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Do these 3 things before you sell or give away your phone

Here’s how to back up your old phone, then wipe it clean—along with some of the best options for turning it into some cash.

Do these 3 things before you sell or give away your phone
[Photos; Vojtech Bruzek/Unsplash; Sharon McCutcheon/Unsplash]
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The fall season’s new smartphones are here, and with them a slight to moderate twinge of gadget envy for some of us.

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I, myself, am rocking a perfectly usable Google Pixel 3 that still has five payments left. Logic dictates I should keep using it until it’s paid off, enjoy a cheaper monthly bill for a while, and then upgrade when I really, truly need a new phone.

Aw, to hell with logic—the new phones are here!

If you’re getting ready to sell your phone or give it away to a lucky someone, here are some steps to follow before you take the plunge.

First, tackle backups and transfers

If you’re upgrading to a new phone, the best course of action is to get the new phone in hand first and ensure everything that you want to transfer to it gets transferred.

There are also several methods you can use—here are Apple’s official instructions, and here’s the Android way.

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There’s a lot to unpack there, but if you’re moving from one iPhone to another, all you really need to do is place the two phones next to each other while you’re setting up the new one. Read more about Apple’s Quick Start feature here. And if you’ve got an Apple Watch, it’s easier to get it moved to the new iPhone while you still have your old iPhone: Check out the how-to here.

Android-to-Android methods vary by device, but one universal method is to back up your stuff to Google Drive and then download it onto your new Android phone. Head into the System menu on your old phone and peruse the Backup section to select what to back up.

If you’re switching from an Android phone to an iPhone, there’s a handy app for that.

If you’re switching from an iPhone to an Android phone, check with your Android device maker. Samsung, for instance, has an app called Smart Switch. Also: Make sure to deregister iMessage (instructions here) if you’re leaving Apple for good.

Next, sign yourself out

Once you’ve got your backup and transfer business sorted out, the rest is reasonably smooth sailing.

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From your iPhone, head into the Settings menu and click your name right at the top. Then, in the next menu, scroll all the way down to the bottom and click the red “Sign Out” button.

It’ll vary slightly by device for Android, but the general flow is to get into your Settings menu, select the Accounts option, select your Google account, and then tap the “Remove account” button.

So far, so good. We’re now signed out.

Finally, erase the content on your phone

This is the most important step, since you’re turning your phone over to someone else.

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From your iPhone, go into Settings, then General. Scroll down toward the bottom and select Reset, and then the “Erase All Content and Settings” option.

Android will again depend on your device manufacturer, but for Google’s Pixel line of phones, for instance, the flow is Settings > System > Advanced > Reset Options, and then the “Erase all data (factory reset)” selection.

That’s it! You now have a clean, factory-reset phone that’s ready to be sold or given to a family member.

Now what?

Giving a phone away is easy. Selling it? Not quite as easy—but not difficult either.

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If you’re looking for real money, consider a site like eBay or Swappa. Check out how much your device is worth first: I reckon I can get around $200 or so from either site for my Pixel 3—not too bad.

Also consider your local Facebook “garage sale” group if you have one for your neighborhood. That’s usually a clean, quick sale and you can often request cold, hard cash if you like. Facebook Marketplace is a broader, but still local-ish, option as well.

Several companies specialize in taking gadgets off the hands of folks who’d rather have the cash. You won’t get as much as you might going the eBay route, but it’s a lot less work. Gazelle, for instance, buys iPhones and Samsung phones (as well as iPads and MacBooks). EcoATM has machines at retail locations that let you sell your phone on the spot. Amazon also has a trade-in program that lets you send in your old phone in return for an Amazon gift card.

If you’re just looking to buy new gadgets, then check out the trade-in programs for various retailers. I can get $220 for my phone via Amazon’s trade-in program, for instance, while Best Buy’s program is far more stingy at $90.

If you want to take the easy route, you can also get credit directly from cell service providers and manufacturers when you trade in a phone. Here are some direct links:

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