Here's What You Need To Do Before Selling Your Android Phone

While the resale value for Android phones certainly isn't as favorable as the likes of iPhones, there's no reason you shouldn't get back at least some of the cash you dumped into your last-gen Galaxy device. The used smartphone market is not only a way to recoup some of the expense of an unused device, it also helps reduce e-waste — which has never been more necessary. Although resale — or even handing a used device down to a child, friend, or relative — is certainly worth it, the amount of mission-critical information we store on our devices can make them a bit of a security hazard.

Between online banking information, saved passwords, sensitive emails, and potentially even work information (that could lead to legal repercussions if it falls into the wrong hands), it's paramount that you wipe your phone completely before it goes to its new home. Fortunately, Android phones come with a built-in factory reset, and there's even a feature to make sure that the data is well and truly gone and cannot be recovered. You have to be careful, as improperly formatted flash memory can be recovered after erasure (via Verity Systems).

Do a complete factory reset before passing your device along

The process to erase your Android device's internal storage is pretty simple, and should look similar across most devices (via Google). It should be noted that the options may have different names, depending on the device manufacturer and operating system skin. Before you start, though, you're going to want to make sure you back up any important information, because if you accidentally erase that in the factory reset, you'll likely need some help to get it back. After you've run your backup, open the Settings app and follow these steps: 

  1. Open "System" or search for "Reset," and open "Reset options." 
  2. In "Reset options," tap on "Erase all data," which may also be called "Factory reset." 
  3. Next, your phone will tell you what it plans to delete and will ask for confirmation. To continue, tap "Erase all data."
  4. To proceed, you need to authenticate using your default unlock method, then confirm once more by tapping "Erase all data," when your device prompts you. 

Now, all you need to do is sit back and relax while your phone clears all the information off its internal storage and restores the factory settings. Fortunately, all Android phones running Android 10 or above are encrypted, so a factory reset is a fairly secure way of clearing out sensitive information completely. But if you're genuinely concerned about meticulous recovery attempts unearthing sensitive information, keep the device, give it to someone you trust, or destroy it.