone again.


Once all your usernames and passwords are in one place, log out of all apps. Be sure to log out of your Gmail account.

Unpair with other devices

Now that you are getting rid of your old phone, you need to pair it with other devices, such as speakers, Apple Watch, etc.

Reset to factory settings

The final step before resetting your old phone is to reset it to factory settings. Commonly known as formatting or hard reset, it will delete all data from your phone, including photos, videos, apps, docs, etc. Only items will be pre-installed when you purchased that phone

Although this feature is different across the phone, you will find it in the settings. Once you format it, your phone will be as good as new for someone else to use No matter how tempting you are to use your new phone and get rid of the old one, don’t do it before checking everything from the list above.

BLURB: Apps like LastPass or ZohoVault help manage passwords. LastPass not only saves your username, password but automatically fills in when you log in to your new phone again

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