Security News

Selling or giving away your old smartphone or tablet?

Lisandro Carmona de Souza, 20 January 2015

Selling or giving away your old smartphone or tablet?

Take these steps to ensure you don't give away your data when you sell your old smartphone!

Remove your data beofre selling your smartphone

You got a new device for Christmas and have finally finished migrating the data and apps from your old one to the new one. Now you’re thinking about what you can do with your old smartphone or tablet, and you come up with two alternatives: Sell it or give it away.

You’ve heard about some sites on the internet where you can sell your phone, so you do some research and decide on a fair price for your used device. Register yourself at the site and… Wait. Something suddenly occurred to you.

Will the new owner be able to see my personal stuff on my old phone?

 

You’re right to think about that because Tens of thousands of Americans sell themselves online every day. Not only do they sell the devices, they sell themselves as all the personal data could be recovered.

eBay infograph June 2014If you don’t want a stranger to see your selfies, discover your bank account details and your credit card numbers, and even some problematic Snapchats and SMSs… you need to do something. Do you remember the celebrities photos scandal?

So what to do? Use a hammer? Well, there are other options.

1. Backup your important data

Much of our lives are stored in our smartphones: Photos, music, videos, personal and professional contacts, call logs and SMSs. And you want all this stuff in your new device, don’t you? Avast Mobile Backup was specially designed to make this easier for you. It makes a backup in your Avast account (or in your Google Drive storage) and then allows you to recover them in a new device: All your paid apps and games (with their data) will be restored.

If you have a MicroSD card, remove it from your device and insert it into your PC, making a full copy and paste operation for all files. Remember that many Android devices store photos and other media files in the DCIM folder of the internal memory. Back it up, too.

Make sure your contacts are being synced with your Google account in order to restore them automatically in the new device: Check Settings > Accounts> Google> your email address and verify if “Contacts” is checked and already synced.

2. Disconnect your smartphone from your wireless carrier

This is especially important to allow the buyer to activate his/her own service. If you don’t do that, the phone will be linked to your services and you’ll need to inform the buyer of your email address or your new number so he/she can set up their own account. So, do it now, after you backup your data.

3. Unlink your smartphone from two-factor authentication services

If you set a two-factor authentication in your online accounts, be sure to unlink your device from the online accounts before wiping it (see next step) or selling it. We will post about this next Tuesday, so come back to our blog.

4. Wipe your device

It’s not enough to delete the photos and files from your phone. They will remain there and specialized tools are able to recover them. You need to wipe. But, remember, it’s not enough. Even going for it, you need to use an app or service that deeply wipes, so the files are unrecoverable on your device. Avast Anti-Theft does this for you. You just need to go to your Avast account and send the command to wipe your phone.

Android also offers a factory reset (Settings > Backup & reset > Factory data reset). This step is a no-return one. Make sure you have followed Step 1 consciously.

Of course, it will be good if after that, you remove your SIM card and keep it with you, without selling or passing it away. That allows you to keep your phone number, too.

5. Wipe your memory card

Along with the internal memory of your phone or tablet, many of them allow you to use an external card. To clean it, turn off your phone, remove the card, and use Avast Data Shredder to wipe all the files. If you have our Premier product in your PC, you have access to the data shredder. Put your card in your computer, open Avast, then go for Tools > Data Shredder > Shred whole partition. Choose your card and then click on Shred. If you have Avast Free Antivirus, you can find other free tools on the internet that does the wiping job for you.

6. Inform which accessories and batteries will be sold or passed away

Choose what accessories you will keep with you and inform the buyer exactly what you’re selling, so the buyer knows it prior to the sale.

7. Do some cleaning

Last but not least, cleaning is a nice gesture and rewards the buyer for his purchase. But take care so you don't harm internal parts by removing dust!