Mobile Monday: What to Do Before Selling Your Android Phone

At Phone Medics + PC we’re dedicated to helping you keep your phone in great shape for as long as you own it, but we also know that there will come a time when you want to upgrade to a newer phone. We want to be there for you during that process, too, so that the transition from your old phone to your new phone is as smooth as possible. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of things you should do before you sell your Android phone.

Back Everything Up

The first thing you should do is backup your phone. We talked about how to backup your Android phone in a previous article. To recap, there are several ways to backup your Android device’s data. Use your Google account to backup all of your account data, calendars, contacts, web bookmarks, app data (for Google apps and apps that use Google Play Services), wifi passwords, and device settings. Use an app like Google Photos to backup all your photos and videos, and an app like SMS Backup and Restore (free in the Google Play Store) to backup your texts and call logs. Many phone manufacturers and carriers also offer tools to help you backup and transfer data from your Android phone.

Encrypt Your Data

Once your phone is backed up, you need to encrypt your data. A factory reset does not wipe all of the data from your phone, so you need to encrypt it before performing a factory reset, so that whoever ends up with your phone next can’t access the information that gets left behind (which can include things like account tokens, which could allow access to your social media accounts, for example). If your phone is running a more recent version of Android, that data may already be encrypted. To see if it is – and to encrypt it if it isn’t – go to Settings, then tap Security, then Encrypt. From here you can encrypt your phone’s storage, and you can also encrypt your SD card, if you’re planning to send it with your phone.

Disable Factory Reset Protection

Next, you need to disable Factory Reset Protection (FRP). This is a security measure implemented by Google with Android Lolipop in 2015. It’s meant to protect your device in the event of theft. If you perform a factory reset on a device with FRP active, then as soon as the reset is complete the phone will ask for the Google account username and password that were originally used to setup the phone. It’s virtually impossible to access the phone without the correct login credentials. If you reset your phone without turning this feature off, whoever buys it from you will not be able to access it without your Google login information. To turn factory reset protection off, go into Settings, then Accounts & Sync, then Google. Tap on your account, and you should see an option to turn off factory reset protection.

Reset Your Phone

Once your data is backed up, encrypted, and you’ve turned off factory reset protection, it’s time to actually reset your phone. To do that, head back into Settings, then tap Back Up and Reset. There you’ll find an option to reset your phone to factory settings. This will reset your phone back to factory settings, just like new.

Time To Sell It

After your phone has been reset, it’s a good idea to gather up any accessories, charge cables, cases, and the like that you intend to send with it when you sell it. It’s also a good idea to try and clean the phone up a bit – polish the screen and wipe off any grime or smudges from the exterior of the phone – especially if you plan to post pictures of it on a site like Craigslist or eBay. Once that’s all done, your phone is ready to be sold (or donated).