Selling your old phone? Expert tips to keep your data safe 

News, Smartphones

Whether you got a new phone for Christmas or are doing a New Year’s clear out and looking to make some cash for your unused tech that’s cluttering your home – it’s important to take the necessary precautions to protect your personal data before rehoming.

When looking to sell old tech, consumers often turn to trading sites such as eBay, Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree. Whilst they may think this method will make them the most money, in actual fact one in 36 mobile device have “high-risk apps” installed on them, meaning the cybersecurity risks possible could outweigh the benefits of that extra cash.  

Lewis Rice, Business Unit Lead at Envirofone, a recycler and retailer of mobile phones, has given top tips to help guarantee that data is kept safe when selling your old and unused tech:   

Do a factory reset: 

When selling through trading sites such as eBay and Facebook Marketplace you could be at risk of exposing bank details and other personal information through data saved on your old devices. Before listing unwanted tech, make sure to wipe your device. If you own an iPhone, you will be able to find this feature under erase all content and settings and for most Android phones including Samsung this feature will be called factory reset.

Check your anti-virus software: 

Old devices that can no longer receive updates are most vulnerable to new security threats and viruses, which makes them more likely to become subject to data theft. For example, if you own an iPhone 6 or below that no longer accepts software updates be cautious of this added threat. Ensure that anti-virus software is installed on the device before selling to detect any data phishing.  

Consider data encryption:

Erased data can in fact be restored – if a hacker takes the time to do this, they will not be able to find anything if you have encrypted your data before erasing it. You will not have to worry about this if you own an iPhone as Apple encrypts your data automatically. However, if you are an Android user, you may have to do this manually.  

Remove your SIM: 

Don’t forget to remove your SIM card before you look to sell your phone. This may seem obvious but can often be missed. The SIM card stores information about you and your phone, including phone numbers, text messages, billing information and data usage.  

Remove your smart home devices: 

If the device you are preparing to sell is used to control any of your ‘smart’ devices around the house, such as an Amazon Alexa, a thermostat or a security camera, make sure that data from these devices is backed up and erased. 

Use a third-party trade-in site: 

Use a third-party trade-in site to guarantee that your data is completely wiped. As soon as a device arrives at Envirofone HQ it is checked by trusted data software which wipes any existing data from it, reassuring the seller that the phone is completely clean and can no longer be traced back to them. If for some reason the data cannot be wiped, the phone will either be returned for free or destroyed in the company’s industrial shredder. 

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Lewis Rice, Business Unit Lead, at 
Envirofone, commented: 

“It can be very easy to let old tech pile up. We often save phones, laptops and tablets as a backup or out of uncertainty on how to transfer old photos onto a hard drive or current device. When it comes to the post-Christmas clear-out, we’re passionate about prolonging the life of tech and keeping it in circulation for as long as possible, but this should not come at the cost of a consumer’s security.  

Whilst factory resetting your device may seem like a simple task, there are many loopholes that could leave you vulnerable to a data breach when privately selling your tech.” 

For more information on how to trade in your device, visit  

Chris Price
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