If you’ve got an old Android phone gathering dust in a drawer somewhere, trading it in is a great way to turn it into a little extra cash. But before you do, it’s important to back up your important data then wipe your personal details – and this guide will show you how.
Most trade-in services, including our own, take care to remove your personal details and other info from your kit after you’ve traded it in – but it always pays to be thorough.
For that reason, we’ve put together this helpful guide to walk you through the process of backing up your photos, files and other personal data – before wiping your phone factory-fresh and ready for its next owner.
On most Android handsets, your Google account will automatically back up the majority of your personal info – so if you haven’t already added a free Google account to your handset, head to Settings > Accounts > Add account and set one up.
Usually, the option to turn on backups is shown while you’re setting the phone up – but to enable them manually, go to Settings > Backup & reset and either tick the box or tap the switch that says Backup my data.
Your Google account can also be used to back up the pictures on your phone, but you’ll need to do this separately through the Google Photos app.
To make sure all the photos, downloads and other files on your phone are safe, check out our guide to backing up your phone to your computer.
In addition, some Android handset manufacturers have made their own software to help you back up your phone to your computer. Do bear in mind, though, that these programs are great for moving your data to another phone from the same manufacturer – but results vary greatly when moving to another make of device:
Once your data is backed up, you’re ready to reset your phone. The exact process varies depending on which version of Android you’re using, and we’ve listed them all below.
If your phone is running a recent version of Android – like Lollipop (5.0), Marshmallow (6.0) or Nougat (7.0) – you’ll need to remove your Google account from the phone before you reset it. If you reset the phone without removing the account, you’ll need to enter your Google password after the reset – so it’s important to carry out this step if you’re trading the phone in.
To remove the Google account:
From the Home screen or Apps tray, tap Settings.
In the main Settings menu, tap Accounts or Accounts & sync.
Tap the Google account.
Tap the Google address line.
Tap the Menu icon (three dots) at the top, then tap Remove account.
With the Google account removed, you can now reset the handset:
From the Home screen or Apps menu, tap Settings.
Tap Backup & reset.
Tap Factory data reset.
Tap Reset Device or Reset Phone.
Confirm the reset by pressing Erase everything.
Your phone will restart at least once during the reset process, which can take up to ten minutes depending on the handset. When your phone has restarted and you see the first screen of the setup wizard, turn the device off – and don’t forget to remove the SIM and memory cards.
Congratulations: your Android phone is now ready for trade-in. Why not take a look at our own Team Knowhow trade-in service and get an instant quote online?
If your phone’s a bit older and still running one of these older versions of Android, the process is similar – but the menus are a little different:
Open the Settings menu.
Scroll down and tap on Backup & reset.
Tap Factory data reset or Reset phone.
Tap Erase everything or Erase all data.
This will remove all of your data from the handset, leaving it ready for trade-in. Don't forget to remove the SIM and memory cards if they're still in the phone.
If your phone’s running an even older version of Android, like Gingerbread (2.3), then resetting your phone is a simple process:
Open the Settings menu.
Scroll down until you see an option called Privacy – the icon is usually a wooden fence.
Select the option called Factory data reset to get things started.
Tap Reset Phone and wait.
And there you have it: your phone is now reset and ready for trade-in. As with the methods above, make sure you remove your SIM card and any memory cards from the phone before you send it on to its new owner.